Senior quarterback Jonathan Collin knelt down in front of 2,845 rambunctious fans to seal McGill’s first victory over Concordia in 11 years.
It was McGill Football’s home opener, as the team took to the field against the Stingers on Friday night for the 45th annual Shaughnessy Cup game.
The match started slowly, with mental mistakes and costly penalties from both teams. McGill opened the scoring with a 29-yard field goal by capitalizing on a Concordia fumble.
In the final minute of the second quarter, the McGill offence strung together a series of six completions, working their way 55 yards down the field. With the ball at Concordia’s 32-yard line and less than 10 seconds remaining in the half, Collin threw a deep ball that was intercepted in the end zone.
The first half ended with Concordia on top 7-5 despite strong play from the Redmen defence. With the exception of a few mistakes, McGill forced a fumble recovery, two sacks, and two tackles for losses.
As the temperature in the stadium dropped at halftime, the offence was getting ready to heat up. McGill quickly siezed momentum coming out of halftime with a 46-yard drive that culminated in a 32-yard field goal by senior kicker Samy Rassy.
After a quick stop by the defence and a subpar 16-yard punt by the Stingers, McGill regained possession of the ball. Collin proceeded to air it deep to sophomore wide receiver, Jean-Philippe Paquette, for a 31-yard gain. Immediately following the big play, running back Luis Guimont-Mota kicked it into high gear, breaking numerous tackles en route to a 21-yard rushing touchdown.
After another defensive stop for the Redmen, sophomore receiver Joel Brtka hauled in one of his 11 receptions for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Stingers tried to turn the tide in the final quarter, clawing away at a 15-point deficit. After a McGill punt, Concordia marched 97-yards down the field for a touchdown. Down by nine, the visitors attempted to fool the Redmen special teams unit by attempting a fake extra-point conversion. However, McGill was prepared and smothered wide receiver Shayne Stinson’s rush attempt.
Concordia’s momentum was short-lived as freshman running back Pelle Jorgen electrified the crowd with a 70-yard kick return. Rassy connected on a field goal once more before Guimont-Mota put the nail in the coffin with his second rushing touchdown of the night.Concordia scored a late touchdown, but by then the game was already out of reach.
It was a big win for a team that has shown consistent improvement since Head Coach Clint Uttley took over three years ago. Despite the success, Uttley did not allow the team to get complacent. “We’ve still got to get [the running game] going,” Uttley remarkedIf Guimont-Mota can continue his rise as a key cog in the offence, the veteran line should clear enough open holes for him to plow through. This will present yet another viable option for the offence as the team looks to broaden its attack possibilities.
For Defensive Coordinator Mickey Donovan, the game represented a victory over his alma mater. Donovan noted that beating Concordia feels, “great, because last year we lost a heartbreaker to them, and that should have been our game then. So for us to bounce back this way and finish with a ‘W’ for these guys and get the Cup, that’s what it’s about.”
The game tied the two schools’ all-time Shaughnessy Cup series at 36-36.
The Redmen now hold a 1-1 record. Next week, the team is set to travel out to Sackville, New Brunswick to take on the 0-1 Mount Allison Mounties in the latter’s home opener. Look for another victory on the road before McGill returns to Molson Stadium to play the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sept. 20.