Laval takes home 10th Vanier Cup with 34-20 win over Western

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Photo: Jay Ouellet

Rouge et Or team members joyfully hoist the Vanier Cup.

Université Laval took home its 10th Vanier Cup, when the Rouge et Or cruised to a 34-20 win over the University of Western Ontario Mustangs in the 54th edition of the Vanier Cup, at Stade Telus, on Nov. 24.

It also represents the fourth perfect season in Rouge et Or history, after those in 2008, 2010, and 2013.

The players made a strong statement in the first minute of the game. Quarterback Hugo Richard threw a 45-yard pass to Jonathan Breton-Robert, and one of 46 yards to Vincent Forbes-Mombleau. Laval was ahead 7-0 after only 61 seconds of play.

The defence then got into the action. Maxym Lavallée intercepted Mustang quarterback Chris Merchant’s second pass of the game and a few moments later, David Coté’s 23-yard field goal gave the Rouge et Or an early 10-0 lead.

“That strong start by Laval threw us off our game plan,” said Western’s head coach Greg Marshall after the game.

Early in the second quarter, the Mustangs scored on a Cedric Joseph one-yard run, but Hugo Richard came back and threw a pass to Benoît Gagnon-Rousseau deep in the end zone and the Rouge et Or led 17-7.

The Mustangs added two field goals but still trailed Laval 17-13 by halftime.

It was Laval’s defence that stood out early in the second half. Linebacker Adam Auclair, named the game’s best defensive player, made a big tackle behind the Mustangs’ line of scrimmage, deep in Western territory. Laval got the ball back in, and after a 254-second drive, Hugo Richard ran with the ball for Laval’s touchdown. Auclair then intercepted a pass from Merchant and brought the ball near the end zone. Another field goal by David Côté had Laval up 27-13 after 45 minutes.

Alexis Côté ran for another touchdown for the Rouge et Or in the final quarter and even though the Mustangs added a touchdown in the final 15 minutes, it was Laval’s defence that made the difference to keep Western far from the end zone.

Hugo Richard, who was playing in his last game for the Rouge et Or, was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career.

The 55th Vanier Cup will also be played at Université Laval’s Stade Telus in 2019.