Concordia 33, McGill 26: Stingers Football Team Hold on to Claim 50th Annual Shaughnessy Cup
Spread Out Offense and Half Time Adjustments Bring Comeback Win
The Shaughnessy Cup has been a fixture in the eternal McGill/Concordia rivalry and always adds and extra layer of tension when the trophy is up for grabs. That was the case on Sept. 15 as the Stingers and Redmen met at Percival Molson Stadium for the 50th iteration of the contest.
In what is becoming typical Stingers fashion this year, needless flags and small unnecessary mistakes plagued the first half. This is something head coach Brad Collinson admitted needed some work.
“It’s an ongoing message that we keep having to bring up week in, week out,” said Collinson. “They keep shooting themselves in the foot by not concentrating or doing the little things right and we just have to do a better job at doing that for a whole 60 minutes.”
The slow start was characterized by an unusually submissive offensive line that, while having only allowed two sacks in two games, gave up sevens in the first half alone. Going into halftime, the Stingers were down 16-12 and were still in the game due in large part to a spectacular 107-yard kickoff return by Quaysie Gordon-Maule with five minutes left in the second quarter.
In the second half, the Stingers came to life, starting off with a 4-play, 100-yard drive. The opening possession was capped off by an 80-touchdown after quarterback Adam Vance found a wide open Jarryd Taylor who would give Concordia their first lead of the game.
On both sides of the ball, the Stingers dominated with linebacker Jersey Henry leading the defensive charge with a massive 5.5 tackles. McGill only managed to put up 10 points in the second half as the defense forced four two-and-outs.
“Everyone was focused on being on the same page and getting the win,” said Henry. “Nobody tried to do anything extra, we just focused being in the right spot and to do our jobs. We all have faith in one another and it was just important that we stay composed and focus on our roles.”
On the offensive side of the ball is where the halftime break seemed to have the biggest impact. After allowing seven sacks and with Vance having thrown for 140 yards in the first half, the offence then exploded in the second frame, with the Stingers racking up 306 yards of total offence.
“We had been sacked more that half than we had all season,” said Vance. “I was kind of running around and wasn’t really staying in the pocket but we kept our composure and regrouped before the second half which was huge. Everyone on the team trusts one another and that was a big key to the win today.”
The changes made to Vance’s protection were noticeable. Vance’s passing yards nearly doubled and he was visibly more comfortable. He found Taylor once again and added another touchdown pass to Sam Nadon which would end up being the game winner. The most impressive aspect of the Stingers offence was their depth and wide array of tools that they used to move the ball forward.
“We have the best receiving core in the country by far.” —_Jarryd Taylor_
Running back Micah Sullivan put in a solid effort with 86 yards off of 18 carries and four different receivers caught at least four passes. The spread of receiving targets also meant that the Redmen defence had a hard time assessing every threat.
“We have the best receiving core in the country by far,” said Taylor. “Right now, we don’t even have three of our starters. Across the board, we have five guys that can be stars on any team so our depth is just awesome. We treat every game the same, whether it’s [Université de Montréal] or Acadia, we just have to keep that state of mind and that confidence.”
That makes two games in a row in which slow starts have been made up for with strong second halves. However, with Université de Montréal Carabins coming up as opponents in a game that could see the winner take sole possession of second place, slow starts like that will not be permitted.
“We can’t afford to make those little errors against a good team like Montréal,” said Collinson. “We just have to fine tune some things and make sure that every player puts in a solid 60 minutes and we’re going to be alright.”
The Stingers will host the Carabins next Saturday afternoon, Sept. 22, at the Concordia Stadium.