The Laval Rouge et Or won their third Vanier Cup in four years Saturday afternoon, beating the Saskatchewan Huskies 13-8 in a lacklustre Canadian university football final.
A sold-out and cold crowd of 12,567 were sent home unhappy as the Huskies came up short in their third straight Vanier Cup appearance.
Running back Guillaume Allard-Cameus' one-yard touchdown run at 13:49 of the second quarter provided the difference for the No. 2 Rouge et Or, who gathered at midfield after the game and chanted, "All the way, All the way."
Cameron Takacs added a pair of field goals for Laval, which had its bid for a three-peat derailed by a 29-27 Mitchell Bowl loss to the Huskies last year.
"That was good revenge," said Laval linebacker Eric Maranda, the game's MVP. "Last year, when we quit on the field here, we said we would come back here one year later. We came here to win which is what we did."
Tyler O'Gorman's four-yard TD run at 4:10 of the fourth quarter pulled the Huskies within 10-8 after a two-point conversion attempt failed.
Saskatchewan, which also managed a safety in the second quarter, tried to drive late in the final quarter. But Maranda intercepted a Bret Thompson pass on third down, setting up Takacs' 14-yard field goal that sealed the deal at 14:16.
Laval led 10-2 at the half and maintained that edge through an uneventful third quarter.
The game, being held outside Ontario for the first time, got off the a slow start as both offences struggled to find their legs on the frozen Griffiths Stadium turf.
Passing was particularly difficult. Laval's normally accurate quarterback, Benoit Groulx, was only good on five of 14 attempts for 64 yards in the first half. Thompson was good on four of seven attempts for only 28 yards in the same frame.
Saskatchewan did manage 111 yards on the ground in the first half on 25 carries. Most of that was gained between the tackles as the slippery field made running outside difficult.
"If you look at both teams trying to run the football there wasn't much success from either team," O'Gorman said. "Definitely the ground played an effect on the game, but it doesn't matter because both teams had to deal with it."
There was no scoring in the first quarter.
Saskatchewan actually had the best scoring chance of the frame. With about three minutes left Huskies receiver Leighton Heron blew by his coverage on the sideline and had nothing but green between him and the end zone. But the ball wobbled on Thompson and it sailed well beyond Heron's outstretched fingers.
Laval broke the goose egg midway through the second quarter.
With the ball on the Laval 37 on second down, Groulx found receiver Samuel Gregoire-Champagne, the game's offensive MVP, wide open on the sidelines taking the ball down to the Huskies 20. But the drive stalled when running back Marc Andre Arcoite fumbled a handoff then dropped a pass on consecutive plays and Laval had to settle for a Takacs 35-yard field goal.
"It's nice but I didn't expect it at all - I didn't think it was a one guy show," said Gregoire-Champagne. "I guess they didn't have anybody to give it to, so they gave it to me."
After the Huskies narrowed the gap to 3-2 by forcing Laval to take a safety, the Rouge et Or scored the first touchdown of the game, setup by a good punt return and some costly penalties by Saskatchewan.
With the Huskies kicking from the shadows of their goal posts, Nicolas Bisaillon returned the ball 21 yards and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the tackle gave Laval a first down on the Huskies 15. On the ensuing play, the Huskies took an illegal contact penalty, moving the ball to the seven. Allard-Cameus pounded the ball in two plays later after it initially looked like the Huskies defence stopped him short.
Saskatchewan had the best chance to score in the third quarter. Midway through the frame, Champagne fumbled the ball and the Huskies were able the recover at midfield, but failed to get a first down and had to punt the ball away.
The Huskies finally found the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a four-yard sweep by O'Gorman.
The touchdown was set up by a 61-yard catch and run by Dan Houle that put the ball on the Laval four. The gap was narrowed to 10-8 with the score when Thompson's pass on the two-point conversion try was batted down.
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