Quarterback Jonathan Collin threw for 367 yards, a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another TD as the upstart McGill Redmen cruised to a 48-17 road victory over Mt. Allison to put a damper on the Mounties Homecoming celebrations in an interlocking CIS football game between the RSEQ and AUS conferences at MacAulay Field, Saturday.
It was the highest offensive output by the Redmen since a 49-27 conquest at Mt. A on Sept, 26, 2009 and marked the second straight victory for McGill, which improved to 2-1, the first time that they have been over .500 since an identical 2-1 start in 2004.
Elsewhere, Laval defeated Acadia 26-14, Montreal dominated St. Mary’s 29-10, St.FX clipped Concordia 35-18 and Bishop’s outlasted Sherbrooke 22-21. With three victories by Quebec-based teams in four interlocking matchups on the day, the RSEQ improved to 57-22 lifetime against the AUS since the inter-conference schedule was adopted in 2002.
McGill, which had a 36-12 advantage in first downs over the Mounties, led 20-14 after the opening quarter and 26-17 at the intermission, then added 22 unanswered points in the second half.
Collin, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound native of Greenfield Park, Que., directed a blitzkrieg that generated a single-game school record 738 yards of net offence, as three Redmen pivots combined to hit 10 different targets for an aerial attack of 471 yards, to go along with 270 on the ground. Collin completed 28 of 38 pass attempts and was intercepted twice. The history and geography senior added 49 rushing yards on nine carries.
“We started slow, committed some costly turnovers and fell behind early but that sometimes happens on long road trips,” said McGill Clint Uttley, head coach of the Redmen, who spent two days on a bus before arriving in Sackville. “It took us a while to adjust to the choppy grass surface but after regaining the lead, we began to play with more confidence, especially after making some adjustments at halftime.”
Sophomore running back Luis Guimont-Mota of Quebec City led the rushing attack with 17 carries for 141 yards and one TD. It was his third straight contest going over the century mark in rushing.
Redmen receivers Joel Brtka of Toronto and Montrealer Pascal Tshilambo, each hauled in 19-yard TD tosses from Collin. Brtka also pulled in an eight-yard laser beam pass from rookie pivot Pierre-Luc Dussault, while Tshilambo led all receivers with 135 yards on seven catches.
Dussault, a native of Quebec City who entered the contest with McGill comfortably ahead late in the third quarter, was 8-for-8 passing for 88 yards in his CIS debut, to go along with his first major on a QB sneak. McGill also deployed third-string pivot Pierre-Luc Moquin, who was 2-for-3 for 16 yards and rushed six times for seven yards.
Rounding out the scoring for the Redmen was place-kicker Samy Rassy, who collected 10 points. He was perfect on a pair of field-goal attempts, connecting from distances of 20 and 21 yards. McGill also was awarded a safety.
The Mounties generated just 238 yards of offence on a day that had them pining for the return of former star running back Eric Lapointe, whose No.5 jersey was retired in a halftime ceremony.
Mt. A’s offence was shortlived. They got off to a quick start when linebacker Te Nguyen intercepted a Collin pass on the second play from scrimmage. The Mounties started with the ball on the McGill 11-yard line and three plays later, Jordan Botel rushed for three yards for the game’s first TD. The Redmen answered right back with a major of their own, needing only two plays, the second of which was a 33-yard romp by Guimont-Mota.
Three minutes later, the Mounties’ defence was at it again when Ty Nguyen recovered another turnover, jumping on a McGill fumble near midfield. Quarterback Alex Field found freshman Rodreke Joseph for a 31-yard reception. After a nine-yard rush by Botel, Field found Joseph again, in the end zone to put the Mounties up 14-7. Joseph finished with a team-high 67 yards on six catches.
It was the first CIS start for Field, a junior from Darmouth, N.S., who was playing in place of Brandon Leyh, sidelined with a knee injury. Field, who went 17-for-27 and only 129 yards, also threw a pair of passes that were picked off by defensive backs Stephan Osman and Nicholas Gaudreault. Osman, from the NDG region of Montreal, also registered 4.5 tackles, including one for loss, while Gaudreault, a sophomore from Lachine, Que., was credited with 3.5 tackles.
Jesse Briggs, a junior middle linebacker from Kelowna, B.C., led the Redmen defence with 5.5 tackle, including one QB sack.
The Mounties also used a fake punt by kicker Kyle McLean to pick 40 yards and keep a drive going, which led to a 31-yard field-goal by Renaud Labrecque at the end of the first quarter.
On defence, Mt. A was led by halfback Matt Montgomery who was credited with 12.5 tackles, and Nguyen, who had 9.5 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. Michael Bohan also had an interception.
The Mounties (0-2) will host Saint Mary’s (1-1) on Sept. 20.
McGill (2-1) will host host Sherbrooke (0-3) on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in what is being billed as the “Fandemonium Game”. Organizers are anticipating the largest McGill crowd in decades and a win over Sherbrooke would put the Redmen in the driver’s seat for a third-place finish in the six-team Quebec conference with five games remaining before playoffs.
REDMEN RAP: Two other McGill players surpassed the century mark in yards gained: Yannick Langelier-Vanasse, a receiver and return specialist from Lachine, totalled 145 yards on 17 touches, while freshman Pelle Jorgen of Toronto amassed 112 yards on 12 plays.