In front of a crowd of 3,000 fans on the chilly night of Friday 12 , the McGill Redmen football team hosted the Concordia Stingers in their home opener. This was McGill’s chance to defend the Shaughnessy Cup, which has occurred annually between McGill and Concordia since 1975. McGill took home the Shaughnessy Cup last fall, defeating the Stingers 32-19. This year, a repeat was out for reach of the Redmen, who fell 41-7 in front of a sea of red at Molson Stadium.
As it was the home opener, McGill fans came out in full force to support their team, fans wearing mittens and covering themselves in blankets to fight off the eight-degree weather was a common sight.
Before fans even had a chance to settle into their seats, Concordia scored. Stingers kicker Keegan Treloar registered a 15-yard field goal just a minute into the game, sparking anger and disbelief in the crowd. The McGill faithful would have to endure a great deal more before the game’s finish.
The Redmen were unable to stop the Concordia offence from scoring relentlessly, and the Stingers scored four more times before the home team was able to retaliate. By the start of the second quarter, Concordia was already up 21-0.
The Redmen were finally able to answer the Stingers’ onslaught with a 57-yard drive, and executed a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dallon Kuprowski to receiver Louis Brouillette with under ten minutes remaining in the first half. Although seeing a spark of life from the Redmen was good, it’s hard to get too excited when the score is still 21-7.
To end the first half of the game, McGill gave up another two points to Concordia by avoiding punting, and instead kneeling the ball in the endzone, hoping the Stingers wouldn’t capitalize on good field positioning and score another touchdown.
After halftime it appeared as though most of the stadium had cleared out as fans left in disappointment, and the fans who stayed didn’t seem too happy about being there. Some of the home team fans even moved over to sit with the Concordia fans and started cheering for the Stingers.
After halftime the game only got worse for the Redmen as the Stingers steamrolled through the defence once again, this time scoring six consecutive times while staying strong on the defensive side of the football.
The second half started with the Stingers kicker’s second field goal of the night, kicked from 24 yards, after a 55-yard drive by the offence.
Next, for the fourth and final time, the Redmen gave up a safety, putting Concordia up 28-7. Treloar rounded off the third quarter scoring with a 42-yard field goal.
It seemed like things could not get any worse, but the Stingers offence kept rolling in the fourth quarter, where Concordia slotback Daniel Skube, scored another touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Dessureault. To finish, Treloar put another field goal through, beating his last distance by a yard with an impressive 43-yard kick with just over five minutes left in the game, making the score 41-7.
This was a dismal home opener for the Redmen; not only was the offence inactive, but the defence could not find an answer to Concordia’s offence. The team gave up 125 yards on 18 penalties, making it that much harder for the Redmen to earn any territory on Concordia.
The Redmen defence was not exactly impressive against the Stingers, but a few players do deserve individual mention for their efforts. Defensive end Devon Stewart led the Redmen defence with 7.5 tackles, while Redmen linebacker Karl Forgues had seven tackles and a forced fumble which was recovered by defensive tackle Kadeem Lewis. Among defensive leaders for the game was standout rookie linebacker Ricard Lubin, who recorded four tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses, and the only Redmen sack of the game. Although the Redmen defence had some solid performances overall, the defensive core will have to come together and form a cohesive unit to avoid such uneven scores.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Redmen, Dallon Kuprowski went 13-24 for 122 yards passing, with a solo touchdown and one interception. Joel Houle relieved Kuprowski at half time and went 12-25 for 113 yards passing. Brouillette led the team in receptions with eight catches for 78 yards and caught the team’s only touchdown. Receiver Yannick Langelier-Vanasse tallied five receptions for 71 yards. Running back Luis Guimont-Mota had eight carries for 30 yards, as well as two receptions for 13 yards. Again, the offence has to improve in the same areas as the defence in coming together and playing a solid four quarters of football.
On special teams, Pelle Jorgen received four kick returns for 52 yards, while Langelier-Vanasse also returned six punts for a total of 46 yards.
The Redmen will have to improve on all sides of the ball, but this improvement was not seen on friday night against the University of Montreal Carabins, where the Redmen lost 43-17. After losing their first two games, it looks like a long season for the Redmen faithful.