MONTREAL – We could have expected a sparkling performance from defender Jonathan Sénécal at the Dunsmore Cup, but Kaylyn St-Cyr responded.
An interception returned by St-Cyr for a touchdown made the difference and the University of Montreal Carabins defeated the Rouge et Or of Laval University 12-6 on Saturday at CEPSUM.
St-Cyr set the tone with a 59-yard punt return for the only major score of the game in the first quarter. He and his defensive teammates then kept the momentum going to help the Carabins lift the Dunsmore Cup for the fifth time in their history and third time in their last four appearances in the Quebec finals.
“I visualized it like that and it happened. We always hope to see it, but to be able to do it is another experience, St-Cyr said after the game. The positioning of the handset was tighter and I knew it was going to go out. I saw my chance and I wasn’t going to miss it. »
Man of the match, St-Cyr managed another steal later in the game, at the expense of François Giguère-Lacasse. He was one of the leaders of the defense that made four interceptions against Rouge et Or on Saturday.
The Carabins were able to avenge their heartbreaking defeat suffered last year, at Laval University’s Telus Stadium. They lost by one game in the last game.
Marco Iadeluca’s team will represent Quebec at the Uteck Cup for the second time in three years. They will welcome the Western University Mustangs at CEPSUM, who defeated the Wilfried-Laurier University Golden Hawks 29-14 earlier Saturday.
Montreal’s defense also forced the Rouge et Or to concede a safety touchdown in the first half. Without this brilliance, perhaps his opponents would have returned to Quebec with the precious trophy in hand.
“This is 100% the reason for our victory. Our defense worked hard all year and played the best game of the season. We want to play defensive football when we’re in the playoffs and I think we’re peaking at the right time,” noted Iadeluca.
The Rouge et Or defense had nothing to envy the Carabins defense. She limited Sénécal, last season’s MVP, to 175 passing yards and 29 rushing yards.
However, despite some good moments, the offense wasn’t up to par and didn’t make enough big plays to allow its key players to put points on the board.
“We talked about managing adversity and after the defensive touchdown we got back on track. There was a missed opportunity near the end and that might have been the turning point. We see it in a game like that, it was a defensive touchdown that made the difference. When you have opportunities like that, you have to take your chance,” insisted Rouge et Ora head coach Glen Constantin.
Rouge et Or quarterback Arnaud Desjardins completed 17 of his 33 attempts through the air for a gain of 149 yards. He was the victim of three interceptions.
Desjardins was injured in the third quarter, but returned to the game on the next offensive sequence. Offensive coordinator Justin Éthier also defended his quarterback after the game.
“Arnaud was 100%. He tried his best and gave it his all, but it didn’t work out today. I am very proud of him. If I had to do it over again, I would name the games the same way. Hats off to the Carabins, it was a great battle,” said Éthier.
A typical defensive duel
Fans expected a constant defensive battle between these two rivals from Quebec and they were not wrong. Especially in the first quarter.
During the third offensive sequence of the game, William Legault caught a pass from Sénécal but dropped the ball. Charles-Alexandre Jacques recovered it to restore possession to the Rouge et Or.
It didn’t take long for the guests. Two plays after this miss, Édouard Doyon intercepted Desjardins’ pass. However, the carbine attack failed to capitalize.
Rouge et Or wanted to start, but this time St-Cyr stepped in to intercept the ball and run into the end zone.
Glen Constantin’s troops erased this reversal with a good offensive sequence. William Tremblay had a significant third-and-yard conversion to keep the offensive streak alive. The latter, however, stopped short of the Montreal end zone, and Vincent Blanchard closed the gap with a 17-yard field goal.
The rest of the half was again characterized by both defenses. That Carabins – aided by a bit of indiscipline – did push the Rouge et Or back to their line by one at the end of the second quarter. The Quebec team decided to allow a safety touchdown that extended the Carabins’ lead to 9-3 at halftime.
Both teams tried to go offensive in the third quarter, but despite quality play and several first downs, the score remained unchanged.
The Carabins could have added three points to their tally when Simon Riopelo’s spectacular catch set the stage for Philippe Boyer’s 26-yard field goal.
Blanchard scored on a 35-yard field goal with just twenty seconds left in the game, but the Rouge et Or couldn’t get hold of the ball during the short snap.