TELUS Vanier Cup: A head-to-head look


November 18, 2013, OTTAWA (ISN) – As the legendary Yogi Berra once famously put it, it’ll be déjà vu all over again when the Calgary Dinos and Laval Rouge et Or face off in Saturday’s TELUS Vanier Cup in Quebec City.

Kickoff for the 49th Canadian Interuniversity Sport football championship final is set for 1 p.m. EST at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium, live on Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360 and Radio-Canada. The game will also be webcast live at

It will mark the fourth meeting in six years on the national stage – and the fourth in history – between the perennial powerhouses, with Laval taking the first three contests rather convincingly. The Rouge et Or prevailed 59-10 in the 2008 Uteck Bowl at TELUS-UL Stadium (then PEPS Stadium), 29-2 in the 2010 Vanier Cup, also in Quebec City, and 41-10 in the 2011 Mitchell Bowl at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

The duel between the third-ranked Dinos (11-0) and No. 2 Rouge et Or (11-0) also marks only the fourth Vanier Cup between undefeated teams in the 49-year history of the event, following 2005 (Laurier vs. Saskatchewan), 1986 (UBC vs. Western) and 1966 (StFX vs. Waterloo Lutheran). 

The winners will become the 14th CIS football program to complete an unblemished campaign. Laval was the last one to accomplish the feat in 2010.

Thanks to its 48-21 victory over Mount Allison in last Saturday’s Uteck Bowl in Sackville, N.B., Laval became the first team in history to advance to four straight Vanier Cup finals. The Rouge et Or had already set a CIS football record a year ago when they captured their seventh national title – one more than Western – with a 37-14 win over McMaster in Toronto, which improved their all-time mark in the championship match to 7-1.

For their part, the Dinos stunned top-ranked and previously undefeated Western 44-3 in the Mitchell Bowl in Calgary to earn their third trip to the Vanier Cup in five years, their first since back-to-back losses to Queen’s in 2009 (33-31) and Laval in 2010. The Dinos are 4-4 all-time in the national final and are looking for their first CIS banner since a 54-24 triumph over Western in 1995.

Saturday’s duel at the top will not be the first this fall between the old rivals. They met at TELUS-UL Stadium in exhibition action back on Aug. 24, with Laval winning 32-3. Remarkably, the Rouge et Or will battle for the national title against the team they faced in the pre-season for the third straight campaign and for the fifth time in eight years, after Saskatchewan in 2006, Western in 2008 and McMaster in both 2011 and 2012.

“This is my fourth Vanier Cup against Laval,” says Blake Nill, who is in his eighth season at the helm of the Dinos after eight years guiding the Saint Mary’s Huskies, and who could become the first head coach in history to win the Vanier Cup with two different programs. “In 1999 I lost by four points, 2003 by seven points, and 2010 by 27. We want to go into this game and play the way we’re capable. I know if we’re able to do that, it will be an outstanding football game for us and the fans and will represent the best of CIS football.

“I consider Glen (Constantin) to be a close friend and colleague. I admire his program and the way he has gone about raising the standard in CIS football.”

Glen Constantin, the most decorated bench boss in CIS football history with six Vanier Cup rings as a head coach, also has the utmost respect for his upcoming opponents.

“The Dinos are a very good football team. They are very physical and excel in all three aspects of the game,” says the 13-year Rouge et Or mentor, whose troops have won a CIS-record 64 straight games on home turf since a 14-13 loss to Montreal on Sept. 19, 2004. They have size and talent on both lines. Their running back Mercer Timmis was courted by many teams and it’s easy to see why. They have progressed immensely since they came to Quebec City in August.”

The old foes have shown many similarities in 2013.

For starters, they both extended conference-record streaks by claiming the RSEQ banner for the 11th straight campaign and the Canada West title for the sixth consecutive year, respectively.

On offence, both teams are led by a third-year quarterback who didn’t begin the season as the starter.

Calgary pivot Andrew Buckley took over from Eric Dzwilewski midway through the Dinos’ conference opener when last year’s Canada West MVP went down with an injury, and ended up throwing for over 2,000 yards in eight outings (2,184). His counterpart Alex Skinner replaced Tristan Grenon, the 2012 Vanier Cup winner, at the mid-season mark to give the Laval offence a boost and completed 68.6 percent of his passes in four league starts.

However, despite Buckley and Skinner’s solid play, both remain run-oriented offences.

The Dinos ranked first in CIS thanks to Hec Crighton Trophy nominee Mercer Timmis, who led the country in rushing yards (1,157) and touchdowns (18). The Rouge et Or finished first in Quebec and fifth in the nation thanks to the three-headed monster of Pascal Lochard (493 yards), Maxime Boutin (449) and Guillaume Bourassa (402), all of whom averaged over 50 yards per contest.

