The Montreal Carabins and University of British Columbia Thunderbirds each advanced to the Vanier Cup on Saturday with convincing bowl wins on home turf.
The Carabins scored a convincing 29-3 win over the Western Mustangs in the Uteck Bowl at CEPSUM sports centre, while UBC crushed the visiting St. Francis Xavier X-Men 47-17 in the Mitchell Bowl at Vancouver’s Thunderbird Stadium.
In Montreal, quarterback Jonathan Senecal staked the Carabins to an early lead when he finished off a 70-yard drive by hitting receiver William Legault in the end zone with a six-yard touchdown pass with 5:42 remaining in the first quarter.
Running back Carl Chabot added a one-yard rushing TD late in the second quarter. Montreal led 24-0 at the half.
Carabins kicker Philippe Boyer was perfect on four field-goal attempts, the longest being from 42 yards, and also chipped in with a pair of extra-point conversions and a rouge. Western’s only score was a 21-yard field goal from Brian Garrity late in the third quarter.
Montreal finished off the scoring in the fourth quarter with a safety.
Senecal completed 21 of 28 passes for 228 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also Montreal’s leading rusher with 38 yards on six carries.
WATCH | Western Mustangs vs Montreal Carabins in the Uteck Bowl:
Western quarterback Evan Hillock was 15-for-29 for 212 yard with three interceptions. He was sacked five times.
Mustangs running back Ethan Dolby rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries.
Montreal defensive back Nicolas Roy had a stellar game on defence, recording six tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery.
American Garrett Rooker leads UBC to win
At UBC, Thunderbirds quarterback Garrett Rooker delivered a masterful performance, completing 14 of 18 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns.
Rooker, a third-year player out of League City, Texas, torched St. FX for a pair of touchdown passes — to Sam Davenport and Dane Kapler — in the opening quarter as UBC stormed out to a 14-0 lead.
X-Men quarterback Silas Fagnan cut the lead to 14-7 in the second quarter with a four-yard TD run, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
The Thunderbirds scored 16 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Fagnan completed 11 of 19 passes for 142 yards with no touchdown completions and one interception.
WATCH | UBC defeat the StFX X-Men in Mitchell Bowl:
“It feels great. It’s been a challenge for us most of the year, [we were in] a very tough conference, and every game was down to the second half and the final moments of the fourth quarter,” UBC head coach Blake Nill said. “It’s good to reach our goal and get a chance to compete for a national championship.”
UBC running back Isaiah Knight gained 104 yards on 15 carries, while Cesare Rednour-Bruckman dazzled on a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The Vanier Cup, Canada’s national university football championship, will be played Nov. 25 at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont, streaming live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.