TORONTO, ON – While half the country was beginning its quest to capture university football’s ultimate prize – the Vanier Cup – the other half was finalizing its postseason participants in the final weekend of regular season play.
Everything was decided before kickoff in the AUS. Ironically enough, both games on the schedule would be playoff previews, with St. FX hosting Acadia and Bishop’s travelling to Mount Allison. The X-Men aimed to close out a perfect campaign, while the number two-seeded Mounties were shooting for their fifth win of the season. Although for different reasons, those two teams appear poised to duke it out for the Loney Bowl, as we’ve learned numerous times in 2021, expect the unexpected.
Out West, there was still something. With a loss to Saskatchewan, the Calgary Dinos – reigning national champions – would miss the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. A Dinos win, however, would have snuck them into the fourth seed. A victory would have meant a 3-3 record and either sole possession of fourth place with an Alberta Golden Bears win or a tie for fourth with a UBC win, which the Dinos would take by their 53-14 win over the T-Birds.
ACADIA 7 | ST. FX 13
As mentioned, the St. FX X-Men were one win away from an undefeated regular season, something the program hasn’t seen since at least 1990. The X-Men started fast, as Max Capriotti hit a 19-yard field goal on the team’s first drive, but from there on, the defences locked down. The game’s next score didn’t come until early in the third quarter when Capriotti nailed a 30-yarder. Then, in the fourth, Ben Von Meuhldorfer picked off a Duncan Patterson pass and brought it back 58 yards to the house for his second pick-6 in as many weeks. That gave the X-Men a 13-0 lead. A couple of minutes later, freshman X-Men QB Justin Letendre-Lampron was intercepted by defensive back and place-kicker Ben George, allowing the Axemen to take over deep in St. FX territory. They would take advantage after Acadia freshman pivot Daniel Hashem found Michael Adams for 34 yards down to the 1, where starter Duncan Patterson took it in from a yard out to get the Axemen on the board, down 13-7. That, however, was as close as Acadia would get, as Hashem was picked off by Nathan Cayouette, Cayoutte’s second INT of the day, to seal it for the X-Men and solidify their unblemished 6-0 record.
BISHOP’S 2 | MOUNT ALLISON 18
The Mount Allison Mounties aren’t the juggernaut the X-Men have shown themselves to be, but their formula of giving up next to nothing while scoring just enough has served them well so far and did so again against the Bishop’s Gaiters in Week 8. This game had the quintessential Canadian football score at halftime, 1-1. After a James Parker field goal made it 4-1, Mounties running back Adam Bennett concluded a nine-play, 82-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 11-1. After another rouge made it 11-2, the Mounties struck quickly, as Julian Wytnick found Morie Kamara on a long bomb from 44 yards out on the first and only play of the drive to make it 18-2. The Gaiters would never again threaten, and the Mounties finish off the regular season in fitting fashion, with a defensive masterpiece, to finish 5-1 on the year and earn the right to host an AUS semi-final.
AUS SEMI-FINAL SCHEDULE
 Acadia (1-5) @  St. FX (6-0) – Sat, Nov 13 ~ 2:00 pm AT
 Bishop’s (2-4) @  Mount Allison (5-1) – Sat, Nov 13 ~ 2:00 pm AT
MANITOBA 22 | REGINA 3
The Manitoba Bisons were looking to finish all alone in second place with a win over the 1-4 Regina Rams in the season’s final week. The Bisons, who boasted the conference’s best defence all season long, showcased their defensive prowess all afternoon. They allowed just a rouge and a conceded safety in this one against a Regina team that has scored the fewest points in CanWest. After a high snap went through the end zone for a safety to give Manitoba a 2-0 lead, Cole Sabourin accounted for his team’s following nine points, on field goals from 21, 16 and 30 yards, respectively, to give them an 11-0 lead at the break. The game’s only touchdown came in the third on a QB keeper from Jackson Tachinski to expand the lead to 19-0. Then it was Sabourin atoning for an early miss from 13 yards out with a 32-yard field goal, his fourth make of the day, to round out the scoring. The win for the Bisons guarantees them the right to host one of two CanWest semis on November 13.
CALGARY 23 | SASKATCHEWAN 31
The Calgary Dinos needed a win in their season finale to make the Canada West postseason for a 14th straight year. Inconsistency has plagued the Dinos this year, as has a couple of late-game losses. This one got off to a flying start, as both teams scored on their opening drives. First, it was Tyson Philpot hauling in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Josiah Joseph. Then, Huskies running back Ryker Frank romped to the house, a 58-yard score, to tie it. In the second, David Solie put the Huskies ahead on a 23-yard field goal before Alessandro Molnar gave the Dinos their lead back with a 3-yard touchdown run. The Huskies responded later in the frame after conceding a safety, as Mason Nyhus and Daniel Perry connected on two straight touchdown passes late in the second and early in the third, scores of 24 and 29 yards, and it was 24-16 Sask. Then with just over 5:00 left in the fourth, DB Clovis Lumeka pounced on a fumbled ball in the end zone to extend the Huskies’ lead to 15, a significant blow in the Dino’s playoff chances. The Dinos responded on their next drive as Philpot caught his 2nd TD of the afternoon to make it 31-23. Still, Calgary turned the ball over on downs with 42 seconds left, officially ending a 13-year playoff run that saw the Dinos host 11 Hardy Cups, win nine Canada West titles and play in five Vanier Cups, winning it in 2019.
ALBERTA 27 | UBC 30
With a win in their regular-season finale against the UBC Thunderbirds, the Alberta Golden Bears could finish above the .500 mark for the first time since 2005, when they were 7-1 and reached the Hardy Cup. They got on the board first with a Matthew Peterson 3-yard touchdown run. The T-Birds responded with a 27-yard Owen Brown field goal, and it was 7-3 Bears after one. In the second, UBC grabbed its first lead of the day on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Rooker to Trey Kellogg, putting them up 10-7. Then, after a Justin Guistini field goal tied it at 10, UBC’s Isaiah Knight scored his first of two touchdowns on the night with a 44-yard scamper to paydirt, making it 17-10 Thunderbirds at the half. After Guistini added another 3 for Alberta, Knight found the end zone again, here from four yards out, to put his team up 11 after three. With just under 9:00 to go in the fourth, Brown hit a 16-yard field goal off a short field from a shanked punt and made it a 14-point game. But the Bears weren’t done. With 4:55 to go, veteran QB Brad Launhardt plunged in himself to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive, making it 27-20. Then, after the defence forced a two-and-out, Launhardt found Jonathan Rosery for a 35-yard game-tying pass making it 27-27 apiece. The Bears forced another punt on the next drive, but Alberta returner Sony Bermudez-Chavez muffed the punt, and the Thunderbirds recovered, setting up the game-winning 34-yard field goal from Brown with 1:06 left. Alberta did get the ball back, but Launhardt was picked off by UBC’s Erik Dika-Balotoken, preserving a wild 30-27 win for the T-Birds to earn them the final playoff seed in CanWest.
CAN WEST SEMI-FINAL SCHEDULE
 UBC (3-3) @  Saskatchewan (5-1) – Sat, Nov 13 ~ 1:00 pm CT
 Alberta (3-3) at  Manitoba (4-2) – Sat, Nov 13 ~ 4:00 pm CT