Second time not the charm at Vanier Cup

The last weekend of the CIS football season was set to be very exciting as two teams met hoping to make up for last year’s disappointment. The Laval Rouge et Or missed out on the chance to play at home in last year’s Vanier Cup after an unfortunate semi-final loss to Queen’s University while the Dinos sought redemption after letting a 25-7 half time lead slip away to eventually lose 31-33 to Queen’s. For the Dinos, instead of redemption there was a loss that might be even harder to forget than last year’s nail bitter.

The Rouge et Or built an early lead when Sebastien Levesque ran in a handoff for a touchdown four and a half minutes into the first quarter. Three minutes later, Laval quarterback Bruno Prud’Homme found receiver Yannick Morin-Plante with a 40-yard pass for another touchdown to give the Rouge et Or a 14-0 lead.

On the first Dinos play of the game, quarterback Erik Glavic missed a poorly timed snap and scrambled to get it back. From there the Dinos never really got in sync offensively. They struggled to gain yards on first downs leading to numerous two and outs. The Dinos completed seven of 29 pass attempts and had serious problems with dropped balls.

“The big reason is that we didn’t make enough plays early,” said head coach Blake Nill. “We talked about that. We knew that’s what we wanted to do– we wanted to stay close in the initial quarter. They got up on us early and it just was a slippery slope from there. We could not get our offence moving. We just couldn’t get the first downs and the consistency going.”

Rouge et Or kicker Christopher Milo added a field goal with a little over a minute to go in the third quarter. The Dinos only points of the game came from a team safety taken by Laval after a Dinos defensive stand trapped the Rouge et Or at the four yard line. Laval added three more field goals to take a 26-2 lead into the half.

In the third quarter, Nill alternated between Glavic and rookie quarterback Eric Dzwilewski. The two managed to obtain what had eluded the Dinos so badly in the first half– some first downs– but it was not enough to put together a sustained drive resulting in scoring. Kicker Aaron Ifield missed his only attempt of the game with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“We just weren’t making the plays we needed to when we had the opportunities,” said receiver Anthony Parker. “The weather definitely played into that but, I mean, they were out there making plays when they had to and hanging onto the ball when they had to and unfortunately it just wasn’t our day.”

Neither team scored in the third quarter. The Rouge et Or added another field goal with 2:21 left in the game to win it 29-2.

“We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game and you know when you don’t play your best game against those guys you’re going to lose,” said Glavic.

“We weren’t catching the ball, we weren’t executing, we weren’t doing the fundamental stuff that we’re accustomed to,” said Dzwilewski. “Credit to them. They played great. They had good defence and they were the better team that day.”

Laval rounded off a perfect 13-0 season to capture the school’s sixth Vanier Cup. The win gave Laval head coach Glen Constantin a record-setting fifth Vanier Cup victory.

Despite snowy conditions, PEPS stadium was packed with over 16,000 fans, the majority supporting the home team Laval.

“Last year’s defeat was heartbreaking because we’re a team going in there that had the opportunity to win and we had the game well in hand going into the second half,” said Nill. “This year you’ve gotta be realistic. You’re going into a place where very few teams have won, they haven’t lost there in eight years, against a powerhouse program. We wanted to show better but I have mixed feelings about both of them.”

The Ted Morris Trophy for the most valuable player of the game was awarded to Rouge et Or’s Levesque who rushed for 168 yards, more than the entire Calgary offense. Calgary rushed for a total of 140 offensive yards while Laval had 375.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.