Much of the Canadian football world's attention is on the CFL's Grey Cup this week, but Friday night is a special night for the Canadian university game. Starting at 9 p.m. Eastern on TSN, the Ontario champion McMaster Marauders and Quebec champion Laval Rouge et Or will go head-to-head for the storied Vanier Cup in the first championship game played at the new B.C. Place. It's a huge stage for CIS, and it should be a great environment; over 21,000 tickets have been sold, and the lower bowl of B.C. Place (capacity 25,300) should be close to filled with passionate fans of Canadian football.
Laval comes in as a substantial favourite, which is understandable. The Rouge et Or have been the most dominant CIS team for quite some time now, winning all six Vanier Cups they've appeared in (most recently in 2008 and 2010). They only lost one game this season, and steamrolled over Montreal and Calgary in the playoffs. Still, the Marauders are confident they can hang with Laval; they have a solid passing game with quarterback Kyle Quinlan (seen above), who's excelled since coming back from his midseason suspension, and they've already knocked off solid teams like Western and Acadia to get here. Will they be able to top the powerful Rouge et Or defence and the fearsome running game of Sebastien Levesque, though? Find out below in our live blog, held in conjunction with The CIS Blog. It all starts at 9 p.m. Eastern in what should be a fascinating game.