Unlike the NCAA, Canadian university football has a playoff to determine their national champion. Today was the semi-finals and our Western Mustangs took on the Laval Rouge et Or in Quebec City in a battle of the first and second ranked teams in the country. The winner of this game would advance to the Vanier Cup national championship game. So who took one more step to national supremacy and whose season ends early? Our live blog, analysis and expert analysis after the jump.
@LowdownFM Live Blog
12:00 PM – Almost kickoff time at a cold & snowy PEPS in Quebec City for today’s Uteck Bowl between Western and Laval. Today’s keys to the game…
12:01 PM – UWO: Full 60 Minutes – The Stangs haven’t put forward a full game effort against a quality opponent this yr. Need that to win today.
12:02 PM – LAV: Hold The Line – At the 2008 Vanier Cup, Laval dominated the line to win the game. Hold the line, stifle the run, win the game.
12:04 PM – RT @TheSteveMurray: Uteck Bowl here we go… Rod Black? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!1!
[SM: Yeah, it was bad. It was Rod Black on play-by-play after all.]
12:19 PM – Western will kick off to start the game.
[SM: When you’re on national TV, you bend to their schedule. Even if that means waiting until 19 minutes after the hour to start the game.]
12:20 PM – Rouge UWO – Laval lets the kickoff bounce into the endzone. Western leads before time comes off the clock. UWO 1 – 0 LAV
12:26 PM – Missed field goal by Laval. Milo’s 35-yd kick is twisted wide left by the wind and Butler runs it out. UWO 1 – 0 LAV
[SM: A rare miss by one of the nation’s best kickers. He also missed his first kick of the 2008 Vanier Cup against Western.]
12:27 PM – Interception by Laval. Marshall goes deep on his first play of the game and gets picked by Dominique Noel. UWO 1 – 0 LAV
[SM: Started his theme for the day with this one.]
12:37 PM – Red zone alert: Laval has it 1st & 10 inside the UWO 15.
12:40 PM – Just confirmed with @WesternMustangs Andy Watson via their live blog. Ref is from QUFL but other officials from AUS.
12:41 PM – Field goal Laval – Milo makes no mistake this time. Splits the uprights from 25 yards out to give the R&O their 1st lead. UWO 1 – 3 LAV
12:42 PM – Western elects to start their drive from the 35-yard line as opposed to receiving the kickoff.
12:47 PM – Big hit by Marc-Antoine Fortin on Marshall to force a fumble. Stangs recover on their own 35 and will punt. LAV gets it at 55.
12:51 PM – That’s the first 15 in the books. Laval’s controlled the play so far but the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it. UWO 1 – 3 LAV
12:53 PM – RT @neatebuzzthenet: Laval outgains Western 128-6 in the opening quarter of the Uteck Bowl.
12:54 PM – Red zone alert: Laval has a 1st and goal at the Western 9. Threatening for their 1st major of the day.
[SM: But couldn’t quite get there. They could only get to about the Western three-yard line.]
12:56 PM – Field goal Laval – A chip shot by Milo doubles the R&O’s points for the game. UWO 1 – 6 LAV
1:09 PM – RT @MoDaCoatLFPress: The wind is really blowing now. Western is going into it.
1:10 PM – Interception by Laval. UWO finally looks to be threatening but Marshall is picked off by Olivier Turcotte-Letourneau.
1:16 PM – At the three-minute warning, what Rod Black calls a defensive battle we call bad luck for Laval. Closer than it should be UWO 1 – 6 LAV
[SM: Very exciting second quarter up until this point.]
1:20 PM – Interception by Western. Nick Shuster leaps and comes down with a pass Prud’Homme was trying to throw away.
1:22 PM – Western punts on 3rd and 2. Laval lets the ball bounce and Wheeler recovers his own punt at the 34. A Wheeler special, as it were.
[SM: Not the first time that we’ve seen Wheeler make a heads up play like that one.]
1:24 PM – Red zone alert: Big run by Jerimy Hipperson brings UWO to 1st and goal at the 7.
[SM: The Stangs rode Hipperson the whole way on this drive. Not surprising considering how well Donnie was doing.]
1:25 PM – Hand off right back to Hipperson who rumbles to the 1-yd line. 0:45 left in the half and ticking.
1:27 PM – Close call for UWO. Offside against Laval negates a Hipperson fumble on the 1.
1:28 PM – Mustangs get a fresh set of downs but Hipperson stopped at the line.
1:28 PM – TOUCHDOWN UWO! Ian Noble calls his own number. Up and over for the first major of the game. UWO 8 – 6 LAV
1:32 PM – After the first half, a late charge by the Mustangs gives them the lead. Laval is still good quality to win it. UWO 8 – 6 LAV
[SM: Remember those words.]
