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November 19, 2012

48th Vanier Cup: A head-to-head look

TORONTO (CIS) – It is the rematch that many CIS football fans had been hoping for. Three hundred and sixty four days after what was arguably the “best game ever”, the Laval Rouge et Or and McMaster Marauders will meet again in the Vanier Cup.

The top two teams in the country, second-ranked Laval (11-1) and No. 1 McMaster (11-0), will square off in the 48th CIS championship on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern) at Rogers Centre in Toronto, live on TSN and RDS. Pre-game coverage on TSN starts at 7 p.m.

As a prelude to the big showdown, on Thursday evening at 7:30, TSN will also air a documentary entitled “Best Game... Ever: The 47th Vanier Cup”, which takes a look back at the memorable 2011 CIS final.

A year ago, the Marauders captured the first national title in program history thanks to a thrilling 41-38 overtime win against Laval at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. After building what seemed to be an insurmountable 23-0 halftime lead, McMaster watched in horror as the Rouge et Or stormed all the way back to take a 24-23 advantage early in the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 31-31, Mac had a chance to win it on the last play in regulation time but a missed field-goal attempt by all-Canadian kicker Tyler Crapigna sent the affair to a rare fifth period. After both teams exchanged touchdowns on their first possessions of the shootout session, Crapigna earned a second shot at history and this time made good on a 20-yard FG attempt.

The Marauders and Rouge et Or both secured their tickets for Friday’s much-anticipated rematch in convincing fashion. The OUA champions rolled over Calgary 45-6 at the Mitchell Bowl in Hamilton, while the RSEQ titlists dominated Acadia 42-7 in the Uteck Bowl at Quebec City.

“To go 44 years without one and then to make it in back-to-back years is kind of a strange feeling, but we are very excited,” said McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek, referring to the four-plus decades between the Marauders’ first Vanier Cup appearance in 1967 and last year’s historic run.

“We don’t want to talk about revenge. The 2011 game is behind us,” said Laval’s Glen Constantin, the only coach in history to claim five Vanier Cups as a bench boss. “It will be an emotional game, no doubt, but we need to focus on the objective, which is to win the Vanier Cup.”

More history will be written on Friday, no matter the outcome.

The Rouge et Or are looking for a record-breaking seventh title in their eighth Vanier Cup appearance. They are currently tied with Western, which needed 12 tries to claim six banners. Laval will also become only the third team to play in three straight national finals after Saint Mary’s (2001-2003) and Saskatchewan (2004-2006).

The Marauders enter the contest riding a CIS-record 21-game overall winning streak dating back to Week 3 of the 2011 schedule. They are looking to become only the fifth club to repeat as Vanier Cup champion after Manitoba (1969-1970), Western (1976-1977), Saint Mary’s (2001-2002) and Laval (2003-2004). They also hope to become the 14th team to finish the season with an unblemished mark, and the first since Laval (13-0) in 2010.

Finally, the duel will mark only the second rematch in the 48-year history of the classic. Western defeated Acadia in the 1976 and 1977 title games.

To say both sides are on a roll heading into the championship match would be a major understatement.

After crushing Laurier 43-0 in its regular season finale back on Oct. 20, McMaster outscored Western 42-28 in the OUA semis and Guelph 30-13 in the Yates Cup before taking care of the Dinos in the Mitchell Bowl.

Following a spectacular season that earned him the OUA nomination for the Hec Crighton Trophy, fifth-year quarterback Kyle Quinlan is averaging 334 passing yards per game in the playoffs and was at his best last Saturday when he passed for 412 yards and three touchdowns to go along with another three TDs on the ground en route to Mitchell Bowl player-of-the-game honours. Of course, post-season accolades are nothing new to the South Woodslee, Ont., native, who a year ago hit the trifecta when he was named MVP of the Yates Cup, Uteck Bowl and Vanier Cup games.

For their part, Laval has scored 40 points or more in each of their three playoff contests, including 46-9 over McGill in the RSEQ semis, 40-17 against Sherbrooke in the Dunsmore Cup and the 42-7 Uteck Bowl victory over Acadia.