Both teams stuck to the game plan in the national semifinals as Calgary rushed for 305 yards against Western, while Laval racked up 313 versus Mount Allison.

On defence, the Rouge et Or were up to their usual standards in league play, allowing the fewest points in the country (11.5 ppg) for the fifth time in six years and also finishing first against the run (75.8 ypg). While the Dinos’ numbers weren’t quite as spectacular during the regular season, they put together one of the best defensive performances of the year in the Mitchell Bowl, limiting the nation’s top-ranked offence to three points, 256 total yards and 106 yards through the air.

After leading the RSEQ with 8.5 sacks in conference action, Laval defensive end Vincent Desloges has added six in three playoff contests, including a pair in the Uteck Bowl. For Calgary, linebacker Doctor Cassama, the reigning Canada West defensive MVP, lived up to his reputation in the Mitchell Bowl with a 71-yard touchdown off an interception return.

“I’m at a loss to explain this season and how it has gone. We have surpassed a lot of expectations, not only our own but from people around our conference and across the country,” says Nill, who has 11 new starters on defence this fall and lost no less than 15 players to the CFL draft over the last three years, including defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh, the first player selected last spring. “These young kids have put in an incredible amount of work and have made this one of the most enjoyable seasons of my career. This is the best collective effort from an entire program I have ever seen, from the assistant coaches to the academic support staff to our strength and conditioning – everyone has been a key part of the success we have had so far this year, and now we have a chance to compete for a national championship.”

“In order to have success, we’ll have to be able to run the ball and we know we have the resources to do so. Their defensive front is a little different than what we’re accustomed to but it’ll be up to us to adapt,” says Constantin. We also have to dominate on special teams to keep good field position. Defensively, we have to stop the run. Again, they’re a very physical team.”

NOTE: Guillaume Bourassa and Vincent Desloges are two of eight Laval players who will be in uniform for a fourth straight Vanier Cup, along with Pierre Lavertu (OL), Tristan Grenon (QB), Guillaume Rioux (REC/RET), Adam Thibault (REC/DB), Maximilien Ducap (DB) and Yannick Morin-Plante (REC).


When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 1 p.m. EST
Where: TELUS-Université Laval Stadium, Quebec City
Who: No. 3 Calgary Dinos (visitors) vs. No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or (local)
TV: Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360 & Radio-Canada


UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY DINOS (Canada West & Mitchell Bowl champions)

2013 seasonsummary

  • Overall record: 11-0
  • Regular season record: 8-0
  • Regular season standing: 1st Canada West
  • Playoff record: 3-0
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 3
  • Top 10 best ranking: No. 3 (polls 1 & 6 to 10)
  • Top 10 lowest ranking: No. 5 (polls 2 to 5)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked (10 polls): 10
  • Regular season offence points (42.4 ppg): 1st CW / 3rd CIS
  • Regular season offence total yards (549.8 ypg): 1st CW / 3rd CIS
  • Regular season offence passing (317.5 ypg): 3rd CW / 8th CIS
  • Regular season offence rushing (232.2 ypg): 1st CW / 1st CIS
  • Regular season defence points (22.9 ppg): 1st CW / 8th CIS
  • Regular season defence total yards (448.2 ypg): 4th CW / 19th CIS
  • Regular season defence passing (320.6 ypg): 4th CW / 21st CIS
  • Regular season defence rushing (127.6 ypg): 1st CW / 9th CIS

2013 results

  • Aug. 24 (away): Laval 32, Calgary 3 (pre-season)
  • Aug. 31 (away): Calgary 41, UBC 31
  • Sept. 6 (away): Calgary 34, Regina 27
  • Sept. 14 (home): Calgary 36, Saskatchewan 24
  • Sept. 20 (home): Calgary 48, Manitoba 24
  • Sept. 28 (away): Calgary 76, Alberta 21
  • Oct. 4 (away): Calgary 24, Saskatchewan 12
  • Oct. 18 (home): Calgary 46, Regina 27
  • Oct. 25 (home): Calgary 34, UBC 17
  • Nov. 2 (home): Calgary 42, UBC 28 (CW semifinal)
  • Nov. 9 (home): Calgary 43, Manitoba 28 (CW final)
  • Nov. 16 (home): Calgary 44, Western 3 (Mitchell Bowl)