1:54 PM – Western receives the ball to start the second half. Will open their drive at the 35-yard line. UWO 8 – 6 LAV
2:14 PM – Lirim Hajrullahu is out to kick from about 47 yards out. Laval takes a timeout to freeze the kicker. UWO 8 – 6 LAV
2:16 PM – Field goal UWO – Hajrullahu’s kick is just long enough to clear the crossbar by less than six inches. UWO 11 – 6 LAV
2:24 PM – Three quarters down, one to go. Western has their biggest lead of the day but you know Laval can bust out at any time. UWO 11 – 6 LAV
[SM: Yeah, the third quarter wasn’t very good. Nobody really threatened or did anything noteworthy.]
2:43 PM – Interception by Laval – Marshall’s pass was bobbled by Thibaudeau and Olivier Turcotte-Letourneau takes it to UWO 30. UWO 11 – 6 LAV
[SM: Not really Marshall’s fault on this one. Actually hit Thibaudeau in double coverage but the ball was still turned over.]
2:46 PM – Field goal Laval – Milo hits his 3rd field goal of the game to cut it back down to a two-point lead. UWO 11 – 9 LAV
2:56 PM – At the three-minute warning, Laval is threatening again and is in field goal range. Western still holding on. UWO 11 – 9 LAV
2:59 PM – Bruno Prud’Homme just got rocked by Adrian Kaiser. Lost the ball & helmet in the process. Laval recovers at about UWO 21.
[SM: Prud’Homme went down on the play and didn’t come back. We’ll have to see if he comes back next week in the Vanier Cup.]
3:01 PM – Field goal Laval – Milo splits the uprights to retake the lead with a 29-yard kick. Only 1:46 left. UWO 11 – 12 LAV
3:02 PM – Interception Laval – UWO starts on their own 35-yard line. Marshall throws it straight to Samuel Lavaud. Not looking good for UWO.
[SM: Ball may have been tipped at the line. Still, you can’t give the ball away on the first play of a game-critical drive like that.]
3:06 PM – Rouge Laval – Milo punts the ball toward the sideline but it bounces into the endzone and out the side. 1:04 left. UWO 11 – 13 LAV
[SM: And that negated a chance to punt to tie. Now Western needed at least a field goal.]
3:09 PM – Mustangs moving the ball with less than 20 seconds left. Marshall, Riva and Trevail combine to get ball inside LAV 40.
[SM: Marshall completed passes to Riva and Trevail while he and Riva also gained yardage on the ground.]
3:10 PM – Marshall calls his own number. Maybe one yard. 10 seconds left.
[SM: Like father, like son. A Marshall calling for a run up the gut should be expected.]
3:11 PM – Kody Campbell down on the field. Hajrullahu’s only FG was from 47 w/ wind. Need to gain yards here.
3:12 PM – Marshall lobs it up to no one and finds the sideline. Hajrullahu will kick against the win from near 45 yards.
[SM: He had to throw it to stop the clock.]
3:13 PM – Kick is… NO GOOD. 45 yards into the wind and it’s short. Laval will go to the Vanier Cup next week at home. UWO 11 – 13 LAV
[SM: Poor Hajrullahu. He was hung out to dry by the fact his offence couldn’t move the ball except for one drive in the second quarter.]
3:14 PM – Heartbreaking loss for the Mustangs. Led for huge chunk of the game but had no offence in the 2nd half. UWO 11 – 13 LAV
3:17 PM – RT @TheSteveMurray: If there was an alliterative way to do Cardiac Mustangs, the name would stick after the last two weeks.
3:23 PM – Laval with an “All the way!” chant as they’re handed the Uteck Bowl. TSN player of the game: Sebastien Levesque 18 carries for 110 yds.
3:25 PM – We would have given it to Chris Milo. 4/5 on field goals with the rouge. All Laval points on the board were his.
[SM: And even though they’re the best team in the country, they aren’t going to win if the kicker is the only one doing the scoring.]
Neate Sager (@neatebuzzthenet) – Styles make fights; let’s just say Laval propped up Western by being so unimaginative and uninspired on offence.
Russ Courtney (@RussCourtney22) – Crushing loss for @WesternMustangs 13-11 to Laval in Quebec City. Great defensive performance, game really could have gone either way.
Elliott Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) – Tough loss for Western, 13-11 to Laval. Rouge et Or defence deserves all credit
Antoine Deshaies (@antoinedeshaies) – Laval aura enfin la chance de mettre la main sur la coupe vanier a la maison ! Folie a prévoir au peps !