Canadian receiver Mardner stepping up as big-play threat for Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Canadian receiver Mardner stepping up as big-play threat for Hawaii Rainbow Warriors


Add Nick Mardner’s name to the growing list of big-play Canadian receivers in the NCAA.

The six-foot-six, 190-pound redshirt sophomore from Mississauga, Ont., had six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in Hawaii’s 39-33 home-opening win over New Mexico last weekend. Mardner’s touchdown reception covered 42 yards.

He has eight catches for 173 yards (21.6-yard average) and TD for Hawaii (2-1), which takes on San Diego State (2-1) on Saturday.

Mardner appeared in 12 games last season, starting one. He had five catches for 169 yards (33.8-yard average) with two TDs with four of his receptions covering 24 or more yards.

Mardner also caught the game-winning touchdown with 1:17 remaining to help lift Rainbow Warriors past BYU 38-34 in the SoFi Hawai‘i Bowl last December in Honolulu.


TOP-RANKED TIDE: It seems Canadian receiver John Metchie III and the Alabama Crimson Tide will have another week off.

The top-ranked Tide (6-0) were scheduled to face the LSU Tigers (2-3) on Saturday, but that game was postponed as a result of COVID-19 testing depleting the Tigers’ available roster.

Alabama (6-0) assumed top spot in The Associated Press top-25 this week after top-ranked Clemson (7-1) lost a 47-40 double-overtime decision last weekend to Notre Dame. The Tide went into its bye week ranked No. 2 overall.

Alabama’s next scheduled game is at home Nov. 21 versus Kentucky.

The six-foot, 195-pound Metchie, a sophomore from Brampton, Ont., has 24 catches for 517 yards (21.5-yard average) with three TDs this season.

The SEC also cancelled the Texas A&M-Tennessee game because COVID-19 testing depleted the Aggies’ available roster. Josh Palmer, a six-foot-two, 210-pound receiver from Brampton, is a senior with the Volunteers (2-4), having recoded 21 catches for 323 yards and four TDs.


ALSO POSTPONED: The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily derailed Coastal Carolina’s stellar season.

The No. 15 Chanticleers (7-0) were scheduled to face Troy (4-3) on Saturday but the game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns and injuries within the Trojans’ roster.

Canadian linebacker Enock Makonzo is enjoying a stellar campaign for Coastal Carolina. The five-foot-11, 195-pound native of Lachine, Que., a redshirt junior, had a season-high nine tackles (five solo), 1.5 for a loss and a forced fumble in last weekend’s 23-6 win over South Alabama.

This season, Makonzo has 45 tackles (30 solo), 7.5 for a loss with two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.


BYE WEEK: A little down time for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Canadians Chuba Hubbard and Amen Ogbongbemiga.

The No. 14-ranked Cowboys (5-1) have the week off following their 20-18 victory over Kansas State last weekend. Oklahoma State will resume its schedule facing No. 18 Oklahoma (5-2) on Nov. 21.

Hubbard ran for 31 yards on six carries and had a four-yard catch against Kansas State before suffering an unspecified injury. The six-foot, 208-pound redshirt junior from Sherwood Park, Alta., has rushed for 581 yards on 125 carries this season with five TDs and has eight catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.

The six-foot-one, 235-pound Ogbongbemiga, a redshirt senior linebacker from Calgary, had eight tackles (six solo) with 1.5 for a loss against Kansas State. He has 43 tackles (26 solo) with four for a loss and 2.5 sacks this season.


HALT HISTORY: Canadian linebacker D.K. Bonhomme and the Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) will look to buck recent history Saturday when they visit the Michigan State Spartans (1-2).

Indiana has lost three straight games versus Michigan State. The Hoosiers have opened a season with three consecutive Big Ten wins for only the fourth time in school history and first time since 1988.

Michigan State leads the all-time series 48-16-2 and is 26-6-1 versus Indiana in East Lansing, Mich.

The 10th-ranked Hoosiers are coming off a 38-21 win over Michigan last weekend. Bonhomme, a six-foot-three, 235-pound sophomore from Ottawa, had two tackles (both solo), one for a loss and a sack in the contest.

This season, Bonhomme has four tackles (four solo), one for a loss and a sack. He appeared in 11 games last season as a freshman, playing primarily on special teams.

Luiji Vilain, a senior defensive lineman also from Ottawa, had three tackles (two solo) for Michigan. Those were the first stats of the season for the six-foot-four, 253-pound Vilain.


DIFFICULT SEASON: It’s been a tough year for the Syracuse Orange.

Syracuse (1-7) visits Louisville (2-5) on Saturday riding a five-game losing streak. The Orange are coming off a tough 16-13 loss last weekend to Boston College.

Canadian sophomore Geoff Cantin-Arku had five tackles (four solo) against Boston College. The six-foot-four, 228-pound linebacker from Levis, Que, has 50 tackles (40 solo), two for a loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery this season.

Tyrell Richards, a redshirt junior linebacker from Brampton, registered three tackles and a breakup against Boston College. The six-foot-four, 234-pound Richards has 23 tackles (10 solo), 3.5 for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and a blocked kick this season.


WINLESS TEAMS: Something has to give.

The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-3) visit the Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-2) on Saturday with both teams looking for their first win of the season.

Junior linebacker Jesse Luketa had four tackles (two solo) in Penn State’s 35-19 loss last weekend to Maryland The six-foot-three, 242-yard player from Ottawa has 15 tackles (eight) solo this season.

Barron Miles Jr., a six-foot, 170-pound freshman receiver from Montreal, is on Nebraska’s roster. He was part of three Arizona state championship teams at Chandler High School.

Barron Miles Sr. was a starting cornerback on Nebraska’s 1994 national title team. He later won Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes (2002) and B.C. Lions (2006) over a stellar 12-year CFL career.

A six-time league all-star, the elder Miles was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2018. He’s currently Montreal’s defensive backs coach and pass game co-ordinator.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press