2013 Canada West individual honours

  • Major awards: Mercer Timmis (MVP), Doctor Cassama (defensive MVP), Rashaun Simonise (rookie), Andrew Buckley (Russ Jackson Award nominee), Blake Nill (coach)
  • All-stars offence: Andrew Buckley (QB), Mercer Timmis (RB), Chris Dobko (IR), Sean McEwen (C), Sukh Chungh (G)
  • All-stars defence: Tyler Langlais (DE), Doctor Cassama (LB), Tom Spoletini (LB), Cyril Iwanegbe (DB), Adam Laurensse (CB)
  • All-stars special teams: Johnny Mark (K)

All-time head-to-head vs. Laval

  • Overall record: 0-3
  • 2011 (home): 41-10 loss (Mitchell Bowl)
  • 2010 (away): 29-2 loss (Vanier Cup)
  • 2008 (away): 59-10 loss (Uteck Bowl)
  • Not included in official head-to-head record:
  • 2013 (away): 32-3 loss (pre-season)

Vanier Cup history

  • All-time record: 4-4
  • 2010 (PEPS Stadium, Quebec City): 29-2 loss vs. Laval
  • 2009 (PEPS Stadium, Quebec City): 33-31 loss vs. Queen’s
  • 1995 (SkyDome, Toronto): 54-24 win vs. Western
  • 1993 (SkyDome, Toronto): 37-34 loss vs. Toronto
  • 1988 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto): 52-23 win vs. Saint Mary’s
  • 1985 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto): 25-6 win vs. Western
  • 1983 (Varsity Stadium, Toronto): 31-21 win vs. Queen’s
  • 1975 (CNE Stadium, Toronto): 14-9 loss vs. Ottawa

Head coach: Blake Nill

  • Season: 16th (8th with Calgary / 8 with Saint Mary’s 1998-2005)
  • Career regular season record: 96-32 (.750) / 47-17 with Calgary (.734)
  • Career playoff record: 27-11 (.711) / 15-6 with Calgary (.714)
  • Career overall record (season and playoffs): 123-43 (.741) / 62-23 with Calgary (.729)
  • Career overall record vs. Laval: 2-8 / 0-3 with Calgary
  • Vanier Cup record: 2-4 / 0-2 with Calgary
  • Vanier Cup wins: 2002, 2001
  • Vanier Cup losses: 2010, 2009, 2003, 1999


2013 season summary

  • Overall record: 11-0
  • Regular season record: 8-0
  • Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ
  • Playoff record: 3-0
  • Top 10 final ranking (Oct. 29): No. 2
  • Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (polls 1 to 5)
  • Top 10 lowest ranking: No. 2 (polls 6 to 10)
  • Top 10 number of weeks ranked (10 polls): 10
  • Regular season offence points (34.1 ppg): 1st RSEQ / 7th CIS
  • Regular season offence total yards (419.8 ypg): 3rd RSEQ / 15th CIS
  • Regular season offence passing (203.1 ypg): 5th RSEQ / 23rd CIS
  • Regular season offence rushing (216.6 ypg): 1st RSEQ / 5th CIS
  • Regular season defence points (11.5 ppg): 1st RSEQ / 1st CIS
  • Regular season defence total yards (316.4 ypg): 2nd RSEQ / 4th CIS
  • Regular season defence passing (240.6 ypg): 3rd RSEQ / 9th CIS
  • Regular season defence rushing (75.8 ypg): 1st RSEQ / 1st CIS

2013 results

  • Aug. 24 (home): Laval 32, Calgary 3 (pre-season)
  • Aug. 31 (home): Laval 32, McGill 8
  • Sept. 7 (away): Laval 20, Sherbrooke 0
  • Sept. 14 (away): Laval 26, Acadia 14
  • Sept. 22 (home): Laval 16, Montreal 9
  • Sept. 28 (away): Laval 46, Bishop’s 38
  • Oct. 6 (home): Laval 65, Concordia 9
  • Oct. 20 (home): Laval 38, Sherbrooke 3
  • Oct. 28 (away): Laval 30, Montreal 11
  • Nov. 2 (home): Laval 32, Sherbrooke 11 (RSEQ semifinal)
  • Nov. 9 (home): Laval 14, Montreal 11 (RSEQ final)
  • Nov. 16 (away): Laval 48, Mount Allison 21 (Uteck Bowl)

2013 RSEQ individual honours

  • Major awards: None
  • All-stars offence: Pascal Lochard (RB), Pierre Lavertu (C), Charles Vaillancourt (G), Karl Lavoie (T)
  • All-stars defence: Brendan Tennant (DT), Mathieu Masseau (LB), Abel Boucher (DB), Maximilien Ducap (CB)
  • All-stars special teams: Boris Bede (K & P), Guillaume Rioux (RET)

