The videoboard at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton announcing the Western Mustangs' Vanier Cup win. Photo courtesy of Jake McKenzie.

Mustangs Win Vanier Cup, Beat Laval 39-17

The Western University Mustangs have won the biggest prize in Canadian university football.

The Mustangs win their seventh Vanier Cup in school history with a 39-17 win over the Laval Rouge et Or at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton Saturday afternoon. It was their first appearance in the title game since 2008 and their first victory since 1994.

The championship concludes a 12-0 season for the Mustangs.

Western has appeared in the national championship game 13 times, the most among Canadian university football programs. Laval had won the Cup last season and was looking for a repeat.

Quarterback Chris Merchant scored two touchdowns for Western and threw for a third. His first running score accounted for the scoring in the first quarter. Holding an 8-0 lead at the start of the second quarter, running back Cedric Joseph scored his first of the day, running into the end zone from 12 years out and doubling the Western lead to 16-0. Benoit Gagnon-Brousseau caught a pass from Laval quarterback Hugo Richard to get the Rouge et Or on the board, and Western held a 16-7 lead at halftime.

Joseph strengthened the Mustangs lead in the third quarter when his touchdown run extended the lead to 23-7. The defence came through later in the quarter when they collected a two-point safety. Laval responded before the end of the frame with a Marc Liegghio field goal. Western led 25-10 at that point.

Western sealed the win with two back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter, first from Cole Majoros, then the second of the day from Merchant.

Laval put another touchdown on the board with seven seconds left in the game, by Vincent Alarie-Tardif.

Greg Marshall picks up his first Vanier Cup win with the Mustangs as their head coach.  He had previously served Western as an assistant coach from 1982 to 1996 and had won twp Cups as an assistant coach.