TORONTO,ON – Week 3 of the U SPORTS season saw the RSEQ taking centre stage for the final time as the only conference in its regular season (the OUA and AUS begin their paths to the Vanier next weekend).
The Concordia Stingers and Montreal Carabins commenced the festivities Friday night, with Concordia coming in 0-1 following a lopsided loss to Laval in their season opener. Montreal, meanwhile, had a bye in Week 2 after making relatively easy work of the Sherbrooke Vert et Or the week prior. Then the following day, it was the 2-0 Laval Rouge et Or hosting Sherbrooke, who had an inverse 0-2 record coming in with losses to the aforementioned Montreal Carabins, and the McGill Redbirds.
On paper, Week 3 featured a pair of matchups where – if history was any indication – the results were all but predetermined. Concordia hadn’t beaten Montreal since 2010, while Laval had never lost to Sherbrooke in 32 all-time showdowns prior to Saturday.
Judging by those numbers, we may not know how, but we definitely know what, right?
CONCORDIA 31 | MONTREAL 28
This one started out as expected for the home side. After a missed field goal rouge, Jonathan Sénécal tossed an absolute dime to a wide open Hassane Dosso for a 43-yard touchdown to make it 8-0 Montreal. And the Carabins weren’t done. Still in the first, Sénécal threw his second touchdown pass of the opening quarter, this one of the much shorter variety. He escaped pressure to his right and found 4th-year receiver Tristan Fiske-Casault for a four-yard score. That extended the lead to 15-0; it was 17-0 after one.
In the 2nd, it was all visitors. Early in the frame, QB Olivier Roy tossed his first career U SPORTS touchdown to Jaylen Greaves on another seed of a throw. It was also Greaves’ fist career TD grab, to get the Stingers on the board, 17-7. Then in the latter stages of the half, the Stingers had a drive stall out at the Montreal 10, forcing them to settle for a 17-yard chip shot from kicker Andrew Stevens to make it 17-10 Carabins at the break.
Midway through the third, it was the Carabins special teams’ time to shine. Montreal punted the ball away from the midfield stripe, but the punt was muffed by the Stingers returner. This allowed freshman Nicky Farinaccio to scoop and score from 14 yards out to restore a two-score lead for Montreal at 24-10.
Concordia, however, would sting back quickly. Roy found Jeremy Murphy in the end zone for his second touchdown through the air, cutting the Carabins lead back to 7 at 24-17 through three quarters. Then in the 4th, after a Carabins field goal and a single point expanded the lead to 28-17, the Stingers edged closer. It was the Roy-Murphy connection for a second time on the night, trimming the lead to four and showing the Carabins this Concordia team was not going away.
Go away they did not. With less than three minutes to go and the Stingers driving once again, Roy continued his excellent night throwing the football, delivering a rocket of a pass into the mitts of Vince Alessandrini. Roy’s fourth touchdown of the ball game put Concordia in front 31-28 with 2:13 to go. Montreal had plenty of time to engineer a game-tying, or even game-winning, drive, but they could not get it done.
The Concordia Stingers beat the Montreal Carabins 31-28, their first win over the powerhouse Carabins since 2010, and their first win of the year. The bees even their record at 1-1, and will face their anglophone rivals, the McGill Redbirds, in the annual Shaughnessy Cup at Percival Molson Stadium on Friday night. With the loss, the Carabins fall into a tie with the stingers at 1-1 ahead of their matchup with their longtime nemesis, the Laval Rouge et Or, on Saturday.
LAVAL 17 | SHERBROOKE 23
On Saturday, the undefeated Laval Rouge et Or travelled to Sherbrooke to square off with the winless Sherbrooke Vert et Or. After the dramatics from the previous night, there couldn’t possibly be another monumental upset brewing in The Estrie, could there?
This game didn’t quite feature the fireworks of Friday night. Laval led the game 2-0 after one quarter on a conceded safety and extended that edge to 5-0 early in the second on a 13-yard field goal from Émile Malenfant, making his second straight start in place of Vincent Blanchard. The rest of the 2nd quarter was dominated by Sherbrooke. On the ensuing drive, Anthony Robichaud hooked up with Emilio Jaimes Leclair for a 47-yard catch-and run. That big play set up the first major of the game, a 4-yard run from Jimmy Larose-Joubert made it 7-5 Vert et Or.
Then, less than three minutes after that, it was the Sherbrooke defence coming up big. Laval quarterback Thomas Bolduc had a pass picked off by Pier-Olivier Cadoret, who returned it 67 yards for a touchdown, the first defensive score of the year for Sherbrooke. The extra point from Louis Tardif made it 14-5. Tardif would then add six more on his own, nailing field goals from 43 and then 48 yards out (a new team record). Laval would cut into the deficit slightly before half, thanks to a missed field goal rouge and a 23-yarder from Malenfant, but it was the underdog Vert et Or heading to the locker room with a 20-9 lead in another shocker.
The Rouge et Or would inch a little closer near the midway mark of the 3rd quarter on another chip shot from Malenfant – this one from 27 out – to shrink the Sherbrooke lead down to a one-score advantage, 20-12. Sherbrooke got those points back in the final two minutes of the third, on a 32-yarder from Tardif. The teams traded field goals in the 3rd, and Sherbrooke maintained its 11-point lead heading into the final 15 minutes.
Laval would do the only scoring in the 4th, but it wasn’t enough. Malenfant made his fourth field goal of the day in five attempts just over a minute into the frame, making it an 8-point game once again at 23-15. Then, after already making a 3rd down stop on 3rd and 3 with just over two minutes remaining, the Sherbrooke defence would seal it. In the final minute with the Rouge et Or driving, Bolduc had a pass picked off Tommy Roadley-Trohatos. That huge play gave the Vert et Or the ball back for good and solidified the second massive upset of the weekend in the RSEQ, and earned the Green and Gold their first win in program history over Laval in 33 games
Sherbrooke will have time to savour this win, as they will enjoy a bye in Week 4. Laval, on the other hand, will look to bounce back against their bitter rivals from Montreal
RSEQ STANDINGS – THROUGH WEEK 3
- LAVAL (2-1)
- MONTREAL (1-1)
- CONCORDIA (1-1)
- McGILL (1-1)
- SHERBROOKE (1-2)
We also saw our first non-RSEQ games of the season in the AUS and Canada West action this past weekend. Out east, there were a pair of exhibition games on Friday evening. the St. FX X-Men earned a 23-14 win over the Acadia Axemen, while the St. Mary’s Huskies cruised to a convincing 26-6 victory over the Mount Allison Mounties. The AUS regular season begins Friday, September 17, with St. Mary’s hosting St. FX; then on Saturday, the Mounties host the Axemen in Sackville.
In Can West, there was a lone preseason tilt on Sunday evening. It pitted the Regina Rams against the Alberta Golden Bears and was played in Medicine Hat. The Rams got the victory, 34-25. Canada West athletes will have to wait a little longer to begin their campaigns, with the season slated to kick off on September 25.
The OUA season will begin on September 18 with a full five-game slate.