The Montréal Carabins showed a team can beat the pep out of Laval if it gets Laval out of PEPS.
The upshot of 'Bleu Sunday,' as the kids are calling the Carabins' 28-7 victory over the defending national champs, is the season has been saved from becoming boring. A lot of people saw another Rouge et Or Vanier Cup as inevitable (and maybe do still). The job Montréal did on Laval raises hope the season will not play out according to form. Montréal, as Maude Lebowski would say, it was "good ... and thorough," with Rotrand Sené (pictured) running all over the place (150 yards) and stout defence led by borderline unblockable Grégory Alexandre.
The kicker is Laval's road to that home-field Vanier Cup game next month still goes through Ontario, but not Montréal. The Rouge et Or held on to home-field advantage in the QUFL playoffs, since it has a 22-point win and 21-point loss vs. the Carabins.
Once the euphoria fades, it should set in with Montréal the job is only half-done. They showed they can beat Laval. Now they have beat Laval at Laval, thanks to that pesky one-point difference in the season series.
The Rouge et Or, who were without Hec Crighton winner Benoît Groulx — no alibi since Montréal was down two quarterbacks two weeks ago — shot itself in the foot with ill-timed penalties. It took two bad ones on the drive where Sené scored out of the wildcat formation to stretch Montréal's lead to 20-7. The Rouge et Or return game was also ineffective, which sticks out like a sore thumb in a season where teams are making great use of the big punt return.
The only benefit of the doubt Laval gets is the 10-point swing Montréal got from a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Granted, you could also say there was some schadenfreude involved there, since kicking a field goal against a good defensive team while down 21-7 in the fourth quarter is kind of a give-up play. (Laval also punted on a late third-and-6, although maybe it had to, in order to preserve the tiebreaker.)
Our own Jared Book has a deeper look at the QUFL up above; for now, Montréal has taken out the No. 1 team in the nation, and delivered a shot of adrenalin to every fan in the country. They might only be getting started, too.
(Photo by Dom Bernier.)
Le Rouge et Or s'incline 28 à 7 devant les Carabins (Jean François Tardif, le Soleil)
Les Carabins infligent au Rouge et Or sa première défaite en 3 ans (Michel Marois, cyberpresse.ca)