HAMILTON — Hugo Richard ran in the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon as the Laval Rouge et Or rallied past the Calgary Dinos 31-26 to capture their ninth Vanier Cup.
The third-year Rouge et Or quarterback finished the game 25-of-32 for 339 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while also running for 62 yards on nine carries.
It's Laval's first Canadian university sport national championship since 2013, when they also beat the Dinos. The win also improves the Rouge et Or's record against Calgary to 5-0.
Richard connected with Marc-Antoine Pivin and Antony Auclair for his TDs. Vincent Alarie-Tardif ran for 95 yards on 17 carries while adding a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Laval's Dominique Levesque was 1 of 2 on field goals, converting from 38 yards.
Adam Sinagra came on in relief in the first quarter and completed 21-of-38 passes for 276 yards and an interception for the Dinos.
Calgary's Jeshrun Antwi had 25 carries for 177 yards and Niko DiFonte kicked field goals from 43, 31, 31 and 29 yards. Nick Statz had two of Calgary's seven sacks on Richard.
Sinagra had a punt blocked by Laval's Christian Dallaire with 4:07 left to put the Rouge et Or on the Calgary 15-yard line. Richard would call his own number shortly after from three yards out.
The Rouge et Or, who beat the Laurier Golden Hawks in last week's Uteck Bowl, trailed for the majority of the game after Dinos starter Jimmy Underdahl gave his team a 13-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Underdahl, a fifth-year senior, returned from a five-week absence last week in the Mitchell Bowl to lead Calgary past the St.FX X-Men. Underdahl left the game after being sacked late in the first quarter, appearing to re-injure his knee. He walked off the field under his own and was replaced by Sinagra. Head coach Wayne Harris had waited until Saturday to name his starter.
Adam Auclair gave Laval some momentum with 5:51 left in the first quarter, intercepting an Underdahl throw right after a 47-yard pass to Dinos' Hunter Karl was called back for offside the play prior.
Richard didn't miss his opportunity and threw a 37-yard toss to Pivin and cut the lead to 14-7.
Calgary extended its lead to 17-7 after Niko DiFonte squeaked over a 43-yard field goal on the Dinos' first drive of the second quarter.
Richard was sacked for a fourth time early in the second quarter and the Rouge et Or had to settle for a field goal.
Laval drove the ball down into Dinos territory late in the second quarter but Tyrone Pierre fumbled the ball on the Calgary two-yard line.
DiFonte kicked a 31-yard field goal on the Dinos' first possession of the second half to make it 20-10.
Cedric Lussier-Roy sacked Sinagra deep in Calgary territory to force a fumble in the third quarter. The Rouge et Or recovered and Richard didn't miss his opportunity, connecting with Antony Auclair for a five-yard TD to make it a three-point game.
Vincent Alarie-Tardif capped off a 10-play, 89-yard drive late in the third quarter by punching in a touchdown from three yards out that gave Laval a 24-20 advantage.
Calgary pulled back at 8:12 of the fourth quarter with a 29-yard field goal from DiFonte to make it 26-24.
Note: Canadian indie band Tokyo Police Club played the halftime show.
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