Queen's crowns powerhouse Laval for ticket to Vanier Cup

MIKE KOREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:05 PM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- The Queen's Golden Gaels have spoiled the Vanier Cup party -- and they couldn't be happier.

With the reigning national champion Laval Rouge et Or one win away from earning the right to play the national championship game in front of their rabid fans in Quebec City, the Gaels stepped up and stunned the country's top team.

Queen's advanced to the Vanier for the first time since 1992 with an electrifying 33-30 win over the Rouge et Or yesterday in the Mitchell Bowl before 6,972 fans.

Laval, winner of four of the past six Vanier Cups, was considered a significant favourite after outscoring teams by an average of 43-7 this season.

"The only people that mattered were the 85 people in that dressing room," said Gaels star rush end Shomari Williams, who picked up 3 1/2 of the Gaels' eight sacks on Laval quarterback Benoit Groulx. "We all believed we could win. Everybody else didn't give us a shot, but we knew we could do it."

The 17,000-plus fans who have purchased tickets for next week's long-ago, sold-out Vanier Cup in Quebec will have to settle for a Queen's-Calgary Dinos title clash.

The relentless Gaels, led by defensive ends Williams and Osie Ukwuoma, got in close on Groulx, Canada's top player last season.

The game turned late in the third quarter when Laval's Christopher Milo was wide left on a 44-yard field goal attempt. The dangerous Jimmy Allin took the ball 10 yards deep in the end zone and hustled out, following his blocks all the way down field. He kept his footing on an attempted last-ditch tackle from behind, resulting in a thrilling 120-yard touchdown.

It was a 10-point swing, putting the Gaels up 26-13.

Laval then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Gaels made them pay as QB Danny Brannagan hit Mark Surya for a 20-yard strike to give Queen's a 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter.


Photos