ROAD TO THE VANIER CUP
Monday, October 31, 2005 - 01:00PM
The No. 1-ranked and two-time defending Vanier Cup champion Laval Rouge et Or rolled over the No. 4 Montreal Carabins 54-7 on Saturday afternoon in front of 16,684 fans at PEPS Stadium in Quebec City, eclipsing its own CIS record with a 17th consecutive overall victory.
Laval had previously claimed 16 straight contests in 1999 and 2000, going undefeated from the fifth week of the 1999 regular season to a conference semi-final win in 2000. Its current streak started on Sept. 25, 2004 with a 21-18 win over Acadia.
With the victory over arch-rival Montreal, the Rouge et Or clinches first place in Quebec University Football League standings, and will host the Sherbrooke Vert & Or in a QUFL semi-final on Saturday, Nov. 5.
This marks the second perfect regular season in team history. Laval also went 8-0 in 2000 following its first of three Vanier Cup titles in 1999.
Montreal finishes in second place in Quebec with a 6-2 mark, its two losses coming at hands of Laval, which took the season opener 24-12. The Carabins will host the No. 7 Concordia Stingers (6-2) on Nov. 5.
Freshman quarterback Benoit Groulx of Laval, Que. threw four touchdowns passes in the season finale, while junior running back Pierre-Luc Yao of Charlesbourg, Que. rushed 21 times for 153 yards and a score. Both were taken out of the game before the end of the third quarter.
Laval racked up 563 yards of offence, including 365 on the ground, while holding Montreal to 145 total yards. The Rouge et Or had a 30-10 edge in first downs.
In other CIS action on Saturday afternoon it was McMaster 49, Windsor 19; Acadia 47, StFX 13; Saskatchewan 43, Calgary 16; Alberta 26, UBC 23; Regina 38, Simon Fraser 28; Concordia 6, McGill 0 (McGill forfeit).
In Quebec City, the top-ranked Rouge et Or scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions to build a comfortable 30-7 halftime lead.
Groulx connected with Marc-Andre Lacombe from 15 yards out to open the scoring three minutes and seven seconds into the contest.
Montreal responded immediately with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Jodoin to Olivier Pellerin but Laval took the lead right back on an eight-yard run from Yao, and never looked back.
Groulx completed 10 of 16 passes for 210 yards and one interception on the day. He finishes his rookie campaign with 1,317 yards, 13 passing majors and four interceptions in only five outings.
Yao finishes with a QUFL-high nine touchdowns, including eight on the ground, and 893 rushing yards in seven games.
Jean-Francois Romeo, Duane John and Samuel Gregoire-Champagne had the other TD receptions against the Carabins, while backup quarterback William Leclerc and Alexandre Edme rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter with short TD runs.
The Rouge et Or defensive unit allowed only 75 points all season, leading the nation in this category for the third straight year. No team has rushed for 100 yards in a game against Laval so far in 2005.
Montreal running back Joseph Mroue of Quebec City had 99 yards on the ground on 28 carries in the losing effort, setting a new QUFL single-season mark of 1,046 yards. Mark Brown of Carleton set the previous standard of 1,028 yards in 1986.
Quarterback Jonathan Jodoin was nine-of-16 for 78 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and was sacked three times.
Ottawa 35, Guelph 21 (OUA quarter-final)
Joe Sullivan ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees dumped the University of Guelph Gryphons 35-21 in an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-final football game Sunday afternoon at Frank Clair Stadium.
The Gryphons conceded the first four points of the game on a pair of safeties, the second coming after a huge defensive stand that saw Guelph stop the Gee-Gees on third and goal from the six yard line. On third down, Colin Dyer batted down a Joshua Sacobie pass to end the drive, but Guelph was unable to take advantage of the stop, conceding their second safety on the ensuing possession.
On the next series, Ottawa drove the field and were once again put into a third and goal situation, but this time the gamble paid off for the Garnet and Grey, as Joe Sullivan broke through the line and ran straight up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown to put Ottawa up 11-0.
The Gee-Gees blew open the game on the first place of the second quarter, as David Crane took a Peter DeGouw punt and returned it 55 yards for his second punt return touchdown in as many games. Ottawa went up 25-0 with less than three minutes left in the half, when Sacobie connected with J-P Asselin on a two-yard touchdown pass on third and goal.
