TORONTO — The Vanier Cup is heading back to Laval.
A year after falling to McMaster in what was widely viewed as one of the most memorable games in CIS football history, the Rouge et Or took it to the Marauders Friday night en route to a 37-14 victory to capture the 48th Vanier Cup.
"They brought their A-game, they were razor sharp," Marauders head coach Stefan Ptaszek said following the loss. "We needed to bring our best and we were something short of that."
Maxime Boutin led Laval's offensive attack rushing for 253 yards, the second most in Vanier Cup history, while McMaster star quarterback Kyle Quinlan failed to build momentum off an impressive second quarter, and finished the game with 335 pass yards and just one touchdown pass.
"Kyle is one of the best players in Canada and nothing he did tonight would make me think anything less of him," Ptaszek said. "He played a whale of a game, he had no time and he was just trying to do the best he could with what was in front of him."
After a scoreless first half in which both teams struggled to find any groove on offense, Laval opened things up when Tristan Grenon threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Norzil. The Laval defence then forced a safety and Boris Bede kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 12-0.
But Kyle Quinlan didn't go into halftime without leaving his mark. After throwing for just 26 yards in the first quarter the fifth-year quarterback and 2012 Hec Creighton trophy winner exploded in the final minutes of the second quarter, putting together back-to-back touchdown drives; first, a six play, 75 yard drive, which Quinlan capped off with a 1-yard TD run and then with just 53 seconds left in the half, Quinlan orchestrated a three play, 96-yard drive completed with a 59-yard pass across the middle to third-year receiver Dahlin Brooks to send Mac into the half up 14-12.
"They were controlling the line of scrimmage, I told [our guys] the score was flattering and we were lucky to be where we were," Ptaszek said referring to what he told his team at halftime. "I told them to hang on and that the longer we could keep it a close game the better chance we had to gut one out."
But the second half belonged to Boutin who seemed to take the wind out of McMaster's sails with an 84-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that put the Rouge et Or up 27-14.
For reasons beyond the action on the field, Friday's Vanier Cup also proved to be a historic night for the CIS as the 37,098 in the crowd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto was all-time Vanier Cup record surpassing the previous record of 32,847 that posted in 1989.