CIS Football Report (Conference Finals)

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The CIS playoffs continued this week with the conference finals taking place as teams looked to win their conference. With a win the teams would move one step closer to Vancouver and the Vanier Cup as they will enter the National playoffs. It all kicked off on Friday when the CanWest wrapped up their season with the Hardy Cup between the Calgary Dinos and the UBC Thunderbirds. The Dinos were in familiar territory as they made their appearance in their fourth straight Hardy cup Finals. They had not lost in the last three years and were hoping to four-peat as champions and move into the National Playoffs. Meanwhile the UBC Thunderbirds were the surprise this season as they took the second spot in the CanWest after holding down the bottom of the conference for years. The matchup was a rematch of the last week of the season when Calgary saw their perfect season crushed by the T-Birds who handed them their first loss of the season. With this memory fresh in their mind the Dinos looked for revenge and to prove that they were the better team. The game was a tale of two halves as the first half seemed to be a prelude to a very good game. Both teams went back and forth throughout the first half as they continued to tie the game and keep the game close. Near the end of the half it seemed as though Calgary was beginning to take control with two TDs at the end of the half by their QB Eric Dzwilewski. With both teams relying on the legs of their QBs the scores was 20-13 at the half. This showed that the T-Birds could win the game as they were only a touchdown away from tying it up. Calgary came out of the locker room ready to put the game away as the Thunderbirds were looking to keep the game close and take the lead for their second win of the year against the Dinos. Then the Dinos proceeded to make history as they went on a 45 point run without allowing another point from the T-Birds. The game ended bad for UBC as they lost the game 62-13 wsith a massive second half collapse. The 62 points were the most by any team in the Hardy Cup since it was started in 1976 and their QB Eric Dzwilewski became the first QB to rush for 4 TDs in a playoff game. The Dinos took the game and won their fourth straight CanWest Title matching the streak of the Saskatchewan Huskies in 1934-1937. As the Dinos went home they would wait and see how the RSEQ matchup would work out to see their next opponent. The Dunsmore Cup had been dominated by one team for the last 8 years by the Big Red Machine from Quebec City. This year they would look to make it nine as the Laval Rouge et Or would take on their longtime archrival Montreal Carabins. The Carabins had an interesting season but made it into the finals as the only team to beat Laval in the last two years and were looking to repeat this performance. The game was a tight one as Laval could not get much going until the second quarter. The Carabins defence played exceptionally shutting down the powerful running attack of the Rouge et Or until the end of the first quarter. Sebastien Levesque broke out at the end of the first quarter for a 40-yard run. From then on the momentum seemed to be in the hands of Laval as Montreal QB Alexandre Nadeau-Piuze could not get anything going for his offence. Laval moved on to a 30-7 win as they won their 9th straight conference title and extended a 54 game win streak at home. Both the Laval Rouge et Or and Calgary Dinos will now face off in the Mitchell Bowl as they meet once again in the National playoffs. The Mitchell Bowl will be a rematch of last year’s Vanier Cup with Calgary looking to get revenge and move into their third straight Vanier Cup Championship.

With the RSEQ and CanWest seeing the favorites move on the story was slightly different in the OUA and AUS as two teams that may not have been favorites moved on. As the CanWest and RSEQ wrapped up the East Coast was also ending their season with the Loney Bowl. The Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary’s Huskies faced off for the right to hoist the Jewett Cup and advance to the national title. Acadia had surprised many with their great season that put them in the top spot as they took the bye last week and awaited the winner of the semi-final. The Saint Mary’s Huskies have been the class of the AUS for years as they have won four straight Jewett Cups and have always been the team to beat. The two split the season series both winning a game and Acadia was looking to prove that they were the better team even though many believed that they were the underdogs in this game. The Axemen also had some added motivation with a loss in last year’s Loney Bowl to the Huskies by a score of 37-8. Acadia looked like the better team from the start behind QB Kyle Graves who ran in multiple TDs for the Axemen. Acadia only went down once in the game and never looked back taking the win 39-20 and ending the Huskies’ winning streak in the AUS. Acadia took the win and moved on to the Uteck Bowl as they look to make the Vanier Cup. Meeting them in the Uteck Bowl will be the champions of the OUA one of the most difficult leagues with a number of great teams. The Oldest trophy in football was once again up for grabs as the 104th Yates Cup got underway with the two best teams in the OUA. The Western Mustangs and McMaster Marauders were #1 and #2 in the OUA and #3 and #4 in the year-end CIS rankings. The Mustangs were considered the better team as they were favorites to make the Vanier Cup while the Marauders silently lost only one game, to Western, the entire season. In the last five years Western had won four Yates Cup titles while McMaster was looking to get back to their winning ways when they won four titles from 2000-2003. The Marauders went down early in the game after a Western field goal but answered back with 34 unanswered points by the CIS’ best offence. This 34 point run put the game out of reach for the Mustangs and they came back to score a few more points but by the time they recovered it was already too late with the game out of hand. The Marauders took the Yates Cup with a score of 41-19 as they move on to the Uteck Bowl against the Acadia Axemen. This matchup will be an interesting one as McMaster does not have a good record in the Vanier Cup playoffs but Acadia has traditionally been pretty good in the semi-finals. McMaster looks poised to be the better team as they lead the nation in offence and will give Acadia a run for their money for a chance to play in the Vanier Cup in Vancouver.

 

Key Scores:

Hardy Cup:

Calgary Dinos 62 – 13 UBC Thunderbirds

– The dinos continued their dominance in the CanWest Conference with their fourth straight Hardy Cup and another berth into the National Playoffs

 

Loney Bowl:

Acadia Axemen 39 – 20 Saint Mary’s Huskies

– Acadia ended the four-year streak of the Saint Mary’s Huskies as they got past the Huskies and into the National Playoffs

 

Dunsmore Cup:

Laval Rouge et Or 30 – 7 Montreal Carabins

– Laval did it again winning their 9th straight Dunsmore Cup over their archrival Montreal and will look to repeat as Vanier Cup Champions entering the Mitchell Bowl

 

Yates Cup:

McMaster Marauders 41 – 19 Western Mustangs

– McMaster ended the dominance of the Mustangs as they won the 104th Yates Cup and a berth into the Uteck Bowl

 

Next Week:

 

Uteck Bowl:

McMaster Marauders vs. Acadia Axemen (Nov. 18th; 7:30 pm AT)

– The Marauders will take their CIS leading offence to Moncton as they take on the AUS champion Acadia Axemen for a chance at the Vanier Cup

 

Mitchell Bowl:

Laval Rouge et Or vs. Calgary Dinos (Nov. 18th; 9:30 pm ET)

– The defending champion Laval Rouge et Or will face off with the Calgary Dinos in a rematch of last year’s Vanier Cup as the Dinos look for revenge

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