Guelph caught a much-needed break with a minute left in the half, as Sullivan fumbled the ball on the one-yard line. Quarterback Justin Dunk scored the first of his two majors from one-yard out to put the Gryphons down 25-7 after the opening 30 minutes.
Guelph continued to mount their comeback early in the second half, as Dunt drove the team down the field and scored his second major, rolling left and running the ball in from seven-yards out. They followed that up with an 81-yard touchdown strike from Dunk to Jeff Kegan with 5:31 left in the period to pull to within four.
Dunk would finish the game completing 12 of 23 passes, throwing for 279-yards and one touchdown, while Sacobie was 30 of 44 for 285 and a touchdown. Each pivot threw one interception.
Sullivan put the game away with just under a minute to go, breaking through the entire Guelph secondary to score a 38-yard touchdown.
McMaster 49, Windsor 19 (OUA quarter-final)
At Hamilton, Adam Archibald passed for 465 yards and three touchdowns and freshman Jordan Kozina added 177 yards and three majors on the ground as the hometown McMaster Marauders earned a 49-19 win over the Windsor Lancers in an OUA quarter-final match-up.
The Marauders advance to the conference semi-final round where they will face the No. 3-ranked, undefeated Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (8-0) on Saturday in Waterloo, Ont.
Laurier has claimed the last three meetings between the OUA arch-rivals, including a 33-26 win in week four this season and a 31-19 victory in last yearâ€™s Yates Cup final.
Against Windsor, McMaster trailed 11-7 after the first quarter but exploded for 33 unanswered points, including 26 in the second frame.
Archibald completed 21 of 36 passes and was intercepted once. His favourite targets were Vaughan Swart, who had four catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and Andrew Ross, who finished with five receptions for 131 yards. John Behie also caught a pass in the end zone.
The much-anticipated duel between the nationâ€™s top two rushers never materialized, as Lancer sophomore Daryl Stephenson, who led the CIS in the regular season with 1,306 yards, left the game early due to an injury after carrying the ball only once for six yards.
Kozina, who finished the regular campaign with 1,191 yards, one yard short of Stephensonâ€™s CIS rookie record, had 22 carries including a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He added a pair of one-yard TDs.
For Windsor, freshman Joshua Duguay was 12-of-26 for 250 yards, and threw touchdown passes Glenn McKay and Derek Quigley.
Acadia 47, StFX 13
At Wolfville, N.S. Chris Judd threw four touchdown passes as the hometown Acadia Axemen clinched their first AUFC regular-season title since 1995 with a 47-13 win over the StFX X-Men.
Acadia (5-3) needed to win by nine points or more as StFX (5-3) had taken the first head-to-head meeting of the season by 23-14. The Axemen will enjoy a bye next week, while the X-Men will host the third-place Saint Maryâ€™s Huskies (4-4) on Saturday for the conference semi-final.
Judd connected with Ivan Birungi on 57 yards to open the scoring one minute and 22 seconds into the contest, and the Axemen never looked back.
Judd was 15 of 23 for 301 yards and two interceptions. Birungi, who ends the regular season with an AUFC-high 10 TD catches, had four receptions for 145 yards, while Matt Carter hauled in six passes for 105 yards and a score.
Mike Gillen led the ground attack with 109 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.
For StFX, quarterback Nick Chessa completed only eight of 25 attempts for 127 yards, and was intercepted once.
Saskatchewan 43, Calgary 16
At Calgary, Steve Bilan threw three touchdown passes to lead the No. 2-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies to a 43-16 win over the hometown Dinos.
The 2004 Desjardins Vanier Cup finalist Huskies (8-0) completed their second perfect regular season in three years, and will host the UBC Thunderbirds (4-4) on Saturday for a Canada West semi-final match-up.
Bilan completed 16 of 34 passes for 216 yards, including a pair of touchdown strikes to Jeff Schieman, who ended up with 77 yards on five receptions.
