RSEQ MVP Kevin Mital grabs three touchdowns as Rouge et Or escapes with 25-24 win
It’s the pinnacle of university football in Quebec.
For the ninth consecutive season, the Montréal Carabins and the Laval Rouge et Or took each other on in the Dunsmore Cup for the right to be the best in Quebec and, this year, the right to move on to play Western in the Mitchell Bowl.
In the previous eight-year run, the sides had split the trophy winning four years each, with Laval in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018, while Montréal won in 2014, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The ninth battle between the two best sides in Quebec was tight, but after falling in 2019 and 2021, the Laval Rouge et Or finally found themselves back on top with a 25-24 win over the Carabins.
The afternoon started slowly with just a rouge on each side and safety, making the game 3-1 for Laval ten minutes into the first. Finally, though, Arnaud Desjardins found RSEQ MVP Kevin Mital for the 10-yard pass and the touchdown to make it 10-1 for the Rouge et Or with 4:30 to go in the first. A Phillppe Boyer field goal at the end of the quarter brought it to 10-4 after one.
In the second, Montréal started turning it on as Jonathan Sénécal found Hassane Dosso with an 8-yard touchdown to make it 11-10 for the Carabins, which held until halftime. Sénécal ended the game through 22-42 for 323 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Another Philippe Boyer field goal made it 14-10 for Montréal halfway through the third, but Arnaud Desjardins found Mital again, this time for a 50-yard touchdown connection to make it 17-14 for Laval with 5:51 to go.
It looked like the Rouge et Or were headed into the fourth ahead until Julien Le Guéhennec took a blocked punt back 24-yards for the Montréal touchdown right as time ran out in the third for the 21-17 lead.
In the fourth, it looked like Montréal might sneak out the win before Arnaud Desjardin and Kevin Mital pivotally connected one final time, this time for an 11-yard touchdown which gave the Rouge et Or the 24-21 lead with 3:06 to go.
It was an up-and-down performance for Desjardin, who threw for 214 yards on 18-29, with three touchdown passes and a pair of interceptions. Mital’s game was much easier to grade as he led all receivers with 116 yards and a trio of touchdowns for the Rouge et Or.
Montréal refused to concede, as Boyer hit again with forty seconds to play to tie the game at 24-24.
In almost too perfect of a fashion, though, a last-second field goal attempt for Laval didn’t go through, but they forced Montréal into the rouge for the game-winning point to win 25-24.
With the win, the Rouge et Or advance to play the Western Mustangs in the Mitchell Bowl. The Rouge et Or last played the Mustangs in the 2018 Vanier Cup, which they won 34-20.