U Sports GOTW RECAP [SUNDAY – STATS] (12): Kick for the ages, Dinos repeat as Hardy Cup champs

Saturday, Nov. 11

Loney Bowl – SMU v. Acadia GAME CANCELLED

Wilfrid Laurier (32), Western (75)

Source: Western Sports Info with files from Laurier Sports Info

LONDON, Ont. – In a rematch a year in the making, the Western Mustangs put up what can only be described as a statement win, defeating the Laurier Golden Hawks 75-32 to win the 110th Yates Cup on Saturday afternoon at TD Stadium.

“I’m so proud of these guys, they really stepped up, they were prepared and they were focused,” said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall. “They had to live a whole year of hearing about Laurier, and you know what for a whole year I don’t have to hear about Laurier.

“Early on there was just some discipline things…we kind of were shooting ourselves in the foot to start the game. But I love the way we played in the second quarter, we took over and asserted ourselves defensively, and offensively? Cedric played a whale of a game, but our offensive line knocked them off the football. You could see after a while it kind of just wore them down.”

The win gives the Mustangs 31 Yates Cup titles, more than any other program in OUA history, and is the team’s first Ontario title since defeating the Queen’s Gaels in 2013. Saturday’s win will send Western on the road to the Uteck Bowl to play the AUS Champion on Saturday, November 18.

Cedric Joseph was named the winner of the Dalt White Trophy as Yates Cup MVP after racking up 250 yards rushing on only 20 carries, with three touchdowns. His three majors give the running back an astounding seven touchdowns over Western’s two playoff games after scoring four times in the Mustangs semifinal win over Guelph.

“Exciting moment for myself. It was probably the most anxious I’ve been in a long time. There’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but you’ve got to rise to the occasion when coach calls your number. The offensive line played their hearts out today and made the job easier for me so I’ve got to give it up to them.”

While the ground game picked up most of the yardage, Chris Merchant quietly put together one of his best games of the season with 220 yards on 13-18 passing with two touchdowns. He was also the Mustangs second leading rusher on the day, with 66 yards coming on nine carries with one major.

Michael Knevel led the Golden Hawks offence, going 25-49 with 432 yards passing, three touchdowns, and one interception. His main offensive outlets were receivers Brendan McCracken and Kurleigh Gittens Jr., who both caught six passes for 152 and 119 yards, respectively.

The Mustangs didn’t wait long to open the scoring on Saturday, capping off their first drive with a 28-yard field goal from Marc Liegghio just under four minutes into the contest.

Western continued to put points on the board on their second drive with Joseph scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run to put Mustangs up 10-0 midway through the first.

After a conceded safety put the Golden Hawks on the board, Laurier picked up their first major of the day on a 27-yard pass to Brentyn Hall to cut the Western lead to 10-9.

That score wouldn’t last for long, as Sananes took back the ensuing kickoff 95-yards to the end zone to give Western an eight-point advantage.

The rapid scoring pace continued as Laurier responded with a 74-yard touchdown pass to Brendan McCracken to set the scoreboard at 17-16 in favour of the Mustangs after one quarter.

Things would quickly unravel for the Hawks from there as the Mustangs continued to run rampant over the purple and gold, as Western posted 26 points in the second quarter, highlighted by touchdowns from Joseph, Harry McMaster and Brett Ellerman.

Determined to send a message after last year’s comeback by the Hawks, Western started off the third quarter by scoring another 11 straight points, including Joseph’s third touchdown of the game to stretch their lead to 38.

Mario Villamizar found the endzone on the last play of the third quarter but it was too little too late for the purple and gold.

The Mustangs would add another pair of majors in the final quarter as they set a Yates Cup record for points scored, breaking the previous record of 65 points set by Windsor in 1975.?

Western’s victory is not only the 31st title in school history, but it’s also the 19th Yates Cup win for coach Marshall, combining his time as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.

“This is right up there with the most satisfying it really was,” said Marshall. “Like I said, for a whole year I don’t have to hear about Laurier. And I think that was a good statement for our coaches and redemption for all of our coaches and all of our players. We wore that one for a year, and rightly so, but great character overcomes it, and this team has great character.”

With the Ontario championship now in the books, the Mustangs will turn their attention to the national semifinal where they’ll take on the AUS champion in the Uteck Bowl.

“My message to our players is that yes, this is a big win for us, but we didn’t start this season just trying to win the Yates Cup. We talked about that in order to win the national championship we’ve got to beat Guelph, we’ve got to beat Laurier, and we have another big football game. I think our kids see a bigger picture than this. We’re going to enjoy tonight, but we’re going to temper it and get back here early tomorrow getting ready to play.”



Montreal (22), Laval (25)

With files from: Laval Rouge et Or

Université Laval, November 11, 2017 – The Rouge et Or football team won the 14th Dunsmore Cup in its history on Saturday at the TELUS-Laval University Stadium, with the Montreal Carabins by 25-22 in front of 13,345 spectators.

Laval, 22-8 in the second quarter, resisted a late push by the Carabins to earn their ticket to the Mitchell Cup, Canadian semi-final next Saturday in Calgary against the Dinos. A 34-yard field goal kick from David Côté will have made the difference.

This Cote kick put Laval in front by 25-14. A touchdown by Kevin Kaya with 47 seconds to play and a punt kicked up by Montreal, however, made matters worse. The late comeback did not surprise the head coach of the Rouge et Or Glen Constantin. “No way. It’s a very good team, well led, with a lot of character. Despite the gap at some point in the game, we knew it would play until the end, “commented Constantine.

