Mustangs miss repeat, lose 34-20 in Vanier Cup

Cedric Joseph of the Western University Mustangs moves the football during the Mustangs 34-20 loss to Laval in the 2018 Vanier Cup, November 24, 2018. Photo courtesy of Western University Athletics/Twitter.

A chance to repeat as Vanier Cup champions was stuffed Saturday afternoon.

The Western University Mustangs were evenly matched statistics-wise with the Laval Rouge et Or, but it was Laval who prevailed 34-20 in the Vanier Cup in Quebec City. The Mustangs were looking for a repeat of their 2017 Cup win, the highest prize in Canadian university football. Western beat Laval 39-17 in the 2017 contest.

The Mustangs, ranked first in the country, were appearing in their 14th Vanier Cup final and now finish with an 11-1 overall record. The Rouge et Or was ranked second. Western led in total offence with 503 yards, compared to Laval’s 470 yards.

Laval took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hugo Richard to wide receiver Vinc Mombleau. David Cote then kicked a field goal for the Rouge et Or.

Cedric Joseph got the Mustangs on the board with a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to cut the Laval lead to 10-7, but Laval responded with another touchdown pass from Richard, this time to Benoit Gagnon-Brosseau for 22 yards. Marc Liegghio kicked a 38-yard field goal to trim the Laval lead to 17-13 at halftime.

Laval added ten points in the third quarter with a six-yard quarterback keeper from Richard and another David Cote field goal. The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth. Alexis Cote ran seven yards for a score to put the Rouge et Or up for good. Cole Majoros caught a Western touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Merchant.

The Mustangs’ Vanier Cup total remains at seven, having won in 1971, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1989, 1994 and last season.