Normally during my weekly Canadian Football League report for the Independent Sports News, I focus on the Canadian Football League. However it was one of the most interesting weeks in university football in Canada in recent memory, maybe even ever.
There were two unbelievable football games played in Calgary and Quebec City, an historic Yates Cup and a Loney Bowl (which some say could have turned into the Looney Bowl) in Atlantic Canada that almost did not get played.
In Calgary, the Dinos beat the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 44-43 in what many are considering as the best football game at any level on both sides of the border in 2017. The Dinos won with a remarkable 59 yard game winning field goal by Niko DiFonte of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The kick has made USA Today, ESPN and nfl.com. I wonder what the American press would be more interested in—the fact that there was a 59 yard kick or that there was only 1538 fans in attendance in a 35,000 seat stadium for a game that had greater importance than over 90% of the NCAA Bowl games that take place in December and January every year.
In Quebec City, the Laval Rouge et Or beat the Montreal Carabins 25-22 in a classic that went down to the wire. The Rouge et Or had a 25-14 lead late in the game when the Carabins got a touchdown and two point conversion with less than a minute left. The Carabins then recovered the onside kick twice (first was called back because of a penalty), but lost on the final play of the game when quarterback Samuel Caron rifled the football well out of bounds.
This is a golden time in Quebec University football. The Rouge et Or are coached by Glen Constantin, who has now won nine Vanier Cups and has a better resume than Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide. It is just too bad Constantin makes over $11 million less per season. Meanwhile, the Carabins are coached by Danny Maciocia. The Montreal native is the only coach to ever win a Vanier Cup and Grey Cup in his career.
In London, it was a historic Yates Cup. The University of Western Mustangs hammered the University of Laurier Golden Hawks 75-32. The Mustangs set a Yates Cup record for points in a game. It was an ok day for Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant, but the real story was the Mustangs running game. Cedric Joseph had 250 yards rushing and three touchdowns! Yannick Harou also had two rushing touchdowns and Merchant had 66 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Then there was a whole other story in Atlantic Canada this past weekend. The Loney Bowl almost was not played because it was initially ruled that the University of St. Mary’s Huskies could not play because their wide receiver, Archelaus Jack was on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster in October. The University of Acadia Axemen were initially granted champions by the AUS. Then the Huskies took the AUS to court and the game was a played on Tuesday! Who plays football on a Tuesday? Well, the Axemen and the Huskies and to the pleasure of the Mustangs, the game went into overtime before Acadia won 45-38.
If any of these aforementioned games took place in one year, it would be memorable. The fact they all happened in the same year on the same weekend (not really because one game was on Tuesday), was quite frankly magical. Sorry CFL this week, but USports (previously CIS) produced four bowl games that were out of this world.