A packed Molson Stadium roared as the McGill Redmen (2-1) took the field against the Bishop’s Gaiters (0-3) on Friday Sept 16. The fervor of the spectators was matched only by the intensity of the gameplay, which ended in a decisive 43-to-9 victory for the Redmen.
The victory comes unexpectedly in the new season given McGill’s lack of early-season success over the past few years. The Redmen have now defined the start to this season with a winning 2-1 record.
“It’s a big win, we’re really happy as a team,” running back Anthony Deschamps said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do [still], but we improve every week and it’s game by game, so we’re ready.”
The stands were covered in McGill colours Friday night as the “McGill RezWarz RezFest II Football Game” event brought many first year students to the stadium.
“Having a big crowd is a very big advantage for us,” Head Coach Ronald Hilaire said. “It’s good for us to have that, but we’ve gotta keep it growing, and winning is gonna help that.”
A strong defensive game was cited as a crucial factor in Friday’s win, with the Gaiters only getting one touchdown by McGill’s defensive line.
“We’ve got to clean up some things on our alignment, but we’re pretty good [defensively],” Hilaire explained. “We’re aggressive, we tackle well, we’ve got a young group there, but a very hungry group.”
Strong defensive tactics, including multiple sacks and interceptions by the Redmen, kept Bishop’s yardage to a minimum. Mistakes on offense, however, led to multiple turnovers throughout the game. Despite the turnovers, the Redmen held a solid 19-2 lead at halftime.
“It was tough to run the ball because they were giving us a lot of different fronts,” Wide Receiver Coach Ryne Bondy said. “Our passing game was there early, but then we were kind of missing some throws, overthrowing our receivers and missing some reads on the quarterback position.”
With both quarterbacks only in their first and second years of eligibility, the Redmen are still relatively young and inexperienced. In fact, this year’s team currently consists of 44 freshmen, accounting for about half of the entire roster.
“We had 10 to 18 [freshmen] on the roster [for Friday’s game],” Hilaire said. “Everyone got a chance to play, so it was a good night for everyone.”
The next game will be at home against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 2:00 p.m. A close game is to be expected, as the last matchup between McGill and Sherbrooke ended in a narrow 19-18 victory for the Redmen. McGill is focused on reducing turnover frequency in this game.
“I think we turned the ball over eight or nine times [last time against Sherbrooke],” Bondy said. “I mean, we had about 250 more total yards of offense that game, so as long as we don’t turn the ball over, we’ll be in good shape.”
“We invited our residences out to the game, but we’d like to see a few more of those first-years […] to show them that McGill football’s back on the map.”—Wide Receiver Coach Ryne Bondy on the game’s high RezFest attendance.
Redmen Football is 2-1 to start the season for the first time in a decade.
Moment of the Game
A third down punt by the Gaiters was blocked by a Redmen player’s helmet, sent the kick towards the sideline, which was then picked up by receiver Louis Brouillette, who ran it in 17 yards for the final touchdown.