November 25, 2011

Marauders win Vanier Cup in double OT


VANCOUVER – Kicker Tyler Crapigna redeemed himself on his second field goal attempt with the game on the line to give the McMaster Marauders their first Vanier Cup title with a thrilling 41-38 double-overtime victory over the Laval Rouge et Or at B.C. Place on Friday night.

Crapigna, playing his first post-season game after recovering from an illness, missed a 30-yard attempt on the final play of regulation, but made good from 20 yards in double overtime to pull off an improbable win over the defending CIS champions.

Quarterback Kyle Quinlan, who passed for more than 400 yards, was named most valuable player of the game while Aram Eisho was named top defensive player.

McMaster was in the Vanier Cup for the first time since 1967 and produced only the second overtime win in the trophy’s 47-year history after Western’s win over Saskatchewan in 1994.

Laval erased McMaster’s 23-0 halftime lead, gave the Marauders back the advantage and forced overtime when Bruno Prud’homme hit Julian Feoli-Gudino with a five-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 left to play.

The teams traded touchdowns on their first overtime attempts, then Steven Ventresca picked off a Prud’homme pass on Laval’s second overtime possession to set up Crapigna’s game-winning effort.

The mostly pro-McMaster crowd of 24,953 at the domed stadium roared their approval as the No. 4 ranked Marauders mugged one another on the field after the upset of No. 1 Laval.

The Rouge et Or, who beat Calgary in Quebec City in last year’s CIS football championship game, lost a Vanier Cup game for the first time in six visits since their first victory in 1999.

Sebastien Levesque’s 44-yard weaving run 1:57 into the fourth quarter put Laval ahead 24-23.

Quinlan marched back with a drive that produced Matthew Peressini’s nine-yard TD run, then got a crucial two-point conversion on a pass to Peressini to snatch back the lead.

The Rouge et Or came back again and tied it at 31-31 on Feoli-Gudino’s catch.

James Hill and Christopher Pazzetta also scored touchdowns for McMaster, while Crapigna added three field goals in regulation.

Gillaume Rioux scored on a punt return, Frederic Plesius got one on and interception and Boris Bede added a field goal for Laval.

Laval seemed to give up momentum early in the game, as Levesque wasted good field position when he was stripped of the ball by Eisho and Ryan Chmielewski recovered on the McMaster 33. The Marauders turned that into a field goal.

A fake punt by backup quarterback Marshall Ferguson kept McMaster’s next drive alive for another Crapigna field goal.

It was all McMaster for the rest of the half. Quinlan completed 12 straight passes to set up a three-yard TD pass to Hill 1:22 into the second quarter and Pazzetta’s 13 yard TD on a draw play up the middle at 5:25.

Crapigna added another field goal for a 23-0 half time lead. Laval’s best chance died when a Bede field goal attempt struck the uprights.

The Rouge et Or adjusted at the intermission and, after a solid stop, Rioux ran a punt back 62 yards for a TD at 3:03 and Plesius picked off a Quinlan pass and ran it in 37 yards for a score only 1:14 later.

The Marauders looked to have struck back decisively when Quinlan hit OUA player of the year Mike DiCroce with a 101-yard TD pass, but what would have been a Vanier Cup record for longest touchdown came back on an offside call.

After Laval added a field goal, Quinlan led another fine drive that died on the Laval three-yard line on a Maxilien Ducap interception that turned into a 107-yard TD drive.