Vanier Cup featuring classic rematch
TORONTO—The McMaster Marauders and Laval Rouge et Or have one tough act to follow.
Tonight’s 48th Vanier Cup is a rematch of last year’s classic—a 41-38 double overtime win for McMaster, dubbed by many as one of the greatest games in Canadian university football history.
Although Laval is downplaying the revenge factor, the bitter taste of last year’s loss still lingers.
“The only place we could [get] revenge was back here,” said Laval head coach Glen Constantin.
“Obviously, that was our motivation for the year [but] right now it’s not about revenge, it’s about execution and playing a real good game of football,” he stressed.
“You can lose this game emotionally because you’re thinking about revenge.”
The Marauders jumped out to a stunning 23-0 lead on Laval last year in Vancouver.
The Rouge et Or then rallied to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, only to watch McMaster kicker Tyler Crapigna boot the game-winning field goal in the second extra period.
McMaster’s potent offence is led by quarterback Kyle Quinlan. He was the OUA’s most valuable player and set a conference record by completing 69 percent of his passes for 2,457 yards while leading Canadian university football with 19 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
“To be here two years in a row is not something that’s lost on this team. We’re really excited to be battling Laval,” Quinlan said.
“They’ve elevated CIS football Canada-wide,” he added. “They forced the level of play up and we’re excited to have the chance to go toe-to-toe with them again and have another great game.”
While McMaster (11-0) has relied heavily on its passing attack, the reigning 10-time Quebec champs from Laval got back to the big game with a punishing defence and a grinding rushing attack that has averaged 297 yards a game in the playoffs.
Rouge et Or quarterback Tristan Grenon is part of a new-look offence that lost five starters while the defence is led by lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and standout linebacker Frederic Plesius, another 2012 Hamilton draft pick.
The Marauders’ win last season earned the school its first Vanier Cup while the Rouge et Or (11-1) are gunning for a record-breaking seventh title in their eighth appearance.
McMaster comes in riding a Canadian university record 21-game win streak. A 22nd victory would make the Marauders just the fifth team in history to win back-to-back Vanier Cups.
Laval had the previous record for the longest win streak at 19-straight games between 2004 and 2005.