Looking for their third consecutive win, the McGill Redmen (2-2) hosted the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (1-3) on Friday night for the Red Thunder ‘Fandemonium’ night. Sherbrooke grabbed control of the game early and did not ease up on route to a 45-26 win over McGill.
In the first quarter, the Vert et Or offence cut through the Redmen defence with unmatched ferocity, racking up 21 points and 109 of their 174 passing yards. Head Coach Clint Uttley credited this horrendous start to the tough transition from the grass to artificial turf from their game in New Brunswick last week.
However, the defence picked it up after the first quarter and held the Vert et Or to just three points in the second and third frames. Senior linebackers Alexandre Bernard and Stephan Osman led the team with 10 tackles each, while outside linebacker Jesse Briggs added the team’s only takeaway when he ripped the ball right out of the hands of a helpless Sherbrooke receiver. Unfortunately, McGill’s offence was ineffective, converting just five first downs in the opening half.
Despite coming off an RSEQ offensive player of the week award, senior quarterback Jonathan Collin was less than stellar with a 52 per cent completion percentage and two interceptions. After Collin’s second interception, he was pulled in favour of second year quarterback Pierre-Luc Dussault in order to spark the offence. The decision paid off as Dussault proceeded to bring the team within five points while recording 207 passing yards and 41 yards on the turf, including a twoyard touchdown rush of his own. Just as it seemed like the Redmen might come back, Dussault made his only mistake of the game, throwing a costly final quarter interception at Sherbrooke’s 24-yard line which was returned 92 yards for the score.
“I think it worked out for the most part,” Uttley said. “The interception for [a] touchdown, that [was] unfortunate but that’s a young guy making a mistake [and] that’s the only way they learn.”
Beyond Dussault, McGill’s running game was nearly non-existent. After three conseutive 100-yard rushing performances, sophomore running back Luis Guimont-Mota struggled mightily, netting only one yard on nine attempts. The only significant running play came from freshman Pelle Jorgen who had a 10-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Coach Uttley attributed the lack of running success to injuries on the offensive line.
McGill’s special teams had a fairly strong day despite a blocked punt that led directly to an easy touchdown pass for the Vert et Or. Samy Rassy, U3 Engineering, was kept busy with 10 punts for 357 yards, including two punts that were downed inside Sherbrooke’s 20-yard line. The highlight of the night came from sophomore return specialist, Jean-Philippe Paquette, who returned a Vert et Or punt 74-yards for a Redmen touchdown. The return decreased Sherbrooke’s lead to only five, which was the closest McGill came in the match as they fell to the Vert et Or 45-26.
Although Sherbrooke’s offence and defence were strong throughout, it was clear that sportsmanship was not a part of their game plan. With 41 seconds remaining in the game, a player on the Vert et Or was disqualified and proceeded to make a vulgar gesture to the 1700 fans in attendance. This lack of sportsmanship was topped on the game’s final play as Sherbrooke Head Coach and McGill graduate David Lessard chose not to take a knee on the game’s final play. Instead, the Vert et Or ran the ball for a 76-yard touchdown.
Next week, the Redmen travel across town to take on the Concordia Stingers (0-4) in the Montreal Shrine Bowl, where the Stingers will look to avenge their earlyseason loss to McGill.