CIS football Report (47th Vanier Cup)

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I have seen many football games in my time but I have never seen a game that was as good as the 47th Vanier Cup. It had everything including great team stories, great individual stories, great defensive plays, great offensive plays, some controversial calls, plus double overtime. It all started before the ball was even kicked off as the game was built as a typical David vs. Goliath matchup. David was the McMaster Marauders who had only been to one Vanier Cup, 1967, in their history and lost that game. Goliath was the Laval Rouge et Or who had been to six Vanier Cups since beginning their program in 1996 and had won every single game. McMaster was looking to become the best team to ever play at Mac and win the first ever Vanier Cup for the school. Meanwhile Laval was looking to win their 7th Vanier Cup which would be a record in the CIS as they would pass the Western Mustangs for most Vanier Cups. The game was also a classic matchup of the best defence in the CIS, Laval, against the best offence in the league, McMaster. With the matchup it was obvious that Laval would be the favorites as one of the powerhouses in CIS and McMaster the new kid on the block. The game started slow enough with neither team really taking enough of a lead in the first quarter. McMaster opened the game with their strong offence but could not breakthrough the strong defence. Mac went ahead 6-0 after the first quarter taking advantage of a Laval fumble to open the scoring with a Tyler Crapigna (4/6, 37 lng, 3/3 XP, 15 pts) Field Goal. This was not nearly enough as the Laval offence promised to get stronger through the game if they could get Sebastien Levesque (17 rsh, 136 yds, 1 TD) going. The Marauders new they need to get their offence back to the greatness they had shown all season. They did this by putting the ball into Kyle Quinlan’s (36/55, 482 yds, 2 RD, 2 INT) hands as in the second quarter Quinlan began to pick apart the Laval defence. Behind a number of key throws to Michael DiCroce (7 rec, 102 yds, 0 TD) and the running ability of Quinlan (14 rsh, 106 yds, 0 TD) the Marauders marched down the field. They got inside the shadow of the goalpost and Quinlan finally broke through throwing a 3 yard TD pass to James Hill (1 rec, 3 yds, 1 TD). Mac’s defence took this momentum and ran with it as they continued to sack Bruno Prud’homme and stifle the Laval offence. With the ball back the Marauders continued their offensive dominance as they marched downfield again behind the arm of Quinlan and finished the drive off with a TD run by Chris Pezzetta (13 rsh, 64 yds, 1 TD). Laval could not seem to match the defence of the Marauders as they seemed to fail on protection of Prud’homme who was sacked a total of 5 times in the game. Meanwhile Levesque was shut out in the first half as he did not break a run longer than 16 yards in the first half. Before the end of the half the Marauders added another field goal to their lead and shut down the Rouge et Or once again to end the half. McMaster had surprised everyone in the first half as they had been able to dominate the nation’s best defence and get ahead 23-0. In the history of the Vanier Cup no team had ever come back from a 23-0 deficit but in the second half this would not phase the Rouge et Or.

The second half started with McMaster feeling confident and Laval looking for something to jumpstart their team and begin the biggest comeback in Vanier Cup history. This play would come in after the second possession by McMaster as they punted the ball to Guillaume Rioux (5 PR, 94 yds, 1 TD). Rioux caught the ball and returned it for a 62 yard punt return TD giving Laval their first points in the game. With the first TD scored McMaster was looking to continue their dominance on offence with another possession. As the drive started disaster struck for the Marauders as the Frederic Plesius (5.5 tkl, 0 sck, 1 INT, 1 TD) intercepted a Kyle Quinlan pass and returned it 37 yards for another Laval TD. The comeback was in full swing as Laval had scored a fast 14 points to reduce the lead to 9 points. With the score 23-14 the Laval defence began to step up and stop the powerful offence of McMaster and gave their offence much more opportunity to score. On the offences first possession of the second half Laval started to get rolling but could only manage a field goal reducing the lead even more. The Marauders seemed to be out of it in the third quarter as they could not get past the Laval defence and failed to score any points. The last possession for the Marauders offence in the third quarter did not help the situation with Quinlan throwing his second INT giving the ball back to Laval. On this drive Laval saw something they needed to be successful in the game as Sebastien Levesque began breaking more runs for longer distances. It all came to a head when Levesque broke his biggest run as he went 44 yards downfield for his first TD of the game. With the score now 24-23 for Laval, McMaster needed to get something started or suffer a loss and go down as the team that blew the biggest lead in Vanier Cup history. Laval’s defence continued to step up and shut down the McMaster offence but so did the McMaster defence. McMaster broke through in their second possession of the 4th quarter in large part thanks to a Laval penalty. With this drive Quinlan helped drive down the field and handed the ball to Matthew Peressi (3 rsh, 15 yds, 1 TD) for a 9 yard TD to go ahead. They then went for the 2 point conversion giving them more room in the game. Laval answered back with their own TD pass from Bruno Prud’homme (21/30, 239 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT). This tied the game up at 31 with less than five minutes to go in the game. McMaster then got the ball back with enough time to drive down the field and win the game. Thanks to some amazing catches the Marauders got all the way to the 25 yard line and set the ball up for a 30 yard field goal. Tyler Crapigna is considered the top kicking prospect in the CIS and from 30 or less he was perfect in the game so this kick seemed to be a clincher and if he did miss he just needed to kick it through the endzone for the single to win it. As he lined up Laval froze him making him line up again where he missed wide left and did not get the single after a return. The game was over and was tied meaning that the Vanier Cup would go into overtime for only the second time in the 47 years it has been around. In the first overtime McMaster got the ball first and quickly marched the 35 yards for a TD on the second play of OT. This put the pressure on Laval to score on their possession and after a 10 yard holding penalty that brought back a TD pass. The next play Prud’homme aired it out into the endzone where Adam Thibault juggled the ball but brought it in with a great catch to tie the game up and send it to another overtime. Laval took the ball first in the second overtime and looked to put the pressure on McMaster to score but on the second play Prud’homme threw an interception ending their series and almost ending in a defensive TD. McMaster got the ball back for their first possession of the second overtime. Mac started with a Quinlan run and got small yardage to get within field goal range. This gave Crapigna a chance to redeem himself and win the game after blowing his opportunity at the end of regulation. With a much shorter field Crapigna made the field goal and ended the greatest Vanier Cup game ever and one of the greatest football games ever. After a quick start by the underdogs, a comeback, amazing catches, amazing defensive plays, and just about everything else that you could want in a game the McMaster Marauder won their first ever Vanier Cup. Laval made an amazing effort to win and they came within one play of winning a record 7th Vanier Cup. It was a thrilling game and there is no doubt that if this is a sign of the future of the CIs there is only more to come with more teams looking to get to the Vanier Cup next year and more teams having a legitimate chance to do so. If you didn’t like CIS football before this game is enough to convince anyone that CIS football is some of the most entertaining football out there.

 

47th Vanier Cup:

McMaster Marauders 41 – 38 Laval Rouge et Or (2OT)

Ted Morris Memorial Trophy

(Game MVP)

Kyle Quinlan, QB (McMaster)

36/55 (14 rsh)

482 yds (106 rsh yds)

2 TD

2 INT

Bruce Coulter Award

(Defensive MVP)

Aram Eisho, LB (McMaster)

11.5 tkl

0 sck

1 FF

0 INT

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