The Laval Rouge et Or's dominant 37-14 win over the McMaster Marauders in the 48th Vanier Cup Friday largely turned on two plays, and they were both made by the same man. Laval trailed 14-12 at the half thanks to a bizarre sequence of events that saw them not pick up any points despite a first-and-goal from the two with 13 seconds left, but the Rouge et Or took a 19-14 lead at 3:15 of the third quarter thanks to an 11-yard touchdown run from Maxime Boutin. Following a Marauders' safety that made the score 21-14, Boutin then made the game-breaking play on the next drive. A spectacular Laval return was nullified by a penalty, giving the Rouge et Or on the ball on their own 26. No problem for Boutin, though; he promptly scampered 84 yards for a touchdown on the next play, eluding tacklers left, right and centre and giving Laval a firm 28-14 lead.
After the game, Boutin said the 84-yard run was thanks to his offensive line and his receivers blocking downfield.
"The o-line did a really good job to open a hole," he said. "I ran in the hole, and after I turned, and the receivers did a really good job and I got a touchdown."
The Laval line dominated McMaster's defensive front all day, and Boutin said that was crucial to the Rouge et Or's 373 team rushing yards on just 46 carries, an average of 8.1 yards per rush. It was a remarkable ground performance, and Boutin credited the blockers for paving the way.
"The offensive line did a good job," he said. "There was always a hole."
Boutin's amazing day was critical as well, though. The line may have opened the holes, but he hit them spectacularly, racking up a 253-yard, two-touchdown performance (with an average of 10.5 yards per carry) that earned him the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as game MVP. It was the second-highest rushing total in Vanier Cup history. He was more thrilled about the game's result, though.
"I mean, it's nice, but I'm very happy with the win."
He said the team was overjoyed to beat McMaster and get revenge for Laval's 2011 loss. Boutin was just a freshman last year, and he didn't record a stat in last year's game, but he and the rest of the team felt the pain of dropping that game in double overtime. They were thrilled to come away with a different result this time, but he emphasized that this was thanks to a season full of hard work.
"It's very crazy, but we worked very hard to have this success."
For Boutin, that success may last a while. He proved to be a dominant player in this one, and he still has plenty of eligibility remaining. Perhaps the rest of CIS should watch out...