After an exciting regular season of football in the RSEQ, we have reached the semi-finals. Four teams enter: Universite de Montreal Carabins, McGill Redmen, Laval Rouge et Or and Concordia Stingers. In this preview we look at the defending RSEQ champions, Montreal Carabins vs. McGill Redmen in RSEQ semifinal 1.
RSEQ Semifinal 1- The Montreal Carabins vs. McGill Redmen
For the first time since 2004, the Montreal Carabins enter the semifinals as the number one seed. The Carabins will play the 4th seed McGill Redmen on Saturday in Montreal. The Redmen last made the playoffs in 2012. This is the first meeting between the two schools in playoffs since 2004 where the Carabins prevailed to a 38-18 win. Last week, the Carabins beat the Redmen 13-0 in their only their meeting of the RSEQ regular season. The 13 points were the lowest amount of points scored by the Carabins this season.
The Carabins were a dominant force in several games in regular season. They beat Concordia 59-3 and the Acadia Axemen 63-1. The Carabins also have had many close calls in games. In their first game of the season, Carabins beat Rouge et Or 24-21 after they scored 12 points in fourth quarter. They beat Sherbrooke Vert et Or 27-20 after they scored 18 points in the final quarter to win. Their only loss of the regular season was a 22-19 loss to Rouge et Or at home.
The Redmen made the playoffs with a 4-4 record in the regular season. They had some big wins this season, as they beat the Vert et Or 19-18 in Sherbrooke for the first time in eight years. Another huge win was a 21-8 win over the Stingers at Concordia. The biggest loss was a 61-9 beat down at the hands of the Rouge et Or.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the Carabins offence will score more than 13 points. Can the Redmen pull off a gigantic upset make it their first Dunsmore Cup final in 14 years?
Keys to the game
Carabins offense needs to show up–
In the regular season, the Carabins scored 29 touchdowns, but against the Redmen last weekend they didn’t enter the end zone once. Quarterback Samuel Caron threw nine touchdowns for 1,863 yards during the regular season. He also had four rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 300 yards on 46 carries in the regular season.
A key part of their offence this season like previous years was the rushing duo of Sean-Thomas Erlington and Gabriel Parent. Erlington was limited to six games this season but rushed for 316 yards on 51 carries and scored three touchdowns. Parent played in all eight games, had 345 yards on 56 carries and scored three touchdowns as well. McGill limited Erlington to 61 yards on 16 carries and Parent to just 39 yards on 13 carries last week. Carabins receiver, Louis-Mathieu Normandin will be counted on if the running attack does not work early. He had 35 receptions for 613 yards and scored five touchdowns during the regular season. Last week, the Redmen limited him to three catches on 60 yards.
Will McGill rookie quarterback, Frederic Paquette-Perrault be able to handle the pressure?
Frederic Paquette-Perrault had an up and down journey as McGill’s starter this year. He threw five touchdowns for 1,858 yards, and tossed 11 interceptions. In four games this year, he threw two or more interceptions and was held to less than 200 yards passing. His worst game was against the Vert et Or, who held him to 139 passing yards and sacked him four times in a 20-11 loss. He had his best game against the Bishop’s Gaiters when he passed for 465 yards and tossed three touchdowns in a 37-14 win. In last week’s game, he threw for 233 yards but was picked off twice. If Paquette-Perrault finds a way to overcome his interception issues, he could lead the Redmen to a surprising win.
Which team defence will be able to stop the run-
The game could come down to whose defence is able to stop the run. The Carabins led the USports in least amount of rushing yards allowed with 71.5 yards per a game while the Redmen were second in with 72.1 yards per a game. The Carabins’ one-two push of Erlington and Parent might be able to run past the Redmen defenders. On McGill side, they will counter with running back Nicolas Khandar. Khandar rushed for 375 yards on 73 carries and scored one touchdown this season. He had a breakout game against the Stingers where he had 152 yards on the ground. Khandar has breakout speed and the Carabins defenders should keep an eye on him.