By Earl Zukerman
Quarterback Ryne Bondy of Richmond Hill, Ont., passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as McGill knocked the monkey off their backs with a lopsided 36-9 victory over the visiting Mt. Allison Mounties before 2,187 at Molson Stadium, Friday.
The result improved McGill’s record to 1-2 and snapped a 23-game losing streak for the Redmen, while extending Mt. Allison’s losing skid to 10. The Redmen improved to 5-0 lifetime against Mt. A and the RSEQ conference record is now 52-20 in interlocking games against the AUS conference. It was also the first victory in six decisions for head coach Clint Uttley who took over as bench boss with three games remaining last year.
The game was halted for about 12 minutes late in the second quarter as a severe thunder and lightning storm hit the Montreal area. It rained the entire second half.
“I’m really happy for the kids to get the win and gain some confidence,” said Uttley, who not only had to endure a downpour from the heavens during the game but also received a Gatorade shower from the players after the final whistle for registering his first career coaching victory. “However, I wasn’t really pleased with how our game ended, with numerous turnovers and the fact that we took 12 penalties. One of my biggest goals this year is to be the least penalized team in the conference.”
The Redmen, who were penalized for 140 yards of real estate, chalked up 438 yards in offence while their defence, aided by a school record nine quarterback sacks, limited Mt. A to just 63 net yards. McGill also had a 22-7 margin in first downs. One of the most telling stats was that 20 of the 63 plays run by Mt. A were punts.
Bondy, a fifth-year senior who was making his first start of the season, completed 13 of 22 passes for 189 yards and rushed eight times for a game-high 69 yards. After connecting with receiver Gabriel Aubry of Lanoraie, Que., for a 59-yard TD bomb just three minutes into the game, Bondy called his own number and scampered eight yards to make it 14-0 before the game was six minutes old.
He then hooked up with Ottawa native Sean Murphy for a 10-yard TD strike to make the score 25-0 at the 13:44 mark and found freshman Shaquille Johnson of Toronto for a five-yard toss to make it 35-0 late in the second quarter.
Bondy gave way to Jonathan Collin at halftime and the senior pivot played the remainder of the game in an unrelenting downpour. He completed just one of seven pass attempts and was picked off once.
“Obviously Ryne got off to a great start but the plan was that he would split the game with Collin to evaluate which one would start next week,” said Uttley, who decided to play a bigger role in the quarterback situation this past week and moved sophomore Dallon Kuprowski to receiver. “However, the way the weather turned for the worse in the second half was not a fair way to assess JC’s performance, so we will start off at square one in practice this coming week and whoever has the best week will get the start against Laval on Friday.”
First-year kicker Samy Rassy of Montreal added 10 points with a 2-for-3 performance in field-goals (37 and 20 yards). He also contributed a rouge on a missed 39-yarder and had three conversions.
Punter Tomas Silva of Kingston, Ont., rounded out the scoring for McGill with a 74-yard kickoff single to start the third quarter.
“I was pretty pleased with our ability to run the ball,” said Uttley, whose troops generated a whopping 258 yards on the ground. “For the first time in three games, our fans today got a chance to see how (new offensive coordinator) Pat Boies can run the offence. It’s really built to run the football and that’s one of the reasons we went after Coach Boies. But it is a high-rep offence so it’s going to take our young group a while to get used to it and the timing on each play. We basically had three good running backs in the backfield on many formations and they were able to take advantage of the openings created by Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, one of the top linemen in the conference, working in tandem with Robert Ravensbergen, and the others, to open those holes.”
The Mounties lone TD was scored early in the final quarter when McGill return specialist Yannick Langelier-Vanasse fumbled a punt in the endzone and linebacker Te Nguyen of Oakville, Ont., pounced on the loose ball. Langelier-Vanasse. A sophomore from Lachine, fumbled twice in the wet, slippery conditions but he still managed to amass a game-high 202 all-purpose yards, including 169 on 15 punt returns.
Quarterback Brandon Leyh went the distance for Mt. A and completed only 6-of-18 for 38 yards and one pick.
Trailing 36-0, the Mounties finally broke the goose-egg with just over five minute remaining in the third stanza when kicker Kyle McLean registered a 64-yard punt single. He added another 64-yard single early in the final quarter.
Linebacker Justin Richard led the Mounties defence with a game-high nine tackles, seven of them solos. Four different Redmen amassed nine QB sacks, including 2.5 sacks apiece by Tyler Lavin-Brown, Olivier Cain-Tremblay and Charles-Evens Peltrop. Alex Hutchison was credited with 1.5 sacks. Defensive back Joffrey Gorin had McGill’s lone interception while Tyler Nadolny picked one off for the Mounties.
McGill (1-2) will host No.3-ranked Laval on Sept. 21, while Mt. Allison (0-2) hosts St.FX in their Homecoming game on Sept. 22.