Tailback David Stevens scored his CIS-leading 14th touchdown of the season and carried the ball 19 times for 128 yards. He finishes second in the nation in rushing with 1229 yards, the sixth highest total in Canada West history. His 14 total touchdowns and 12 rushing majors both tie him for fourth place on the all-time Canada West single-season list.
For Calgary, quarterback Charles Guedo was 17 of 26 for 170 yards and one score. He was intercepted four times, and sacked on three occasions.
The Dinos (2-6) finish sixth in Canada West, and miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Alberta 26, UBC 23
At Edmonton, David Bissett scored two touchdowns including the game-winner early in the fourth quarter to lead the No. 5-ranked Alberta Golden Bears to a 26-23 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds.
With the win, Alberta (7-1), which finishes second in Canada West, is set to host the No. 9 Manitoba Bisons (4-3-0-1) on Saturday in a conference semi-final match-up. UBC (4-4) finishes fourth and will visit the No. 2 Saskatchewan Huskies (8-0).
With Alberta trailing 23-18 early in the final quarter, Beau Filkowski booted a single and Bissett scored on a one-yard plunge with 10 minutes and 29 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Bissett finished with 106 yards on 16 carries, while teammate Andrew Ginther had six receptions for 70 and one touchdown, setting a school record with 137 career receptions, one better than former Edmonton Eskimos Marc Tobert and Brian Fryer, the Hec Crighton Trophy recipient in 1975.
Backup Cameron Linke handled the bulk of the action at quarterback for the Bears and was intercepted three times while completing seven of 18 attempts for 78 yards. Number-one pivot Daryl Salmon was 4 of 7 for 49 yards and a major.
For UBC, Blake Smelser completed 24 of 40 passes for 392 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and came seven yards short of the 2,000-yard mark for the season. Receiver Alan Pepper had a career day with 12 catches for 185 yards.
Regina 38, Simon Fraser 28
At Burnaby, B.C. sophomore Teale Orban threw four touchdown passes as the Regina Rams overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to defeat the Simon Fraser Clan 38-28.
The Rams (3-5) finish in fifth place in the Canada West with six points, while Simon Fraser (0-7-0-1) ends the season without a win for the first time in team history.
The score was tied at 28-28 after 45 minutes of play. Perri Scarcelli made it 31-28 Regina with a 12-yard field goal two minutes and five seconds into the fourth quarter, and Orban connected with Chris Bauman on 21 yards late in the game to round out the scoring.
Orban completed 25 of 39 passes for 335 yards and one interception. Chris Getzlaf had a career-high 12 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown. Bauman had two majors, while Chad Goldie had the other TD reception.
For the Clan, Marty Kipps scored two rushing touchdowns and finished with 117 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Jason Marshall was 19 of 30 for 278 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Brent Cowden, but was intercepted three times and sacked on four occasions.
Sherbrooke 28, Bishop's 10
At Sherbrooke, Que. M.A. Tougas threw two touchdown passes as Sherbrooke defeated Bishop's.
Tougas was 11 of 20 passing for 174 yards. Diego Ratelle rushed for 169 yards and a major.
J.M. Simard and Samuel Giguere each had a touchdown reception in the win.
Concordia 6, McGill 0
Concordia wins 6-0 by forfeit due to McGill Universityâ€™s cancellation of the final two games of the Redmen season.
Saint Maryâ€™s 33, Mount Allison 3
At Halifax, Billy Robinson Jr. threw a pair of touchdown passes to Ryean Warburton to lead the Saint Maryâ€™s Huskies to a 33-3 win over the Mount Allison Mounties.
Saint Maryâ€™s (4-4) rounds out the regular season with a .500 record in third place in the AUFC, and will visit the StFX X-Men in the conference semi-final on Nov. 5. It will mark a first road playoff game since 1991 for the Huskies.
Robinson, one of three quarterbacks used by Saint Maryâ€™s on the night, threw only seven passes, completing four of them for 54 yards.
Jacques-Olivier Lumbala and Les Mullings both went over the 100-yard mark on the ground. Lumbala had 163 yards on 14 carries, while Mullings rushed nine times for 106 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
John Fiset scored Mount Allisonâ€™s only points of the game on a 46-yard field goal in the third frame. The Mounties have lost of their last 30 contests.