Friday, December 19, 2014

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.

The Marauders and Rouge et Or will meet before a Rogers Centre gathering expected to exceed 30,000 spectators.
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.

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