QUEBEC – Saskatchewan and Western seemed ready for a close battle at the Vanier Cup after a tied first half. The Mustangs got a few chances after the half-time break and took full advantage of them.
Griffin Campbell caught two touchdown passes for the top-ranked Mustangs in a 27-21 victory over the Huskies in front of 5,605 fans on a cold afternoon at Telus Stadium. It was the eighth time Western has won the Canadian College Football Championship.
âThe fact that we had a season, a Vanier Cup game and are the champions after going through the pandemic is a testament to the resilience of our team,â said West Head Coach Greg Marshall .
Saskatchewan led 12-10 at halftime, but the Mustangs rebounded after the break. Campbell caught a pass from Evan Hillock for a 50-yard touchdown early in the second half to give Western a lead he wouldn’t give up.
The Western Pivot has given credit to its offensive line.
âI don’t think I’ve been sacked once this year and they continued their great game today,â said Hillock, who was named MVP of the game.
Hillock, who completed 18 of 29 passes for 274 yards, also joined Campbell on a 17-yard touchdown strike on the final play of the third quarter.
Huskies coach Scott Flory said his team missed a few chances.
âWe couldn’t find our traction at the end of the third quarter (and) it led to some big Western plays,â he said.
Brian Garrity kicked a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give Western a 27-14 lead.
Josh Ewanchyna scored on a one-yard run with 32 seconds left to give the No.2 Huskies some hope, but the Mustangs recovered an off kick attempt and ran out of time.
Saskatchewan running back Adam Machart, a member of Canada’s first all-star team, was limited to just 78 yards on 16 carries by the West defense. Huskies quarterback Mason Nyhus completed 28 of 40 passes for 303 yards with a touchdown pass.
âOur defensive line did a terrific job against one hell of a offensive line,â said Marshall.
With the pitch icy and hard, Trey Humes returned the opening kickoff for 33 yards to give the Mustangs a strong field position at their own 40-yard line.
Just under three minutes later, he ran 25 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Huskies had to wait until their third possession to get on the scoreboard. After a pair of three-and-outs, David Solie kicked a field goal for 26 yards to reduce Western’s lead.
Saskatchewan took the lead with 9:57 left in the first half when Daniel Perry caught a 22-yard touchdown pass. The Huskies missed the extra point but still led 9-7.
Garrity kicked a 23-yard field goal late in the second quarter to give Western a 10-9 lead. Solie gave Saskatchewan the lead again before the half with a field goal of 24 yards.
Western’s Daniel Valente Jr. was named defensive player of the game.
It was the Mustangs’ first Vanier Cup victory since their loss to Laval in 2017 in Hamilton.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 4, 2021.
Luc Lang, The Canadian Press