Stingers’ football team fall short of the colossal upset in 41-27 loss to UdeM
With Saturday’s homecoming festivities in full effect, the Concordia Stingers football team were charged with the daunting task of hosting the reigning national champions from the Université de Montréal at Loyola. Despite the wonderfully efficient offensive performance led by newly minted starting quarterback Trenton Miller, the Stingers blend of youthful inexperience and critical special teams mishaps resulted in a disappointing 41-29 loss.
Concordia opened the game with a dominating 87-yard drive capped off by a 22-yard Jean-Guy Rimpel receiving touchdown.
“On film, I saw that we could exploit their weaknesses,” said Trenton Miller, who picked apart the Carabins top-ranked defense to the tune of 334 yards on 34 completions and four touchdowns.
Unfortunately for the Stingers, their short-lived advantage was quickly done away with as the Carabins marched down the field following a Yannick Lessard fumble that pigeon holed the Stingers with a shortfield to defend.
On the defensive side of the ball, bad field positioning and a non-existent pass-rush allowed for the Carabins fifth year senior quarterback Gabriel Cousineau to carve out the Stingers secondary for 27 first-half points.
“I knew they wanted to cover deep, they were scared of our deep pass and did a great job taking it away from us,” said Carabins quarterback Gabriel Cousineau who uncharacteristically ran the ball a season high six attempts for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Unphased by the turnovers, Miller continued to lead the Stingers attack at a remarkable pace, answering back with a pair of long touchdown drives which culminated with a Daniel Skube and another Jean-Guy Rimpel receiving touchdown.
The perplexing 21-27 halftime score which saw the Stingers threatening a huge upset against the cream of the CIS crop, coupled by the impressive play of Trenton Miller were the dominant storylines of the first half.
“We knew they had some very good players. They’re a young team and played us very physical … We got off to a slow start and managed to play better in the second half, but we didn’t play the game we wanted and took a lot of penalties,” said Cousineau.
In the third quarter, both teams’ defenses clamped down following halftime adjustments. The otherwise uneventful and scoreless third quarter was marked by an amazing interception from third-year history major Rashaun Perry.
“We were expecting to come out and compete,” stated an emphatic Perry. “We can play with anyone in this league [RSEQ], It’s not a question of if—it’s in fact—that we know we can.”
With an upset looming in the works, the Stingers headed into the fourth quarter of play looking to shock the CIS world by exacting some poetic justice in front of the sizeable homecoming crowd. Concordia’s pass-rush came alive in the second half as sophomore linebacker Jeremy Pelletier delivered a huge sack on second down to force a Carabins punt with just under 11 minutes remaining. But on the ensuing punt, a myriad of special teams errors resulted in the Carabins recovering the ball on the Stingers two yard line leading to the eventual UdeM rushing touchdown pushing the score to 34-21.
Down but not out, the Stingers defense stymied the Carabins attack forcing another punt, giving their offense one more chance to get on the field. The Stingers’ sloppy special teams execution reared its ugly head once more, as Concordia returner James Tyrell fumbled the ball on the return setting up the Carabins to put the final nail in the Stingers coffin.
“We have a good team here and we’re young, and it showed on the special team plays we fumbled, we have to do a better job securing the ball,” said an optimistic head coach Mickey Donovan following the game. “Overall, we played hard and we played a full game.”
Despite the loss, the Stingers are looking at their performance against the reigning national champs as a source of inspiration heading into next week’s matchup against the formidable Laval Rouge et Or.
“No one should take us lightly anymore,” said Perry. “We’re not pushovers, and we’re not going to be pushovers for anyone.”