The no. 6 ranked Concordia Stingers saw something in their opponents, the McGill Redmen, while watching film and exploited it to the tune of a 41-13 win and 366 yards on the ground in Saturday’s match up.
“Our game plan was to run,” said veteran offensive guard Bren Buckley. “We saw something in their defence with their defensive line and linebackers which allowed our running backs to hit the line at full speed before being touched,” he continued.
“I can’t thank the o-line enough,” said Andrew Hamilton who rushed for 221 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. “They dominated their defensive front, and our coaches did a great job,” he said.
Hamilton ran for touchdowns of 30, 69 and three yards in his best game as a Stinger, and Cedric Ferdinand also had a big game with 91 yards on nine carries.
The Stingers had a scare in the third quarter when quarterback Scott Syvret was hit while throwing the ball by McGill linebacker Matt Sroka, forcing the ball to pop out awkwardly. Syvret left the game with a bruised tricep and did not return. Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath said after the game that he still expects Syvret to start next week against no. 1 ranked Laval in the Stingers biggest test so far.
The Stingers defence has pitched shut outs in the last three games, and 13 quarters dating back to the opening game against Sherbrooke, gave up points early as McGill drove down the field in their opening drive. McGill had a first down at the Concordia four yard-line, but were forced into a Robert Eeuwes field goal.
McGill added a touchdown late in the second quarter when Matt Connell found Charles Sinotte in the end zone, who tipped the ball to himself before making the catch. A Eeuwes 42-yard field goal midway through the third quarter made the score 16-13 but it was the last time the Redmen would put points on the board.
Nick Saikaley was the other offensive star for the Stingers on the day catching two touchdown passes, one from Syvret and one from backup Robert Mackay, and had a third called back after a tripping penalty was called. He finished the game with four catches for 96 yards.
Concordia’s defence dominated the Redmen late in the game. After the field goal in the third quarter, the Stingers forced McGill to lose 19 yards on their final 17 plays through six drives, which resulted in four punts and two conceded safeties by Eeuwes.
“When the offence plays well, it makes it much easier for us to play,” said Concordia linebacker Pat Donovan who had five tackles and a sack in the game. “We know they like to pass a lot, so a big lead allows us to play soft in pass coverage,” he said.
Junior Bishop also had five tackles for the Stingers while Mark Kang had a sack and was named Concordia’s lineman of the game. It was the second-straight time that Kang was honoured after the Shrine Bowl, as he was named Concordia’s Shrine Bowl MVP last year as a running back.
McGill’s Jean-Nicolas Carriere was named both top lineman and McGill Shrine Bowl MVP. He led both teams with eight tackles, while racking up two tackles for losses and a sack.
The win was Concordia’s first in a Shrine Bowl since beating McGill in 2003, and improves their record in the annual showdown to 7-10. It was the 20th Shrine Bowl. Concordia lost to Laval and Montreal in 2004 and 2005. It was also the 38th Shaughnessy Cup, an annual match up between Concordia and McGill. Concordia is now 15-18 in the Shaughnessy Cup, the first five were played as Loyola against the Redmen. Concordia has now won five straight games against the Redmen since losing both games in the 2002 season.
Now Concordia looks towards no. 1 ranked Laval and their match up next Sunday in Quebec City.
“We had to overcome some adversity for the first time all season,” McGrath said. “And it was nice to see that,” he said.
“Every week becomes a bigger game, and if we win next week then the week after becomes our biggest game,” he continued. “The biggest thing we’re looking for is to improve every week.”
Kickoff is at 1:00 on Sunday at Stade PEPS, and the game will be televised on RDS.