The Gaiters flew to last week’s game in Halifax, and came back with team spirits still at 35,000 feet after a come-from-behind win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies. This week, they came crashing down to Earth as they were dismantled 53-11 by the McGill Redmen in a battle of Quebec conference cellar-dwellers on Saturday. The Homecoming crowd of 2,019 at Coulter Field saw the Redmen take a 19-3 halftime lead before running away with the game in the second half, as the Gaiters uncorked their second straight Homecoming stinker.
With the loss, Bishop’s drops to 1-4 on the year, and is now two games out of a playoff spot with just three left to play. McGill improves to 3-2, and is now in a three-way tie for second place with Montreal and Sherbrooke.
While there were failures in all three phases of the game for Bishop’s, it was the defence that seemed particularly lacking on Saturday. Facing a McGill offence that had been ranked fifth in the conference coming into the game, the Gaiters allowed 584 yards of total offence to the Redmen, including 321 yards in the air to rookie quarterback Nicolas English, who went 24-for-30. The Redmen gained 9.4 yards per offensive play and scored on nine of their 13 offensive possessions. Bishop’s only forced the Redmen into one punt, and caused just one turnover, a first-half interception by Jean Gayrard.
Offensively, the Gaiters could only mount three sustained drives, and had four two-and-outs, as they managed 338 yards in total, and 22 first downs. Starting quarterback Mathieu Demers had 134 yards while going 10-for-18 passing. Fellow newcomer Kyle Sheahan was 9-for-13 for 91 yards as he made his first CIS appearance in some fourth-quarter mop-up duty. Vincent Davignon, who had missed the last three weeks after an injury in the season opener against McGill in Montreal, carried 19 times for 100 yards.
On special teams, the Gaiters’ Vincent Dube was 1-for-2 on field goals, and a third-quarter blocked punt turned into seven McGill points, as Charles-William Tremblay picked up the loose ball and scampered 56 yards to the end zone. That miscue made the game 32-3 for the Redmen with 1:36 left in the third quarter, putting the game well out of reach for Bishop’s.
Yannick Langelier-Vanasse opened the scoring for the Redmen on a 23 yard pass midway through the first. In the second, McGill got another major on a one-yard dive by English, as they stretched their lead to 19-3. Louis Brouillette added a single and a field goal, while Dube had a field goal for Bishop’s.
The second-half was all McGill, with Nicolas Khandar, Tremblay, Jonathan Mack, Simon Cossette and Mike Lusikila all scoring touchdowns as the Redmen led by 53-3 at one point. Jamall Hyman-Hamilton added a late consolation touchdown for Bishop’s, with Alex Bouffard scoring a two-point conversion to get Bishop’s into double figures.
For the Redmen, English was 24-for-30 for 321 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Simon Cossette was 5-for-5 for 69 yards in some late relief work. Khandar led the Redmen rushers with 88 yards on 11 carries. English ended up with 43 rushing yards on five carries. Star running back Luis Guimont-Mota was largely invisible, with four carries for nine yards. McGill used 11 different receivers, led by Langelier-Vanasse, who had seven catches for 73 yards.
The Quebec conference takes the Thanksgiving weekend off, meaning the next action for the Gaiters is in two weeks, when they travel to Montreal to face the Concordia Stingers on Oct. 17. The Redmen are back in Sherbrooke on that day, facing the Vert et Or, who upset Montreal 17-12 on Saturday.