- Never bet against Laval, and;
- Acadia struggles on the national stage.
Both of these were proven true as Laval won its 58th straight at home, while the Axemen lost their 7th straight national semifinal dating back to 1981, in a convincing 42-7 Uteck Bowl result on Saturday.
The story of the game was simple: Highly-favoured Laval dominated in all aspects vs. a much weaker underdog opponent. The Axemen were confident entering this game because of their experiences at Laval earlier in the season, down by just six at the half. Unfortunately this bowl game only went on to prove the belief that the Rouge et Or have a history of toying with opponents. By the end of the first half this game was put to bed.
Laval's run game was nearly unstoppable racking up 321 yards with game MVP Maxime Boutin accounting for 213 of them. What particularly stood out is that Laval only ran two different run plays for most of their success: inside and outside zone.
There were only a few bright spots on the day for Acadia. Drew Morris forced a fumble in the second quarter giving the Axemen a chance to get back in the game, but it only resulted in a two and out. The other was Andrew Healy's 73-yard catch and run, which put them on the board immediately after Mathew Norzil's 63-yard TD reception made it 25-0 Laval.
The Rouge et Or defence was particularly impressive shutting down an Acadia offence that has been powerful at times. The speed and discipline proved to be too much for the Axemen, who had no response. Two-time reigning J.P. Metras Trophy winner Arnaud Gascon-Nadon was especially impressive on defence, particularly, when bending down the line of scrimmage. He finished the game with two tackles for a loss.
Opinion: As a former Acadia Axeman and current AUS blogger/watcher/reporter I do see myself having to defend the conference at times. Despite the blowout loss, I do think Acadia was properly ranked all year (mostly ninth and tenth). I also think it is laughable to use this game as a reason to bash the AUS. The only team in the entire CIS that could go into Laval and make a game of it is McMaster. Simple as that. Regina? They got blown out by Calgary and how did the Dinos fare? Guelph? Not a chance. Any of the other RSEQ teams? They had their chance, and they could not unseat the king and haven't for the last 10 seasons. I get that the AUS is in a down time—on the podcast last week I took Laval at -27.5—but to use this loss as a reason to bash the AUS is weak.
While many people single out lack of talent in the AUS as a reason for the recent power outage I'd say that the problem goes a lot deeper than that. Here are some figures to think about: Acadia's entire athletic budget was around $1 million, which makes sense for a school of Acadia's size. Laval's football program alone spent $3 million last season, and generated $5M for a profit of $2M. It's a different game for some.