Three minutes into the game, the final outcome was already clear. On their first three possessions, the Laval Rouge et Or (4-1) scored a touchdown and picked off the McGill Redmen (2-3) twice, leading to three scores in two and a half minutes.
The overwhelming crowd fueled the Rouge et Or en route to a 61-9 dismantling of the Redmen in Quebec City on Oct 2. Laval started fast, leading McGill 28-6 after the first quarter on their way to a 52-point victory.
“When you start the way we started, it was an uphill battle,” Head Coach Ronald Hilaire said. “I think we had the jitters a little bit there, and we fought well during the first half, and I think we fought [just] as well in the second half, and, obviously, they have a good team on the other side, so that’s the outcome that came about.”
The blaring music and the cacophonous cheers from the red-and-gold-adorned crowd made the Redmen anxious.
“Some guys were probably a little nervous [with] all the fans,” Redmen linebacker and sophomore Arts student Dane Wagner said. “Not a lot people [on our team] have played in that environment before, but after the first few plays, I think it helps more than [it] hurts.”
After those first few minutes, the Redmen fought to regain the lost momentum, scoring two field goals in the first quarter and one more late in the second. However, a strong Laval defence prevented McGill from achieving anything resembling a real comeback.
“We were able to move the ball well on the Laval defence,” Redmen quarterback Joel Houle said. “[But] we can’t always [score] field goals. Yes, sometimes it happens, but we need to put the ball in the endzone. That’s the thing we need to do and that’s the thing we need to practice in the bye week.”
The next game for McGill will come after a bye next week at Bishop’s on Friday, Oct. 14. Until then, the Redmen have two weeks to sharpen their skills before going up against Gaiters for the second time in the season.
“I think our big thing [for this week] is to just go back to fundamentals for the first week, making sure the guys know the proper techniques,” Redmen offensive coach Alain Mainguy said. “The week after, we’ll focus on really getting ready for Bishop’s because we’re still in control of our destiny as far as whether we can make the playoffs or not.”
Quotable: “We beat ourselves during these games, and if we execute better, then for sure we’re going to be an unstoppable team.” – Redmen quarterback Joel Houle on the team’s progress this season.
Stat Corner: The loss was the Redmen football’s largest margin of defeat since a 70-3 routing at the hands of Laval in 2014.
Moment of the Game: Laval’s Anthony Dufour returned the opening kickoff 96-yards down the sideline for the opening score just 13 seconds into the game.