Western romps past Acadia, earns Vanier Cup date with Laval

Western romps past Acadia, earns Vanier Cup date with Laval
WOLFVILLE, N.S.—The Western Mustangs set a Uteck Bowl record for points as their vaunted rushing attack dominated the Acadia Axemen in an 81-3 victory on Saturday.

Western amassed 451 yards on the ground and starting running back Cedric Jones rushed 13 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns to give him 10 touchdowns in his team’s three post-season games.

“It’s easy when I’ve got a monstrous O-line in front of me,” Jones said. “I’m going to have to give kudos to them, they’re really making my job a whole lot easier.”

Jones stepped into the starter’s role when Alex Taylor suffered a knee injury. He thinks a strong running game is the team’s legacy and he and fellow running backs Trey Humes and Yannick Harou get more than enough action to keep them all happy.

“We’re a hard-nosed, old-school, run-the-ball-down-your-throat type of offence,” Jones said. “We all kind of fit into that mould and we complement each other real nice.”

Humes finished with 175 yards on just 15 carries. Harou ran for 98 yards on 15 carries and rushed for two TDs.

Quarterback Chris Merchant was 10 of 11 for 200 yards and two touchdowns passes. He also rushed for 54 yards and ran in two TDs as well.

Western advanced to the Vanier Cup, Canada’s university football championship, to be held on Nov. 25, where the Mustangs will face nine-time champion Laval. The Rogue et Or beat Calgary 35-23 in the Mitchell Bowl.

Jones, a third-year player out of Montreal, is excited for his first trip to the Vanier Cup.

“The boys have been working hard all season and the scoreboard shows our preparation and the work that we put in,” he said.

Acadia quarterback Cody Cluett said there wasn’t much to say after a game like that.

“They just outplayed us big time,” he said. They’re a great football team and they will probably go on to win it all.”

The Axemen stuck with their game plan of trying to use a balanced attack, instead of just trying to pass. Cluett finished 15-of-25 with 181 yards passing and was intercepted three times.

“There is not an 80-point play in football, so you just have to stick with what you do,” Cluett said.

Western dominated the first half, building up a 57-0 lead. They had 26 first downs to Acadia’s two and did not allow the Axemen across midfield for the entire half. They also piled up 472 yards on offence to Acadia’s 61. The final yardage tally was 689-214 for the Mustangs.

The only thing that was able to stop the Mustangs from scoring a touchdown in the first half was the clock as their ninth possession was cut short when time ran out in the second quarter.

Rouge et Or 35, Dinos 23: Laval quarterback Hugo Richard threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns as the Rouge et Or continued their dominance of the Dinos.

Calgary has lost all six of its meetings with the Rouge et Or — three times in the Vanier Cup (2010, 2013, 2016), twice in the Mitchell Bowl (2011, 2017) and once in the Uteck Bowl (2008).

Dinos quarterback Adam Sinagra completed 26 of 43 passes for 318 yards and one interception.

Laval, the top-ranked program in the country, took over in the second half.

Trailing at halftime, the Rouge et Or began manufacturing points in the third quarter. The visitors followed up Dave Cote’s 46-yard field goal with a major score.

Shortly after a pass interference call put them inside the Calgary 10-yard line, Richard found Simon Gingras-Gagnon with a two-yard toss. The touchdown and convert made it 20-18 — Laval’s first lead of the afternoon.

The Rouge et Or improved their cushion on the first play of the fourth quarter when Marc-Antoine Bellefroid forced punt-returner Deane Leonard to fumble. Gabriel Ouellet scooped up the ball and rumbled 42 yards for a touchdown.

Calgary kicker Niko DiFonte chipped in with a late 47-yard field goal, and Laval’s Vincent Alarie-Tardif added a last-minute major.

The Dinos took an earlylead in the first half, when their 280 offensive yards were nearly 100 more than the guests.

DiFonte, with a 28-yard field goal, moved Calgary ahead 3-0. Then, on the first series of the second quarter, the Dinos struck for a major when backup quarterback Josiah Joseph making good on a one-yard plunge.

But the powerful Rouge et Or erased the 10-point difference. Shortly after Cote’s nine-yard field goal got Laval on the board, Richard connected with receiver Jonathan Breton-Robert for a 54-yard touchdown.

However, in the half’s final 80 seconds, the Dinos forced a fumble when Boston Rowe stripped the ball from Richard and Jakub Jakoubek recovered at their own 47-yard line.

Sinagra, with four straight completions, moved his team to the eight-yard line. Running back Jeshrun Antwi barrelled into the end zone 35 seconds before halftime, giving the Dinos a 17-10 halftime lead.
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