While McMaster has relied heavily on their passing attack, the reigning 10-time Quebec champions have been pounding the ball down their opponents’ throats in the post-season, averaging 297 yards on the ground per contest. With their top two running backs – Pascal Lochard and Guillaume Bourassa – both out with injuries against Acadia, sophomore Maxime Boutin earned the start and ran with it, racking up a career-high 213 yards on 25 carries on his was to Game MVP honours.

“Maxime is a very good running back; he could start for a lot of teams. But you have to give credit to our offensive line. Even I could have run for 10 yards today,” Constantin joked after the Uteck Bowl.

While their offensive units clicked on all cylinders last Saturday, both teams can also win with defence on any given night.

Led by linebacker Aram Eisho, the OUA nominee for the Presidents’ Trophy, and defensive end Ben D’Aguilar, the conference finalist for the J.P. Metras Trophy as outstanding down lineman, the Marauders completely shut down Calgary’s nationally top-ranked offence in the Mitchell Bowl. During the regular season, McMaster led the OUA in fewest points (15.6), total yards (340.2) and rushing yards (104.6) allowed per game.

The Rouge et Or held AUS player of the year Kyle Graves to just nine completions and 130 yards passing on Saturday while running back Thomas Troop, the MVP of the AUS final, was limited to 15 yards on 13 carries. Led by linebacker Frédéric Plesius, the RSEQ finalist for the Presidents’ Trophy, and defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, the only two-time J.P. Metras Trophy winner in CIS history, Laval had the top rushing defence in the country in league play (57.8) and finished second in the nation in points against (12.7).

As was the case a year ago, McMaster and Laval kicked off their 2012 schedule with a head-to-head pre-season tilt in Quebec City. After winning 24-10 in 2011, the Rouge et Or prevailed once again this fall, winning 28-22 on Aug. 26.

“Given that we have played them twice in pre-season and in last year’s Vanier Cup, we have faced Laval more often than most of our OUA opponents,” said Ptaszek. “Having three films of facing each other head-to-head, it’s an opponent we know because we’ve competed against each other so often. Both coaching staffs will have their teams well prepared and I think the game will come down to players making plays.

“You need your seniors to play their best game to get to the Vanier Cup. The Calgary game was the best game so far for players like Quinlan, Medeiros, Babic, Ferreira, Beaton, Bhangoo, and Fochesato. Those fifth-year seniors will lead the way for us,” added the OUA coach of the year. “We have the utmost respect for the whole Laval organization and it should be a classic football game.”

Constantin also has nothing but respect for his upcoming opponent.

“They’re obviously a very good football team, very well coached. They have mature student-athletes and their team is pretty much the same as last year’s,” said the RSEQ nominee for the Frank Tindall Trophy. “They excel in all three aspects of the game and there’s no doubt they represent our greatest challenge of the season, especially in the context of a championship match. I expect a great game Friday night.”

48th VANIER CUP: A LOOK AT THE CONTENDERS

When: Friday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto
Who: No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or (visitor) vs. No. 1 McMaster Marauders (local)
TV: TSN & RDS

LAVAL UNIVERSITY ROUGE ET OR (RSEQ & Uteck Bowl champions)

2012 season summary
Overall record: 11-1
Regular season record: 8-1
Regular season standing: 1st
Playoff record: 3-0
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 30): No. 2
Top 10 best ranking: No. 2 (polls 1-2-9-10)
Top 10 lowest ranking: No. 4 (polls 4-5-6)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (10 polls): 10
Regular season offence points (38.7 ppg): 1st RSEQ / 4th CIS
Regular season offence total yards (415.2 ypg): 2nd RSEQ / 12th CIS
Regular season offence passing (213.1 ypg): 6th RSEQ / 20th CIS
Regular season offence rushing (202.1 ypg): 1st RSEQ / 6th CIS
Regular season defence points (12.7 ppg): 2nd RSEQ / 2nd CIS
Regular season defence total yards (298.2 ypg): 2nd RSEQ / 3rd CIS
Regular season defence passing (240.4 ypg): 3rd RSEQ / 13th CIS
Regular season defence rushing (57.8 ypg): 1st RSEQ / 1st CIS

