COURTESY of John Edwards, for CIS / Photo credit Yan Doublet
QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – A fourth-quarter touchdown by Pascal Lochard led the Laval Rouge et Or to a 25-14 win over the Calgary Dinos at the TELUS Vanier Cup final at TELUS-Université Laval, Saturday afternoon. The fourth-year running back from Montreal carried the ball 25 times for 186 yards as Laval scored 13 unanswered points to complete the come-from-behind win and claim the Vanier Cup trophy for a record eighth time, two more than Western.
Lochard, who was forced to miss last year’s game due to an injury and couldn’t finish the Uteck Bowl last week against Mount Allison, keyed a Laval rushing attack amassed 449 yards and wore down the Calgary defence. He was named the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy winner as the game’s most valuable player.
Laval had established the previous Vanier Cup standard a year ago with 373 in a 37-14 triumph over McMaster in Toronto.
Vincent Desloges, a fourth-year defensive lineman from St.-Augustin-des-Desmaurres, Que., won the Bruce Coulter Award as the game’s most outstanding defensive player. He had a pair of sacks, giving him a total of eight in four playoff games, after leading the RSEQ with 8.5 in the regular season.
“The Dinos played inspired football all year. You could tell nothing short of number one would be good enough for them, they’re such a proud program,” said Laval bench boss Glen Constantin, the most decorated head coach in CIS football history with seven Vanier Cup triumphs, three more than any other coach. “We’re a very proud program too though, especially in our home stadium. Our fans are amazing. It’s the best in the country, period!”
18,543 fans attended the game in Quebec City and witnessed the Rouge et Or win their CIS-record 65th straight home game, dating back to a 14-13 loss to Montreal on Sept. 19, 2004. The crowd marks the fifth time in the past seven years that the Vanier Cup has drawn over 18,000 fans.
“What you saw today was a young team that struggled to compete on both lines,” said Dino head coach Blake Nill. “That was the difference in the game.”
The Rouge et Or led 6-0 at halftime, off a single and a field goal from fourth-year kicker Boris Bede as well as a safety touch. While Laval outgained Calgary 245-66 in the first half, they were unable to convert those yards into points, as the Calgary defence kept Laval out of the red zone.
The Dinos scored a pair of touchdowns, on a six-yard run by Jake Harty and a six-yard pass from Andrey Buckley to Chris Dobko, to take a 14-12 lead with 1:17 left in the third quarter. However, a Bede field goal – his third of the period – restored the Laval lead at 15-14 on the last play of the third quarter.
With 5:48 left in the game, Lochard found the end zone from eight yards out, completing an eight-play, 89-yard scoring drive for the Rouge et Or and giving the hosts an eight-point lead. Bede hit a final field goal, his fifth of the afternoon, to tie the Vanier Cup record, and put the contest out of reach.
Laval outgained Calgary 528-335, and made 34 first downs to Calgary’s 19. The Rouge et Or’s 26 rushing first downs set a Vanier Cup record, surpassing Western’s 22 in the 1994 game.
Maxime Boutin, last year’s Vanier Cup MVP, carried the ball 20 times for 190 yards.
Quarterback Alex Skinner of Ottawa, in his first season as the starter, completed eight of 21 passes for 93 yards, while receiver Félix Lechasseur threw the game’s only interception on a trick play. Guillaume Rioux led the Rouge et Or receivers with five catches for 61 yards.
For Calgary, Andrew Buckley completed 19 of 29 passes for 247 yards, while Harty finished with nine catches for 112 yards. Dobko had six receptions for 35 yards and his score. Buckley was also the pick of the Dinos rushers, with eight carries for 82 yards. Mercer Timmis was held to just 33 yards on ten carries.
“I told the guys I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Nill. “We're the second-youngest team in the country. Before the season, many didn't even see us in the playoffs.
Defensively, Calgary was led by third-year linebacker Doctor Cassama. The Swede finished with 10.5 tackles, including a sack, and also recovered a fumble. Linebacker Tanner Doll of St. Albert recorded a game-high 12.5 tackles.
In addition to Desloges’ pair of sacks, Laval was led defensively by Michael Langlois, who made 4.5 tackles, including a sack, and forced a pair of fumbles. Laval sacked Buckley four times and also blocked a punt in the third quarter.
With the win, Laval finishes the season with a perfect 12-0 record (8-0 RSEQ), while Calgary drops to 11-1 overall (8-0 Canada West).
NOTES: The Rouge et Or were the first team in history to play in four straight Vanier Cups... Laval is now 8-1 in Vanier Cups, while Calgary drops to 4-5, with its last triumph dating back to 1995... The Rouge et Or was repeating as Vanier Cup champions for the second time in program history, after back-to-back victories in 2003 and 2004... Laval leads the all-time series 4-0, including the 2010 Vanier Cup at TELUS-UL Stadium... Calgary has played three Vanier Cups in Quebec City, losing all three, and has now seen its season end at TELUS-UL Stadium four times in the past six years... Laval led Calgary in time of possession 35:41 to 24:19... Calgary committed seven penalties for 75 yards, while Laval had nine for 91.
LAV 1-5-9-10: 25
CGY 0-0-14-0: 14
LAV – Rouge Boris Bede 30 3:03 (LAV 1-0)
LAV – FG Boris Bede 19 7:56 (LAV 4-0)
LAV – Safety Touch (conceded by Johnny Mark) 12:42 (LAV 6-0)
LAV - FG Boris Bede 10 4:16 (LAV 9-0)
CGY – TD Jake Harty 6 run (Johnny Mark kick) 7:59 (LAV 9-7)
LAV – FG Boris Bede 16 11:39 (LAV 12-7)
CGY – TD Chris Dobko 6 pass Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark kick) 11:39 (CGY 14-12)
LAV – FG Boris Bede 36 15:00 (LAV 15-14)
LAV – TD Pascal Lochard 8 run (Boris Bede kick) 9:12 (LAV 22-14)
LAV - FG Boris Bede 12 14:03 (LAV 25-14)
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