Stingers 36, Redbirds 33 (OT): Resilient Stingers stun Redbirds late, reclaim Shaughnessy Cup
Concordia’s win moves them into a tie for first place in the RSEQ standings
Don’t ever count the Concordia Stingers football team out of a game.
Just when it looked like it was time to pack it in, they did it again. The Stingers mounted a miraculous 22-point fourth quarter comeback to stun the McGill Redbirds 36-33 (OT) in the 52nd edition of the Shaughnessy Cup at Percival Molson Stadium.
Concordia’s fourth quarter heroics marked the second week in a row that the Stingers did the impossible. On Sept. 10, Concordia erased a 17-point deficit en route to a 31-28 win over the Université de Montréal.
“We dug ourselves in a hole again, we gotta stop doing that, but it just shows the resiliency of this team––the kids believe,” said head coach Brad Collinson. “They never gave up, you know, hats off to them [and] the coaching staff for keeping it positive on the sideline. It is what it is right now, we're winning so it's good.”
Concordia quarterback Olivier Roy completed 18 of 29 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns, three of which came in the final quarter alone. The Donnacona, Que., native scrambled for 56 yards on the ground, on a night where he found himself under pressure seemingly every time the ball was in his hands.
“They have a tough defence and we knew it,” said Roy. “Every time we come here we know we’ll face a tough defence, and it’s a challenge every time. They’re a bit different than the other teams but that’s why we need to work on it every day of the week.”
In just his third game at the helm of the Stinger’s offence, Roy showed a veteran poise and composure to piggy back his team to victory, but says he knows they can’t keep finding themselves trailing early in games.
“We just need to execute better from the get go, cause we can't get away with it every week. [I’m] glad for the win, glad the boys are celebrating right now, but we gotta get better for sure,” said Roy.
Jeremy Murphy, Roy’s favourite target of the night, put his fingerprints on the win, grabbing seven receptions for 62 yards, including the game-tying touchdown in the dying seconds of the contest.
“In the fourth quarter we had the machine rolling and I mean we just had all the momentum from there. There was just nothing they could do to stop us,” said Murphy.
Turnovers told the story in the first three quarters of Friday night’s game. A pair of fumbles and an interception broke up the Stingers’ rhythm offensively and set up the Redbirds in favourable field position, which they capitalized on.
Each of the home side’s first three touchdowns came off of Concordia turnovers, including a scoop-and-score giving McGill a commanding 23-4 lead midway through the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Stingers responded with a 50-yard TD strike. Roy found Jaylan Greaves along the far sideline who hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch and trotted his way to the endzone. After three, McGill led 26-11.
The Redbirds added to their lead early in the final stanza when quarterback Dimitrios Sinodinos connected with Simon Crevier for a 20-yard score, igniting the 3,100 fans in the stadium.
Then, the Stingers flipped the script. Down 33-11 with 12:11 on the clock, Concordia went to work.
Olivier Morency––who did most of his damage on the ground, running for 81 yards on 10 carries––caught a 6-yard TD pass from Roy to cap off a nine-play, 60-yard drive. McGill’s indiscipline defensively kept the drive alive on multiple occasions, and ultimately, came back to bite them.
After the Stingers’ defence held the Redbirds to a two-and-out, the visitors reclaimed possession of the ball and once again drove downfield. In McGill territory, Roy scrambled to keep the play alive and chucked up a prayer to Jacob Salvail in the endzone who came down with the ball, giving the Stingers a second life.
Concordia’s defence stood strong again and turned the ball over to their offence with 2:36 remaining, needing a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game.
The Stingers were efficient in their play calling, as they moved downfield effortlessly to the McGill two yard line. On third down, with the game on the line, Roy let it fly to Jeremy Murphy, who hauled in the pass in the corner of the endzone, sending the Concordia student section into a frenzy.
Needing to convert on the two-point conversion, Roy called his own number, running it into the endzone to tie the game 33-33 with only 30 seconds remaining.
In overtime, McGill had nothing to show for offensively, giving the ball back to Concordia needing only a field goal to win the game. After Olivier Morency rushed for 20 yards to the McGill 15 yard line, Andrew Stevens lined up a kick from 21 yards out and split the uprights to put a wrap on a wild night in USports.
The Stingers’ 36-33 win snaps a three-game losing streak to the Redbirds, dating back to Oct. 20, 2018. Concordia now leads the all-time Shaughnessy Cup series 28-18.
Concordia returns home next week to take on Université de Sherbrooke (1-2) on Saturday, Sept. 25. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at Concordia Stadium.
Since 1975, the Shaughnessy Cup has been played annually between McGill and Concordia University. The cup is named after Frank Shaugnessy, an innovator of Canadian football. Shaughnessy introduced the forward pass to the Canadian game, while coaching at McGill in the early 1900s. He went on to coach Loyola College later in his career and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall Of Fame in 1963.