Led by Jonathan Sénécal in his prime, the University of Montreal Carabins’ air attack has been running at full speed since the start of the season and the University of Laval Rouge et Or tertiary line is fully aware of the task What awaits them at PEPS on Sunday, when the two great rivals will meet for the first time this year.
“It’s a dream match between two great teams,” summarized star defender Cristophe Beaulieu. It’s going to be a wonderful day. We play football for moments like this. There’s no better time than when you’re celebrating a big play with your teammates and the crowd is screaming. »
The Carabins had to deal with numerous injuries among their receiving group last year. Hassane Dosso, RSEQ’s top receiver in 2021 with gains of 757 yards, is back in great shape after playing only one game in the regular season last year, due to a shoulder injury.
“The Carabins are committed to having complete rosters and all the starters are there,” said safety Félix Petit. There are several veterans in a mature group and they have developed good chemistry. »
If Sénécal hasn’t taken advantage of his legs since the start of the season to stay warm in the pocket, it could be a very different story against the Red and Gold.
“You will have to contain his runs and avoid improvised plays where you think you have attacked him, but which turn into long gains and break the defense’s legs,” Petit explained. He runs in anticipation of the launch. »
Improved tertiary line
The popular belief has long been that you had to throw the ball if you wanted to have any chance of beating the Rouge et Or, who have always relied on a solid defense to counter the running game.
Beaulieu is hopeful the Red and Gold tertiary can compete with the best passing offenses. “We feel comfortable facing good attacks. We have guys that want the ball as much as the receivers and we have a good game plan. Communication is good between us. »
Petit believes that the group of defensive backs is stronger than in 2022. “We have more experience and we saw all the colors last year in the playoffs,” he explained. This experience and this experience help us. »
Glen Constantin shares this view. “With guys like Petit, Beaulieu and Lavallée (Maxym) who are the glue of the group and who help a lot, the tertiary line is a strength,” said the Rouge et Or coach. With the training and the arrival of top-level young people, we are better than last year. »
Among these youngsters, freshman cornerback Émil Barthélémy will find himself opposite Dosso on the short side of the field.
A poison against the Rouge et Or
If Dosso represents a big threat, we must also take into account Carl Chabot, who often stood out in the games against Laval. The fourth-year slotback is ready for this meeting.
“It’s an extra challenge to play at FIFO in front of a big crowd, but we all love it,” he said. We play for this type of game. It’s a great rivalry that is even more alive this year because I am in my fourth season. »
The 25-24 loss with a red on the last play of last year’s game has not been forgotten. “The motivation is even greater because we lost in the finals last year,” said Chabot. This is the first time in my career I have lost the Dunsmore Cup. Add more fuel to the fire. »
Despite issues with the passing game in 2022, Chabot never had any doubts about the group’s potential. “I never had any doubts about what we are capable of doing,” he said. We are more mature and it shows in the preparation. »