In the last minute of regulation with the score even at 29-29, the McGill Redmen (3-3) punted to the No. 8 ranked Bishop’s Gaiters (4-2) in the hopes of playing out the clock and taking the game to overtime. What was supposed to be another routine kick turned into the most exciting play of the game. Defensive back Simon Lamontagne forced a fumble and the ball was kicked on the ground towards the endzone by the Gaiters’ defensive back O’Shane Daley. The ensuing goal line scramble was ended by McGill linebacker Chris O’Kill, but not before another point was tacked onto the scoreboard thanks to a rouge in an odd turn of events. The Gaiters came out on top by the narrowest of margins in a tightly contested affair.
“I’ve seen scenarios like that, but I’ve never seen it basically end the game,” explained Redmen Head Coach Clint Uttley. “There were about five scenarios within that play that had to fall Bishop’s way [for them to win] and all five of them fell Bishop’s way.”
Statistically, the two teams were nearly inseparable. Bishop’s had 32 first downs to McGill’s 31 while gaining 515 yards to the hosts’ 508. However, McGill was playing catch-up for most of the game as they fell behind 22-5 in the first half. The offensive output for the visitors came primarily from the arm of quarterback Jordan Heather. He carved up the Redmen defense to the tune of 438 yards and was able to connect with receiver Adekolu for two touchdowns in the first half.
McGill’s offensive engine was once again led by a balanced backfield combination. However, this time it was senior quarterback Jonathan Collin underneath center, not last week’s CIS Fooball player of the week Pierre-Luc Dussault, who was sidelined with an injury. Collin gained 320 yards through the air while rushing for 50 yards and scoring three touchdowns total. Sophomore running back Luis Guimont-Mota posted his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season with 168. Another McGill sophomore, Jean-Philippe Paquette, had 167 yards receiving.
The start of the fourth quarter saw the game halt for nearly 30 minutes after Gaiters defensive back Jonathan Fortin tackled Collin during a goal line stand. Fortin lay motionless as both squads joined together on the 50 yard line. He was taken away by an ambulance and was hospitalized before play resumed.
All of McGill’s touchdowns came in the second half as they were finally able to find consistency. Uttley attributed it to a renewed commitment to the rushing attack
“It was more a case of us deciding to run the ball [….] because the quarterback for Bishop’s, he’s having a great season,” explained Uttley. “We figured the more we ran the ball, the more time we used up, the more he would sit on the bench.”
The Redmen are currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the RSEQ with two games remaining. One of those will be a rematch against the Gaiters that will take place in Lennoxville. Sherbrooke (2-4) currently sits in fifth place with two games remaining; one against No. 2 ranked powerhouse Laval (6-0), and the other against bottom-feeder Concordia (0-6).
The RSEQ enjoys a bye week during which the Redmen hope to make several adjustments ahead of their next match.
“We have to score more points in the first half. [Also], we have to get rid of all our pre and post-snap penalties […and] learn to defend a lead at the end of a game,” explained Uttley. “We just have to get a little more healthy, because a lot of [our] kids […] are really banged up, so hopefully the bye helps that as well.”
McGill’s next game is against the No. 7 ranked Montreal Carabins in the annual Homecoming game on Oct. 19 in Molson Stadium.