If Maxime Boutin wasn’t familiar to the McMaster Marauders before Friday night’s Vanier Cup game at Rogers Centre they certainly are aware of him now.
Not even a starter for the Quebec champions two weeks ago, injuries thrust the Quebec City native into a starting role for the Laval Rouge et Or – and you could say he has ran with it.
Boutin was the star in Laval’s 37-14 dismantling of the top-seeded and defending champion Marauders, carrying the ball 24 times for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
His effort was the third-best rushing performance in Vanier Cup history and just seven yards shy of the record of 260 yards set in 1983 by Tim Petrose of the University of Calgary.
Boutin’s achievement comes on the heels of a 213-yard rushing effort in last week’s Uteck Bowl national semi-final against Acadia.
Boutin also caught one pass for 22 yards and returned a punt for 12 more giving him 287 all-purpose yards, the third highest total in Vanier Cup history.
Needless to say, Boutin was named the most valuable player of the Vanier Cup.
“When he got the edge the angles got worse and worse, and he made some big plays,” McMaster coach Stefan Ptaszek said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides and it’s tough to play football against a good team when they’re beating you up inside.”
“He’s been clutch for us,” said Laval coach Glen Constantin. “We have a motto, it’s called Next Man Up. Our starting tailback went down, our second one went down.
“He’s basically our third or fourth back and he’s been outstanding. He took the opportunity and literally ran with the ball.”
As big as Boutin was, another huge key to the game was the performance of the Laval defence, which harassed Kyle Quinlan, the star McMaster quarterback, at every moment.
The recipient of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the country’s top player Thursday night, Quinlan was good on 25 of 40 passes for 335 yards, but was picked off twice and sacked seven times, a Laval team record.
After the game, the final one of his collegiate career, Quinlan walked off the field and refused all interview requests.
“He played a whale of a game,” Ptaszek said. “He had no time, he was doing the best he could with what was in front of him.”
The Rouge et Or were led by an economical outing from their own quarterback, Tristan Grenon, who was 11 of 25 for 234 yards and one touchdown.
Offensively, Laval finished with 605 yards in offence compared to 376 for McMaster.
It was an edgy game, a rematch of last year’s Vanier Cup in Vancouver where McMaster won in double overtime, and there were several skirmishes during the contest.
“I don’t think it’s a secret we’re not two teams that like each other very much,” Grenon said. “We only meet each other once a year if we meet in the playoffs. It’s what makes football special, games like this memorable.”