2012 results
Sept. 2 (home): Laval 33, McGill 15
Sept. 8 (away): Laval 28, Bishop’s 22
Sept. 15 (home): Laval 31, Acadia 7
Sept. 21 (away): Laval 69, McGill 0
Sept. 29 (away): Laval 48, Sherbrooke 10
Oct. 7 (home): Laval 30, Montreal 11
Oct. 13 (away): Montreal 23, Laval 20
Oct. 21 (home): Laval 57, Bishop’s 7
Oct. 27 (away): Laval 32, Concordia 19
Nov. 3 (home): Laval 46, McGill 9 (RSEQ semifinal)
Nov. 10 (home): Laval 40, Sherbrooke 17 (RSEQ final)
Nov. 17 (home): Laval 42, Acadia 7 (Uteck Bowl)

2012 RSEQ individual honours
Major awards: Frédéric Plesius (defensive MVP), Glen Constantin (coach)
All-stars offence: Pascal Lochard (RB), Guillaume Rioux (IR), Matthew Norzil (WR), Pierre Lavertu (C), Charles Vaillancourt (G)
All-stars defence: Arnaud Gascon-Nadon (DE), Frédéric Plesius (LB), Mathieu Masseau (LB), Dominique Noël (DB)
All-stars special teams: Boris Bede (K)

All-time head-to-head vs. McMaster
Overall record: 2-1
2011 (neutral): 41-38 OT loss (Vanier Cup)
2003 (away): 36-32 win (Mitchell Bowl)
1999 (away): 49-6 win (regular season - interlock)
Not included in official head-to-head record:
2012 (home): 28-22 win (pre-season)
2011 (home): 24-10 win (pre-season)

Vanier Cup history
All-time record: 6-1

2011 (BC Place Stadium, Vancouver): 41-38 OT loss vs. McMaster
2010 (PEPS Stadium, Quebec City): 29-2 win vs. Calgary
2008 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton): 44-21 win vs. Western
2006 (Griffiths Stadium, Saskatoon): 13-8 win vs. Saskatchewan
2004 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton): 7-1 win vs. Saskatchewan
2003 (SkyDome, Toronto): 14-7 win vs. Saint Mary's
1999 (SkyDome, Toronto): 14-10 win vs. Saint Mary's

Head coach: Glen Constantin
Season: 12th
Career regular season record: 83-16 (.838)
Career playoff record: 32-8 (.800)
Career overall record (season and playoffs): 115-24 (.827)
Career overall record vs. McMaster: 1-1
Vanier Cup record: 5-1
Vanier Cup wins: 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2003
Vanier Cup losses: 2011

McMASTER UNIVERSITY MARAUDERS (OUA & Mitchell Bowl champions)

2012 season summary
Overall record: 11-0
Regular season record: 8-0
Regular season standing: 1st
Playoff record: 3-0
Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 30): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (all 10 polls)
Top 10 lowest ranking: -
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (10 polls): 10
Regular season offence points (45.6 ppg): 1st OUA / 2nd CIS
Regular season offence total yards (582.5 ypg): 1st OUA / 2nd CIS
Regular season offence passing (370.0 ypg): 1st OUA / 2nd CIS
Regular season offence rushing (212.5 ypg): 2nd OUA / 4th CIS
Regular season defence points (15.6 ppg): 1st OUA / 4th CIS
Regular season defence total yards (340.2 ypg): 1st OUA / 6th CIS
Regular season defence passing (235.6 ypg): 4th OUA / 11th CIS
Regular season defence rushing (104.6 ypg): 1st OUA / 5th CIS

2012 results
Sept. 3 (home): McMaster 50, Guelph 9
Sept. 8 (away): McMaster 68, Waterloo 21
Sept. 15 (away): McMaster 45, Ottawa 16
Sept. 22 (home): McMaster 33, Queen’s 20
Sept. 29 (away): McMaster 33, Western 27
Oct. 4 (away): McMaster 54, York 14
Oct. 13 (home): McMaster 39, Windsor 18
Oct. 20 (home): McMaster 43, Laurier 0
Nov. 3 (home): McMaster 42, Western 28 (OUA semifinal)
Nov. 10 (home): McMaster 30, Guelph 13 (OUA final)
Nov. 17 (home): McMaster 45, Calgary 6 (Mitchell Bowl)

