QUEBEC CITY - McGill receiver Charles-Antoine Sinotte became the first player in CIS football history to register 200 career catches but it was all in vain as No. 2-ranked Laval spoiled McGill's 130th season opening party with a 50-9 victory before 13,221 at Stade PEPS in Quebec City, Sunday.
Sinotte, a fifth-year senior from Trois-Rivieres, Que., hauled in seven receptions for 50 yards and now sits in atop the CIS record books with 206 catches.
Laval's Sebastien Levesque rushed 20 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns to lead a Rouge et Or offence that generated 573 net yards.
The Redmen were dealt a more serious blow, however, as Jonathan Collin, their sophomore star quarterback, suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the third quarter.
Collin was helped off the field with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter and McGill trailing 27-9. Under intense pressure and trying to avoid being hit after serving up an interception, he collided with Laval lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, a six-foot-three, 250-pound transfer from Rice University, who landed full force on Collin's left knee.
"Definitely not the way we planned to open the season but we did see some good things," said Collin, a six-foot-four, 230-pound native of Greenfield Park, Que., who completed 12 of 23 attempts for 137 yards, one TD and two interceptions. "The knee is nice and swollen right now. Pretty painful but the pain-killers are doing a great job. They aren't sure what exactly it is and I'm still waiting to get news."
"The injury to Collin looks fairly significant but that is from a layman's point of view," said Sonny Wolfe, head coach of the Redmen. "We will have a better idea after he undergoes an MRI, either on Monday or Tuesday."
Laval, which only led 10-2 at halftime, exploded in the second half, outscoring McGill 17-7 in the third quarter and 23-0 in the final stanza. The Redmen committed six turnovers, compared to only two by Laval.
"Although I'm not happy about losing by that score, there were some positives," said Wolfe. "Our punting and kick return teams showed much improvement from the past few years. I was especially pleased by how hard we competed against a great veteran team like Laval. We made a few costly mistakes that led to turnovers and all of a sudden, a close game was out of reach. We played real hard on a physical level but ran out of gas."
Laval pivot Bruno Prud'Homme completed 16 of 24 passes for 196 yards and one TD before giving way to understudy Tristan Grenon in the fourth quarter. Grenon was 8-for-10 for 109 yards and one TD. He also rushed for a major along with one from reserve running back Paschal Lochard. Teammate Julian Feoli-Gudino led all receivers with seven catches for 85 yards and one touchdown. The other Laval TD was caught by Mathieu Bouvette, who snared four balls for 65 yards.
Laval (1-0) plays at Sherbrooke (0-1) next Friday, while McGill (0-1) will host Bishop's (0-1) in the Redmen home-opener at Molson Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 11) at 1 p.m.
REDMEN RAP: Sean Murphy was one of few consistently bright spots for McGill. The first-year running back from Ottawa rushed six times for 33 yards and added six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. His TD came on a 12-yard toss from Collin, one play after Laval's Maxim Ducap-Kamara fumbled a punt return. The loose ball was scooped up by McGill long-snapper Bobby Mikelberg, who had raced all the way from midfield to make the play.
Another stellar performer for the Redmen was newcomer Jeff Thompson, a five-foot-nine, 175-pound return specialist from St. Louis, Missouri, who racked up a game-high 181 all-purpose yards. He posted a single-game school record 144 yards on five kickoff returns, which ranks as the second-highest KOR total in Quebec conference history behind the 168 yards achieved by John Larsen (Queen's) in 1984. Thompson, 23, who also registered 37 more yards on five punt returns, is a first-year marketing student who has transferred to McGill after stints at Simon Fraser University and West Virginia.
The other solid performance for McGill was the punting of Kingston, Ont., native Tomas Silva, a transfer from the Western Ontario Mustangs, who averaged 42.4 yards over 12 punts. The last McGill punter to reach that lofty plateau in regular-season play was 27 games ago, when Robert Eeuwes averaged 40.0 (or more) twice during the 2006 season (Week 1 vs Bishop’s, Week 5 vs Concordia)…
Defensively, McGill senior Julien Lefebvre led all tacklers with seven total tackles... Junior Charles-Evens Peltrop was credited with 6.5 tackles and All-Canadian defensive lineman Ben Thompson had 5.5, including four tackles for loss and a QB sack... The only other Redmen sack went to junior Alex Hutchison, who was also credited with 5.5 tackles.
McGill sports Info