Third-year quarterback Jonathan Sénécal completed 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards and ran for 50 yards on five carries, including a touchdown, as the Université de Montreal Carabins earned their second U SPORTS football title, defeating the UBC Thunderbirds 16-9 at 2023 Canada Life Vanier Cup in Kingston, Ont.
The business administration student from Montreal accounted for 221 of his team’s 323 total yards in offence to earn the Bruce Coulter Award as the Vanier Cup MVP.
UBC quarterback Garrett Rooker completed 26 of the 40 passes he attempted for 278 yards in a losing cause.
Montreal opened the scoring on a safety 7:10 into the game and extended their lead to 9-0 by the end of the first quarter on Iraghi Muganda’s 18-yard touchdown run.
UBC kicker Kieran Flannery-Fleck split the uprights twice in the second stanza to cut the Montreal advantage to 9-6 at halftime.
But Sénécal’s seven-yard scamper just over five minutes into the third quarter capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive to extend the Montreal advantage to 16-6.
After that, the 7901 fans, mainly dressed in Carabins’ blue, watched as the vaunted Montreal defence held UBC to just a field goal in the final 30 minutes en route to the victory.
The Carabins' victory ensured that for the second time in the 58-year history of the U SPORTS championship game, the Vanier Cup and Grey Cup champions hail from the same city. It previously occurred in 1980, when Edmonton and the University of Alberta won their respective national titles.