All-time head-to-head vs. Calgary

  • Overall record: 3-0
  • 2011 (away): 41-10 win (Mitchell Bowl)
  • 2010 (home): 29-2 win (Vanier Cup)
  • 2008 (home): 59-10 win (Uteck Bowl)
  • Not included in official head-to-head record:
  • 2013 (home): 32-3 win (pre-season)

Vanier Cup history

  • All-time record: 7-1
  • 2012 (Rogers Centre, Toronto): 37-14 win vs. McMaster
  • 2011 (BC Place Stadium, Vancouver): 41-38 OT loss vs. McMaster
  • 2010 (PEPS Stadium, Quebec City): 29-2 win vs. Calgary
  • 2008 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton): 44-21 win vs. Western
  • 2006 (Griffiths Stadium, Saskatoon): 13-8 win vs. Saskatchewan
  • 2004 (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton): 7-1 win vs. Saskatchewan
  • 2003 (SkyDome, Toronto): 14-7 win vs. Saint Mary’s
  • 1999 (SkyDome, Toronto): 14-10 win vs. Saint Mary’s

Head coach: Glen Constantin

  • Season: 13th
  • Career regular season record: 91-16 (.850) 
  • Career playoff record: 36-8 (.818)
  • Career overall record (season and playoffs): 127-24 (.841)
  • Career overall record vs. Calgary: 3-0
  • Vanier Cup record: 6-1
  • Vanier Cup wins: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2003
  • Vanier Cup losses: 2011


2012    Laval 37, McMaster 14                        (Rogers Centre, Toronto)

2011    McMaster 41, Laval 38 OT                  (BC Place Stadium, Vancouver)

2010    Laval 29, Calgary 2                             (TELUS-UL Stadium, Quebec City)

2009    Queen’s 33, Calgary 31                       (TELUS-UL Stadium, Quebec City)

2008    Laval 44, Western 21                           (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)

2007    Manitoba 28, Saint Mary’s14               (Rogers Centre, Toronto)

2006    Laval 13, Saskatchewan 8                   (Griffiths Stadium, Saskatoon)

2005    Wilfrid Laurier 24, Saskatchewan 23   (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)        

2004    Laval 7, Saskatchewan 1                     (Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton)        

2003    Laval 14, Saint Mary’s 7                      (SkyDome, Toronto)

2002    Saint Mary’s 33, Saskatchewan 21      (SkyDome, Toronto)   

2001    Saint Mary’s 42, Manitoba 16              (SkyDome, Toronto)   

2000    Ottawa 42, Regina 39                          (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1999    Laval 14, Saint Mary’s 10                    (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1998    Saskatchewan 24, Concordia 17          (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1997    UBC 39, Ottawa 23                             (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1996    Saskatchewan 31, StFX 12                  (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1995    Calgary 54, Western 24                       (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1994    Western 50, Saskatchewan 40 OT       (SkyDome, Toronto)

1993    Toronto 37, Calgary 34                        (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1992    Queen’s 31, Saint Mary’s 0                 (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1991    Wilfrid Laurier 25, Mount Allison 18 (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1990    Saskatchewan 24, Saint Mary’s 21      (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1989    Western 35, Saskatchewan 10             (SkyDome, Toronto)   

1988    Calgary 52, Saint Mary’s 23                (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1987    McGill 47, UBC 11                              (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1986    UBC 25, Western 23                            (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1985    Calgary 25, Western 6                         (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1984    Guelph 22, Mount Allison 13              (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1983    Calgary 31, Queen’s 21                       (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1982    UBC 39, Western 14                            (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1981    Acadia 18, Alberta 12                          (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1980    Alberta 40, Ottawa 21                          (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1979    Acadia 34, Western 12                        (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1978    Queen’s 16, UBC 3                             (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1977    Western 48, Acadia 15                        (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1976    Western 29, Acadia 13                        (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1975    Ottawa 14, Calgary 9                           (CNE Stadium, Toronto)         

1974    Western 19, Toronto 15                       (CNE Stadium, Toronto)                    

1973    Saint Mary’s 14, McGill 6                    (CNE Stadium, Toronto)                    

1972    Alberta 20, Waterloo Lutheran 7         (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1971    Western 15, Alberta 14                        (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1970    Manitoba 38, Ottawa 11                      (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1969    Manitoba 24, McGill 15                       (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1968    Queen’s 42, Waterloo Lutheran 14      (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1967    Alberta 10, McMaster 9                       (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1966    StFX 40, Waterloo Lutheran 14           (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

1965    Toronto 14, Alberta 7                          (Varsity Stadium, Toronto)     

NOTE 1: Rogers Centre was formerly called SkyDome (1989-2003)

NOTE 2: Waterloo Lutheran now Wilfrid Laurier

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