Laval 41, Concordia 6: Rouge et Or Breeze Past Stingers in Annual Shrine Bowl Game
Concordia’s Struggles Continue as Winless Streak Persists
While fans awaited the referees’ whistle to kick off the thirty-third edition of Shrine Bowl Canada, the Stingers had a golden opportunity yesterday afternoon.
A win against the reigning champions was on the line. But for Laval, the threat of losing never existed, as they pummeled the Stingers 41-6, getting their second consecutive win of the season.
Having won the last three Vanier Cups, the Rouge et Or leave very little room for error for their opposition. Unfortunately for the Stingers, a slew of costly mishaps plagued them, notably on defence.
After both teams began their respective drives on a two-and-out, Laval was the first to strike, at 11:50, on their second drive, when rusher Vincent Breton-Robert burst through the middle for a 42-yard run.
That set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Rouge et Or punished Concordia on the ground, rushing for 342 yards to the Stingers’ 64.
Though Laval looked like the more dangerous side early, passionate Stingers fans’ cheers seemed to keep its players fired up. But at 9:17 in the first quarter, a key dropped pass to open wide receiver James Tyrell, who had a game-high 97 receiving yards, that could’ve easily turned to six points kept Laval off the hook. From there, bad bounces accumulated and prevented the Stingers from creating a rhythm.
This play was followed by an interception on the Stingers’ 35-yard line by Maxym Lavallée.
After forcing Laval to kick a field goal to increase their lead to 10-0 in the quarter, signs of a lopsided victory began to show.
It was only after Laval’s 27-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter—bringing the lead to 19-0—that Concordia came alive and the ball started rolling.
With quarterback Adam Vance mustering up consecutive first downs and connecting with primary target James Tyrell on two separate occasions for 15 yards each, glimpses of the New Stingers emerged, and left the crowd buzzing.
Getting all the way to the Laval’s 12-yard line, the Stingers were unable to convert on second down, leaving a field goal as their only option.
Following a safety to increase Laval’s lead to 21-3, Concordia’s Adam Vance, who threw for a total of 206 yards, marched his team back down to Laval’s redzone, but yet again tough breaks haunted the home side.
With a big hit on Vance forcing head coach Brad Collinson to add second string quarterback Olivier Roy to the mix, he found his pass tipped right into the arms of the Rouge et Or’s Adam Auclair on their 10-yard line, eliminating any chance of a Stingers comeback.
Coach Collinson admitted the break came at a tough moment in the game but knows mistakes happen in this league. The importance is to keep pushing.
“It’s a missed assignment. We shot ourselves in the foot and through a pick. It’s unfortunate, we’re gonna regroup, we’re gonna get better and keep working hard,” explained Collinson.
As the rain poured in the second half, so did Laval’s offence. Up 28-3 heading into the third quarter, the Rouge et Or’s offence kept the Stingers defence on the field for a little over 19 minutes in the half.
They would finish the game scoring 13 more points to the Stingers’ three, for a score of 41-6— extending Concordia’s losing streak to three.
Though Concordia has allowed 81 points in the last two games, Coach Collinson knows the effort put in by his players every week is unmatched. Going up against the Rouge et Or is a tall order for any team, but Collinson let it be known that the Stingers are here to compete.
“This is the number one team in the country, we can’t forget that. They’re well ranked that’s what they are[..] we fought all the way and I’m proud of the way they finished the game. The score doesn’t indicate what it really was.”
Now winless in their first three games, the Stingers are last in the RSEQ standings. As they look to crack the win column after their bye week against another struggling team in Université de Sherbrooke—who also has yet to record a victory—on Sept. 21 at home, Collinson knows winning habits begin with a simple rule.
“It’s to tell them to finish. We practice hard all week for these moments and 60 minutes goes by fast and I wanted to tell them to finish and play 60 minutes. That’s all you can ask them to do,” said Collinson.