Montreal’s motto to begin the 2014 Canadian university football season was “Keep the cup in the city” and that’s exactly what the Carabins did.
Inside a packed Percival Molson Stadium the University of Montreal came through with a thrilling win in the Vanier Cup to capture the first national championship in school history. And there was much to takeaway from the CIS title game.
Danny Maciocia’s first full recruiting cycle successful
In university football it’s not fair to judge a coach until they have had a chance to put a full recruiting cycle together. Danny Maciocia ended his fourth year at Montreal on top of the CIS football world. And it was largely on the strength of players he and his staff brought in since arriving at the university.
Key leaders such as star linebacker Byron Archambault and quarterback Gabriel Cousineau committed to Montreal during Maciocia’s first year with the program. They, along with others, developed and matured into high-level contributors for the 2014 Vanier Cup champs.
Fourth-year receivers Mikhail Davidson and Philip Enchill came up with crucial catches in the title contest. Meanwhile, safety Anthony Coady made two interceptions to earn the Bruce Coulter award as the defensive MVP in the Vanier.
Those are just a few of the athletes in yearfour that were consistent performers in the Carabins’ CIS championship campaign.
Never underestimate Stefan Ptaszek
All week long leading up to the historic 50th Vanier Cup McMaster was considered a sizeable underdog. Not many people around the country were giving the Marauders much chance of even staying close with Montreal in the title game. Credit McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek for using the “Us against the world” tactic to motivate his team.
On Saturday it was a hostile environment for McMaster with 22,649 fans in attendance, most of which were dressed in Carabins blue. But Ptaszek’s team never was intimidated. The Marauders were mentally strong, came out and executed an impressively successful game plan. Utilizing short passes, taking deep shots and mixing in well-timed runs on offence. While on defence McMaster pressured the opposing pivot all day long — that gave Montreal just about as much as they could handle.
If Tyler Crapigna’s field goal attempt inside the final minute isn’t blocked and McMaster goes on to win, we would be talking about one of the greatest coaching performances throughout an entire season in CIS history.
Montreal legit challenger to Laval
For 11 straight seasons Laval was in a class all their own in the Quebec university conference. But with Montreal’s Dunsmore Cup win over their rival and subsequent run to hoisting the Vanier Cup, it made a statement. The Carabins appear ready to challenge the Rouge et Or for the RSEQ throne year in and year out for the foreseeable future.
By winning, prospective student athletes now have proof that Laval isn’t the only school that can win national titles in Quebec. A surge in recruiting commitments is sure to follow like happens for any program that puts a Vanier Cup in their trophy case. And in an ultra competitive conference this national title could turn the tide in Montreal’s favour.
Quebec does university football right
From the early morning hours, fans were gathered outside the gates of Percival Molson Stadium tailgating for the 50th Vanier Cup. Once inside, those same football enthusiasts created an electric atmosphere. It gave the big game a feel it should always have.
Montreal supporters were chanting and creating a near deafening amount of noise when McMaster had the ball. Not only were the Quebec football faithful loud when the opposing offence had the ball, but they know the game well and always cheered at the proper times. Yes, big offensive plays elicit an eruption from the crowd, but so do special teams tackles and tough defensive stops. It’s an educated group that really values and supports our own Canadian-grown athletes.
Regis Cibasu just scratching potential
No. 3 for Montreal completed his first year with the Carabins by recording a team-high 90 receiving yards — 32 came on a twisting catch in the air to setup a critical Carabins fourth quarter touchdown — in the Vanier Cup. For his efforts, Cibasu won the Ted Morris Trophy as the game MVP. That capped a remarkable playoff stretch for the CIS rookie during which he made more catches (33) in four games than he did in eight regular season contests (32).
For the next few years Montreal’s talented freshman will only continue to develop and some scouts — even his own head coach — have said Cibasu has a chance to play in the NFL if he reaches his full potential. Physically you can see he already has a pro body, standing six-foot-three and weighing 220 pounds. And Cibasu possesses natural ball skills and run-after-the-catch ability. So if he continues to work on his speed and becomes a burner, a future NFLer could be growing right before out very eyes.