2012 OUA individual honours
Major awards: Kyle Quinlan (MVP), Aram Eisho (defensive MVP), Ben D’Aguilar (down lineman), Stefan Ptaszek (coach)
All-stars offence (First Team): Kyle Quinlan (QB), Robert Babic (IR), Elliott Montag (C), Jason Medeiros (G), Matt Sewell (T)
All-stars defence (First team): Ben D’Aguilar (DE), Aram Eisho (LB), Joey Cupido (CB), Mike Daly (S)
All-stars special teams (First Team): Tyler Crapigna (K)
All-stars offence (Second Team): None
All-stars defence (Second Team): Tanvir Bhangoo (T), Nick Shortill (LB)
All-stars special teams (Second Team): Spencer Moore (cover)

All-time head-to-head vs. Laval
Overall record: 1-2
2011 (neutral): 41-38 OT win (Vanier Cup)
2003 (home): 36-32 loss (Mitchell Bowl)
1999 (home): 49-6 loss (regular season - interlock)
Not included in official head-to-head record:
2012 (away): 28-22 loss (pre-season)
2011 (away): 24-10 loss (pre-season)

Vanier Cup history
All-time record: 1-1
2011 (BC Place Stadium, Vancouver): 41-38 OT win vs. Laval
1967 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto): 10-9 loss vs. Alberta

Head coach: Stefan Ptaszek
Season: 7th
Career regular season record: 42-14 (.750)
Career playoff record: 9-5 (.643)
Career overall record (season and playoffs): 51-19 (.729)
Career overall record vs. Laval: 1-0
Vanier Cup record: 1-0
Vanier Cup wins: 2011
Vanier Cup losses: None

ALL-TIME VANIER CUP RESULTS

2011 McMaster 41, Laval 38 OT (BC Place Stadium, Vancouver)
2010 Laval 29, Calgary 2 (TELUS-UL Stadium, Quebec City)
2009 Queen’s 33, Calgary 31 (TELUS-UL Stadium, Quebec City)
2008 Laval 44, Western 21 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)
2007 Manitoba 28, Saint Mary’s14 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
2006 Laval 13, Saskatchewan 8 (Griffiths Stadium, Saskatoon)
2005 Wilfrid Laurier 24, Saskatchewan 23 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)
2004 Laval 7, Saskatchewan 1 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)
2003 Laval 14, Saint Mary’s 7 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
2002 Saint Mary’s 33, Saskatchewan 21 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
2001 Saint Mary’s 42, Manitoba 16 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
2000 Ottawa 42, Regina 39 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1999 Laval 14, Saint Mary’s 10 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1998 Saskatchewan 24, Concordia 17 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1997 UBC 39, Ottawa 23 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1996 Saskatchewan 31, StFX 12 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1995 Calgary 54, Western 24 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1994 Western 50, Saskatchewan 40 OT (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1993 Toronto 37, Calgary 34 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1992 Queen’s 31, Saint Mary’s 0 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1991 Wilfrid Laurier 25, Mount Allison 18 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1990 Saskatchewan 24, Saint Mary’s 21 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1989 Western 35, Saskatchewan 10 (Rogers Centre, Toronto)
1988 Calgary 52, Saint Mary’s 23 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1987 McGill 47, UBC 11 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1986 UBC 25, Western 23 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1985 Calgary 25, Western 6 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1984 Guelph 22, Mount Allison 13 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1983 Calgary 31, Queen’s 21 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1982 UBC 39, Western 14 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1981 Acadia 18, Alberta 12 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1980 Alberta 40, Ottawa 21 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1979 Acadia 34, Western 12 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1978 Queen’s 16, UBC 3 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1977 Western 48, Acadia 15 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1976 Western 29, Acadia 13 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1975 Ottawa 14, Calgary 9 (CNE Stadium, Toronto)
1974 Western 19, Toronto 15 (CNE Stadium, Toronto)
1973 Saint Mary’s 14, McGill 6 (CNE Stadium, Toronto)
1972 Alberta 20, Waterloo Lutheran 7 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1971 Western 15, Alberta 14 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1970 Manitoba 38, Ottawa 11 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1969 Manitoba 24, McGill 15 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1968 Queen’s 42, Waterloo Lutheran 14 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1967 Alberta 10, McMaster 9 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1966 StFX 40, Waterloo Lutheran 14 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)
1965 Toronto 14, Alberta 7 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)

NOTE 1: Rogers Centre formerly known as SkyDome
NOTE 2: Waterloo Lutheran now Wilfrid Laurier

-CIS-

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