The McMaster Marauders and Laval Rouge et Or’s last meeting was considered one of the best games in Canadian Interuniversity Sports football history. Sunday’s (Aug. 26) exhibition rematch of that 2011 Vanier Cup game wasn’t historic, but it was a close back and forth contest that saw host Rouge et Or prevail, 28-22, in front of 9,991 at Telus Stadium.
Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee, Ont.) directed the offence for the majority of the first half for McMaster finishing 8-of-12 for 114 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball seven times for 45 yards. Jimmy Hill (Hamilton) was the top rusher for the Marauders with 43 yards on six carries.
Laval opened the scoring with a Boris Bede (Toulon, France) 38-yard field goal with 8:46 remaining in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead but the Marauders responded on their next drive. Quinlan had a 33-yard rush to move the Marauders into field goal range and from 17-yard’s out Tyler Crapigna (Nepean, Ont.) evened the score.
On Mac’s next foray, Quinlan connected with rookie Andrew Sinclair (Denfield, Ont.) for a 34-yard completion setting up a 47-yard field goal attempt by Crapigna. The missed attempt was returned by Maximilian Ducap Kamara (L’Islet, Quebec) 33 yards to avoid the single point.
At the end of the first quarter, pinned deep in their own zone, the Rouge et Or conceded a safety to give the Marauders a 5-3 lead.
In the second quarter, Crapigna added another field goal, this one from 30 yards, and then the Marauders scored their first touchdown of the game. Quinlan connected with Robert Babic (Oakville) for a 23-yard reception to move McMaster ahead 15-3.
The Rouge et Or responded on their next position with a 42-yard Bede field goal. He also connected on his third field goal of the half, this one from 50 yards out to make it 15-9 for McMaster at half-time.
The Marauders had 14 first downs to Laval’s seven for a combined 242 yards of total offence compared to Laval’s 138 in the opening half.
In the second half, both teams went to their benches. A McMaster penalty for a substitution infraction on a Laval punt extended the Rouge et Or’s first drive of the second half and they subsequently marched down the field. The Laval drive was extended again on a roughing the kicker call on a field goal attempt. Pascal Lochard (Montreal) took the ball on the next play and ran it in for Laval’s first touchdown of the game and first lead of the game, 16-15.
It didn’t take long for the Marauders to respond. On the second play of the ensuing drive Marshall Ferguson (Kingston, Ont.) connected with Matt Kit (Stoney Creek) for a 99-yard touchdown reception. Crapigna’s extra point gave the Marauders the lead again, 22-16.
Ferguson finished 5-of-18 for 141 yards with the one touchdown and an interception in relief of Quinlan.
After a few changes of possession, the Marauders had the ball, but a bad snap resulted in a 20 yard loss deep in their own zone and the Marauders conceded the safety on the next play to end the quarter ahead, 22-18.
Laval regained the lead with 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter concluding a six-play, 33-yard drive with another Lochard run for a touchdown to regain the lead, 25-22. Laval added a rouge at 2:47 to move ahead 26-22 with just under three minutes to play in the game.
The Marauders had the ball on their one yard line with 40 seconds to go in the game, but Brandon Tennant (Lachine, Que.) sacked Ferguson in the end zone for a safety to lock up the 28-22 win for the home side.
Tristan Grenon (Quebec City) was 11-of-20 for 92 yards at quarterback for Laval. Maxime Boutin (Quebec City, Que.) was the top rusher with 77 yards on 13 carries.
McMaster will open Ontartio University Athletics play at home on Monday, Sept. 3 against the Guelph Gryphons at Ron Joyce Stadium. Kick is at 1 p.m.