University retires Eric Lapointe's jersey
Mount Allison hosted a special ceremony during Saturday's homecoming football game to retire the jersey of the university's most celebrated player, Eric Lapointe.
They came out like gangbusters and hit paydirt after just two minutes of play and were actually leading 14-7 at the five-minute mark, and the huge turnout of homecoming fans was ecstatic, hardly believing their eyes as their Mounties had the McGill Redmen on the run.
But the dam suddenly burst and the rush was on as the visitors outscored the hometown favorites 41-3 over the final 55 minutes to return to Montreal with their second victory of the season, this time by a 48-17 count.
What made the early theatrics even more unbelievable and exciting was the fact the Mounties were forced to go without the number one quarterback as well as their multi-use corner, punt-returner and kicker.
When the initial shock wore off the Redmen, a highly-regarded and much-improved team, took command and their passing assault proved deadly and unstoppable as a trio of quarterbacks tossed for a record 472 yards, completing 38 of 49 attempts. Often using a six receiver set, the winners made mincemeat of the Mounties secondary as their huge offensive line provided time for throwing.
And the Redmen added 270 yards along the ground, although it was here the hosts had a little more success.
Former Titan Matt Rose launched the opening kickoff and two plays later linebacker Te Nguyen stepped up to pick off a McGill pass on their 11-yard line. This set the stage for Mounties star Jordan Botel who, on third and two, rocketed off a couple of defenders to rack up the team's first touchdown in two league fixtures - actually three games counting their exhibition against St. Mary's.
But just two plays later the Redmen matched things, completing a 51-yard drive in just two plays with the final being a 36-yard gallop.
Not to be outdone the Mounties, behind the signal calling of backup quarterback Alex Field, turned a recovered fumble by Kwame Adjei on the McGill 47 into a major scoring thrust as rookie Rod Joseph calmly pulled in an 11-yarder while moving in the end zone.
But "that was all she wrote", as they say, as McGill moved to the front 20-14 after 15 minutes and were up 26-17 at the intermission. With the score workable the home team had visions of staging a second half rally, but a tough McGill defense and an unrelenting offense had different ideas and actually added 22 more points during the last 30 minutes.
Renaud Leroque, taking over the kicking duties from injured Donovan Saunders, was good on a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter for the final Mountie digits.
The Mounties face a short week to prepare for their next matchup – this one scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. on the David MacAulay Field against the St. Mary's Huskies in a rematch of their exhibition contest.
Alex Field, who did a reasonable job as a stand in at quarterback, said his team was simply unable to match the power of McGill, adding that a pair of turnovers did not help as he threw a couple of picks.
“We caught them by surprise early," commented head coach Kelly Jeffrey," but McGill is a very good team and took the game away from us after the early mishaps."
Big defensive lineman Quinn Everett said he felt the Redmen may have found the natural grass field a little strange but admitted defeat. However, he still believes the Mounties, if they learn to play a full 60-minute game can salvage a season that has not begun the way they had hoped.
This was definitely a game in which statistics told the story with the winners dominating nearly every category. They put up 36 first downs to just 11 for the losers and had 500 more yards of total offense, racking up a fantastic 738 yards. The only close numbers came in interceptions as each team had a pair and sacks with one apiece. But the Mounties did recover a pair of fumbles while refusing to turn the ball over via this route.
With both kickers aiming for the sidelines the punting averages suffered although both sides neared the 35-yard average.
Jordan Botel worked especially hard to pick up 49 yards along the ground. It was a case of the Redmen sending the house and Botel was often met head-on the moment he received the ball and his gains came on brute strength and determination.
While the team, as a whole, did not measure up with their opponents, Tantramar Titan alumnus Michael Bohan stood out like a beacon. He was all over the field, had an interception, two breakups and laid one licking after another on the opposition, including four solo tackles. Matt Montgomery had his busiest day in memory with 12.5 tackles to lead the Mounties, while Fredericton's Jake Dewolfe made 11 from his linebacking spot.
Nguyen notched 9.5 along with an interception, while Dylan Cossar logged 8.5.
Rookie Rod Joseph seems to have made a quick adjustment from the junior ranks. He is running some fine routes and got into position to catch a half dozen balls for 69 yards to lead the way, while Troy Trentham continues to demonstrate the inside spot belongs to him.
Jeffrey said he is hopeful that Brendan Leyh will be recovered and able to play this weekend against the Huskies while it isn't known how long Saunders, an All-Conference choice last season as both a corner and punt returner, will be out.