"The toughest job in sports" -- OUA In The Huddle with Mike Hogan - Week 3

"The toughest job in sports" -- OUA In The Huddle with Mike Hogan - Week 3

Hitting a baseball? Playing quarterback? Putting at Augusta National? Distance swimming through sewage-infested water in Rio?

All challenging things to be sure. There is, however, little doubt as to what the toughest job in sports has been in 2016.

Trying to put together OUA power rankings.

That's tongue in cheek of course, but attempting to make heads or tails of this season has not been easy and that is a very, very good thing. Over the last few years predicting OUA game results has been relatively easy. This year, not so much.

The biggest eye opener in Week One was Laurier's offensive explosion versus Queen's. While the Gaels may be in a bit of a rebuilding mode, the Golden Hawks were supposed to be a dominant defensive team that would struggle to score points. So far Michael Faulds' team has surprisingly outscored its opponents 111-21 through two games.

Maybe some eyebrows were raised in the opener when Guelph surrendered 22 points to Toronto, but nobody saw the Gryphons Week Two score coming. Windsor handed the visitors a 33-29 loss, stunning observers across the country. Was Windsor better than we thought? Were the Gryphs as good as we thought? After that game we weren't too sure. We'd find out a week later that this game was the anomaly that we had imagined, but it's hard to emphasize how important upsets like that are for not only the team that wins, but for the conference as a whole.

That same weekend in Ottawa, the Carleton Ravens and Western Mustangs connected in a game that saw huge momentum shifts. When it was done it was black over purple, stunning those who weren't following the development of Steve Sumarah's program.  Just three years ago the Ravens lost all eight games by an average score of 49-12. Those days now seem as far removed as the Middle Ages.

Have you noticed York? They've 2-1 and have averaged almost 40 points per game. They face a must-win situation this week against Toronto, as they close out the season against Carleton, Ottawa McMaster and Guelph. The Lions are a much, much better team this year.

It looked as though McMaster would score points at will this season, but nobody told the Ottawa Gee Gees that. The Marauders scored just eight points when they visited the Gee Gees last weekend, losing 30-8.

Isn't this great?

Over the last few years we've looked forward to the games between the elite programs in the conference because they represented the true nail biters. We weren't sure what would happen when the big dogs got together, but aside from that things could be pretty predictable.

Queen's has been slow out of the gate, but that was expected from a team in transition. Would anyone be shocked if they were to knock off a team ahead of them in the standings? How about if Laurier beats one of the big three? Should that surprise you?

Not this year. This year it just feels different.

Vive la difference.

The O-Zone:

If you've been selling the Ottawa Gee-Gees short, you'd better take a closer look. The garnet and grey continue to roll, upsetting McMaster 30-8. It wasn't so much the win itself, nor was it that the offence played so well that was surprising, but Ottawa held one of the best offences in the country out of the end zone. Derek Wendel was spectacular, throwing for 441 yards and four touchdowns. He also showed off his wheels, rushing for five first downs in the first half. None of those runs was less than six yards. He actually led the Gee Gees in rushing on the day. Bryce Viera and Mitchell Baines broke the century mark in receiving yards. Max Cameron was the Marauders top receiver, limited to four catches for 70 yards.

After their stunning loss at Windsor, Guelph rebounded with a solid effort against Queen's. The Gaels were up 11-0 after the first quarter before the Gryphons mounted their comeback. Both Brandon Gordon and Daniel Palmer-Salmon rushed for over 100 yards for the home side. Down by eight points early in the fourth, Queen's scored on a 77-yard rush by receiver Chris Osei-Kusi, but the two-point conversion attempt failed. After the riot act was read by head coach Kevin MacNeill following the loss to the Lancers, the Gryphons committed just four penalties for 30 yards. They also didn't commit a turnover, while Gaels QB Nate Hobbs was picked off three times. James Donald had three sacks for the tricolour, adding 3 ½ tackles for a loss.

Brett Hunchak had an incredible afternoon for York. The second-year QB passed for 540 yards and three TDs in a 56-32 win over Windsor. Adam Adeboboye was his favourite target, catching 11 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. The QB's brother, Colton Hunchak, also had a big game with 138 yards receiving on eight catches, including a touchdown. The Lions have scored over 55 points in two of their three games. Windsor struggled on defence, but moved the ball well. Tarrence Crawford had another good game, carrying the ball 28 times for 166 yards and a pair of majors. He caught a pair of passes and finished with 199 yards from scrimmage. This one got chippy as the teams split 36 penalties for a combined 329 yards.

Carleton continued its momentum after the win over Western. They scored the first 58 points of the game in a 65-7 win over Toronto. Jesse Mills threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns and is the only QB in CIS with over 1,000 passing yards this year. Jayde Rowe rushed for over 100 yards for the Ravens, now 2-1 on the year. Nate Behar had three TD catches and went over the 100-yard receiving mark, as did Kyle VanWynsberghe. Special teams had a spectacular day, as Tunde Adeleke returned two punts for touchdowns, from 77 and 69 yards out. Michael Domagala hit a 48-yard field goal, second longest in CIS this year. Defensively, Jamal Johnson had an 85-yard pick six. The bright spot for Varsity was Alex Malone, who rushed for 116 yards. Conversely, Marcus Hobbs had a tough day at the office, completing only six of his 26 passes, throwing three interceptions in the process.

The Mustangs apparently didn't want to cooperate with the theme of this week's In The Huddle, as they blasted Waterloo 75-14. It was 48-0 in the second quarter. Chris Merchant passed for four touchdowns, Alex Taylor carried the ball nine times for 141 yards, an astonishing 15.7 yards per carry. George Johnson had four catches for an even 100 yards. Western bounced back from the loss to Carleton with 749 yards of offence. Warriors QB Lucas McConnell threw a couple of TD passes in the loss, while Tyler Ternowski had five catches for 131 yards.

Rowe, Ravens win big at York
September 24, 2016 Rowe, Ravens win big at York