According to him, his defense has once again had a say in this other success. “We have a good front, including two line players among the Quebec stars, who put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which allowed the tertiary to tighten its covers,” said the coach.

Among this defensive unit, a certain Mathieu Betts, RSEQ lineman of the year for the last two seasons. The defensive end has been illustrated once again by being named player par excellence of the meeting.

“It’s cliché, but it’s the kind of final we had to expect. The credit is theirs, they showed a lot of character to return to the game. We managed to find a way to win, and that’s the most important, “said number 9.

He found himself at the heart of the action at the end of the meeting, while the Carabins were trying to approach to try an investment that would have tied it up. But Betts says there was no big talk needed to motivate the troops before jumping one last time on the TELUS-UL Stadium in 2017. “We did not say anything. We were all on the same wavelength. Everyone was aware of the issue. ”

The Rouge et Or benefited from a good field position in their second offensive series to score the first points of the match. After some gains from Vincent Alarie-Tardif and Jonathan Breton-Robert, Hugo Richard sent a floating ball to the left in the direction of Marc-Antoine Pivin who was catching the pass in the end zone. A 26-yard game that was 7-0 for the locals.

The Carabins’ defense was at the origin of their first major. The ball was torn from the hands of Alarie-Tardif and was picked up by Brian Harelimana, who was spinning into the pay zone. Halfway through the first quarter, it was 7-7, then 8-7 Montreal after the single hit on the punt.

A 29-yard throw from David Côté restored Red’s lead before the end of the first quarter. Then, a safety touch granted by Montreal made 12-8 Laval at the start of the second quarter.

In the following sequence, Richard spotted once again Pivin for a big 45-yard gain. Three snaps later, the Laval pivot played a relay to Benoit Gagnon-Brousseau who crossed the goal line. It was 19-8 Laval.

Another 37-yard pitch from Côté was 22-8. The Blues also replied with a kick, on 16 yards that one, to make 22-11 at the half.

Montreal closed the gap at the end of the third quarter on a 44-yard long Louis-Philippe Simoneau placement. A 34-yard kick from Côté allowed the locals to regain 11 points with 1:38 remaining

But the Carabins were not dead. They crossed 58 yards in 42 seconds for the touchdown, converted by two points. It was then 25-22.

On the kickoff, a short kick allowed the Blues to return to their line of 54. Montreal advanced, but penalties for restraining pushed them out of the Red Zone. A desperate pass at the end of the match, dismissed by Laval, confirmed the victory for Laval.



British Columbia (43), Calgary (44)

Source: Justin Mackenzie; Dinos Communications

CALGARY – They say no lead is safe in Canadian football.

Going into the fourth quarter, the University of Calgary Dinos led the UBC Thunderbirds 28-21 in the 81st Hardy Cup on Saturday at McMahon Stadium – and that lead switched hands four times in the final frame.

The Dinos started the fourth with a deep drive in Thunderbirds territory but were limited to a 16-yard field goal from second year kicker Niko Difonte to put Calgary up by 10.
UBC quarterback Michael O’Connor and the rest of the Thunderbirds however responded on their following drive with O’Connor connecting with receiver Marshall Cook to cap off a 75-yard touchdown drive.

With UBC now only down by three points the momentum of the game seemingly shifted in favour of the Thunderbirds. A Calgary drive was brought to an abrupt halt when UBC intercepted the football at the Dinos 22-yard line. Ben Cummings made quick work of the Dinos defence needing only two plays to find the end zone and give the Thunderbirds a 35-31 lead.

The same fate would come later on but this time in favour of the Dinos. An O’Connor pass was deflected to Calgary’s Treshaun Abrahams-Webster to dagger the Thunderbird’s growing momentum. The Dino’s offence took to the field and after an unfortunate drop earlier in the game Hunter Karl was able to haul in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Adam Sinagra. Difonte would add another field goal with just under two minutes left in the game to increase the Dinos lead to six.

After a deep kickoff, UBC started their final drive of the game on their 18-yard line. O’Connor, along with Cummings and Alex Morrison marched their way down the field converting two third down attempts in the process. The heartbreaking moment for the home Dino’s crowd would come with 16 seconds left when O’Connor found Morrison for a 6 yard touchdown for an incredible 92-yard, one and a half minute drive to what looked be good enough to win them a Hardy Cup unless the Dino’s could pull off a miracle.

With 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter the Dinos would start what could be final drive of their 2017 season. They lined up at their own 35-yard line. Under heavy pressure, Sinagra finds Tyler Ledwos wide open for an 18-yard leaping catch to bring the line of scrimmage up to now Calgary’s own 53-yard line. They needed another big play similar to last to put them in good field position so second year kicker Niko Difonte could kick a a field goal which would give the Dinos the Hardy Cup for the second straight time. Robert Stewart was found for a short five yards to bring Difonte on for a 59-yard field goal which has never been done in Canadian University sports history.

The final snap of the game was made with no time left on the clock. Hunter Karl lines up the ball for Difonte as he sailed the incredible record 59-yard field goal through the uprights to not only win the Canada West Championship, but also to cap off what could go down as one of the greatest Canadian university football games of all time with over 1,000 yards of total offence.

Now, it’s a Vanier Cup rematch as the Dinos host the Laval Rouge et Or in the U SPORTS Mitchell Bowl next Saturday at McMahon. The winner advances to the Vanier Cup Nov. 25 in Hamilton.



Source: U Sports (box scores)



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