The Marauders make their second straight Vanier appearance to face the No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or in a rematch of last year`s Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship, won by McMaster in overtime, 41-38, in Vancouver. Earlier Saturday, Laval dumped No. 9 Acadia, 42-7, for its third consecutive trip to the final.
The win also extends McMaster`s CIS record consecutive win streak to 21 games before a crowd of 5,442.
Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee), who was named the game’s most valuable player, was involved in 36 of the Marauders 45 points tossing three touchdowns and rushing for another three on the ground. He finished with 412-yards passing on 25 of 35 attempts. The fifth-year senior also rushed for an additional 50 yards on 11 carries.
“The bigger the game the better he plays and that’s for his entire career. That’s not just once or twice.” said McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek about his Hec Crighton nominee quarterback. “He comes up big on the biggest stage.”
McMaster`s defence stymied Calgary`s offence, which was ranked No. 1 in almost every offensive category heading into the Churchill Cup game, posting just 200 total yards and only six points. Dinos running back Steve Lumbala of Calgary finished with just 39 yards on 14 carries while Canada West MVP Eric Dzwilewski of Boise, Idaho, threw for just 114 yards making 10 completions on 21 attempts.
CIS regular season sack leader Ben D’Aguilar (Hamilton) racked up three of the five sacks surrendered by Calgary while Aram Eisho of Hamilton tallied a game high 10 solo tackles. Defensive back Steve Ventresca (Hamilton) also posted nine tackles and two pass breakups. Joey Cupido (Hamilton) was the lone Marauder to intercept Dzwilewski, returning it 49 yards late in the fourth quarter.
Quinlan was proud of what the Marauders could do on the defensive side of the ball.
“It was wild,” said Quinlan. “There was a sense it might be a shootout if we do our job and two high scoring offences going head to head. Our defence shut that up pretty quickly.”
“Those kids were on the bit all day, we gave up things horizontally and nothing vertical” said Ptaszek on the Marauders defensive play. “[Calgary] were out of sorts all day. That’s a tribute to the game plan and the kids playing their hearts out.”
Rob Babic (Oakville) was the game’s top receiver and favorite Quinlan target making 10 receptions for 156 yard and converting one touchdown in the win for the Marauders.
McMaster scored 37 unanswered points, starting midway through the second quarter, to push the Marauders into the Vanier Cup appearance.
In the end, Calgary came undone in the second quarter committing eight penalties for a loss of 66 yards helping McMaster post 17 points in that quarter on route to the win. In total, the Dinos were called for 17 penalties which cost them 127 yards.
“We spoke about penalties all year and it came back to bite us today,” said Calgary head coach Blake Nil. “Our defence came out strong but got worn out and the offence just couldn’t get it started today.”
Quinlan’s first rushing touchdown came after two crucial penalties by Calgary as time expired in the opening frame making the score 7-3 at the time.
McMaster blew the game open late in the second quarter after scoring 14 points twice within 58 seconds. Quinlan punched in a one-yard run on the first score then found Brad Fochesato (Windsor) to make the score 24-4 heading into the half. The Marauders would go on to punch in 21 more points in the second half while Calgary would must just a safety with a 1:17 left to close the game’s scoring at 45-6.
NOTES: McMaster Athletics and Recreation has secured a special Vanier Cup ticket price for McMaster supporters only. The special price for Vanier Cup tickets is $40.00 at the McMaster business office in the David Braley Athletic Centre beginning on Sunday. The office opens at noon. This special is available only in person, no phone nor internet sales.