McGill (3-5-0) ran into the wrath of No. 3 ranked Laval (7-1-0) in the final regular season game of the RSEQ season on Saturday at Molson Stadium, losing 57-10.
Laval outmatched and outmuscled McGill in all phases of the game. The Rouge et Or were stunning to watch; their cornerbacks were calm and moved fluidly, picking off McGill’s rookie quarterback Nicolas English twice over the course of the game, and their pass rush was athletic and disciplined. Laval pounded McGill throughout the game on offence, accruing seven touchdowns and over 600 yards, scoring at least 11 points in each quarter.
“They are very talented, they execute on all facets of the game,” Head Coach Ron Hilaire said. “If you are not playing your perfect game against them they will make you pay for it on every down. They are a good team, but we needed to play better.”
One Redmen standout was running back Luis Guimont-Mota, who was always fighting for extra yards and pulled off some big runs, including an incisive 34-yarder. His final stat line was one touchdown and 72 yards on 12 rushes. It was not uncommon to see him take on three Laval defenders at a time.
“[Guimont-Mota] is a hard runner,” Hilaire said. “When you play a physical team like that you have to run the ball hard and that’s exactly what he did.”
Wide receiver Kevin Etienne was also effective, catching the ball on shorter routes and consistently gaining yards after the catch. He had 71 yards on six receptions for the day
Laval’s dual-threat quarterback Hugo Richard, however, dominated the home team—he had two touchdowns in the air and on the ground respectively and completed an incredible 84 per cent of his passes. McGill tackled poorly and struggled to build up defensive momentum. In the third quarter, Redmen defensive end Devon Stewart sacked Richard for a nine-yard loss at the McGill 42 yard line, only to see Richard rush 10 yards on the next down to put Laval back in field goal range. Laval missed the ensuing kick, but the play was emblematic of McGill’s struggles on defense.
“The reality is, we took some of [Richard’s] reads away,” Hilaire explained. “We just needed to tackle better.”
With a 3-5-0 record, McGill’s improved 2015 season has come to a sobering end. This season saw the breakout of English, excellent play from the wide receiver corps and improved discipline on defense. The Redmen, however, know they will have to work hard to match RSEQ powerhouses such as Laval.
“We have to work harder. We made a gigantic step this year […] we need to get a bit better at the defensive back position and after that it’s just [about] getting better.” –Hilaire on McGill’s areas for improvement.
Play of the game
McGill place kicker Justin lavallee kicked a 35 yard field goal, his longest field of the season to give the Redmen a very short lived lead six minutes into the first quarter.
Richard completed 21 of his 25 passes