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2007 Vanier Cup- Manitoba vs Saint Mary's- 20071123
Photos by Jeff Chan, Chairman of the 1998 and 1999 Vanier Cup, and member of the Canadian College Bowl Board and Vanier Cup Organizing Committees, 1978-2000.
HOWARD LEADS BISONS TO VANIER CUP WIN
The third-ranked Manitoba Bisons (12-0) completed a perfect season Friday night claiming the CIS football banner with a 28-14 win over the No. 4 Saint Mary's Huskies (9-2) in the 43rd edition of the Vanier Cup final. The game was played in front of a crowd of 26,787 at the Rogers Centre, the seventh largest in history and the largest since 29,178 fans watched Calgary beat Western in 1995.
The Bisons, who lost 42-16 to Saint Mary's in the 2001 national final in the only previous meeting in history between the two teams, capture the Vanier Cup for the third time. Manitoba was previously crowned following a 24-15 victory over McGill in 1969 and a 38-11 defeat of Ottawa in 1970. The last team to round out the table in CIS football was the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, who also went 12-0 in 2005.
Defensive back Mike Howard of Victoria, a fifth-year senior playing in his last match as a Bison, was the hero of the night claiming the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as game MVP after he tied a Vanier Cup single-game record with three interceptions. Saskatchewan's Kurtis Albers had three picks against Concordia in 1998. Howard's first interception of the contest came in his own end zone early in the second quarter as Manitoba was trailing 7-6, while his second one, on Saint Mary's next drive, led directly to a touchdown as quarterback John Makie found Steve Gronick on 39 yards at the 6:04 mark to give the Bisons a 13-7 lead they wouldn't relinquish. "They got a big play on me early, I wanted to get them back for the team," said Howard. Makie received the Bruce Coulter Award as the outstanding player on the opposite side of the ball (from the Morris Trophy winner). The fourth-year pivot from Regina, now 21-1 as a CIS starter, finished 16-of-31 for 261 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and also scored on a six-yard run 4:41 into the third frame to increase the Bisons advantage to 20-8. "We won this one for Coach (Brian) Dobie," commented Makie, whose rushing touchdown was his first of the season. "Losing in the first round of the playoffs last year after also going 8-0 was heartbreaking. Coach really rallied us this year, we were on a mission from day one."
Both Makie and Dobie had thoughts for running back Matt Henry following the win. The sophomore from Mississauga suffered a broken right femur at the end of a run with 55 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. "When Matt went down I thought to myself it has to go uphill from here," said Makie. "We rallied as a team. We didn't lose hope after losing Matt, we fought to the end," added Dobie, in his 12th season at the helm. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys."
Saint Mary's opened the scoring 5:22 into the game when quarterback Ted Abraham threw a 13-yard touchdown strike to Fraser O'Neill to cap off an impressive eight-play, 71-yard drive. Manitoba responded with a pair of Scott Dixon field goals before the end of the first frame, from 40 and 27 yards, respectively. After Gronick's major made it 13-7 early in the second, Huskie kicker Justin Palardy rounded out the first half scoring with a rouge off a missed field goal. Following Makie's touchdown run, Dixon added two more field goals, a 32-yarder late in the third stanza and a 33-yarder 54 seconds into the fourth, to make it 26-8. Dixon, a rookie from Victoria, ended up one field goal short of the Vanier Cup single-match mark. Abraham found Shawn White from eight yards out at the 3:35 mark to bring the Huskies back to within 12 points, but Saint Mary's never got closer. A late safety rounded out the scoring. "We went at him (Howard) a couple of times and he got us," said Saint Mary's head coach Steve Sumarah. "Hopefully we can learn from this. Hopefully it'll make us hungry for next year."
Abraham (Bedford, N.S.), starting for injured Hec Crighton Award winner Erik Glavic, was 15-of-32 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was also sacked four times, including twice by defensive lineman Justin Shaw. Saint Mary's Jacque Lumbala led all rushers in the game with 98 yards on 14 carries, while Karim Lowen guided the Bisons ground attack with 88 yards on 19 rushes. Manitoba's Terry Firr led all receivers with 82 yards on four catches, while Gronick finished with 63 yards on three receptions.
Manitoba out-gained Saint Mary's 430 yards to 303 and held a 22-20 edge in first downs. The Bisons were penalized seven times for 83 yards, compared to three flags for 32 yards for the Huskies.
5:22 SMU Fraser O'Neill 13-yard pass from Ted Abraham (Justin Palardy kick), 8-71, 3:30, 7-0
11:50 MAN Scott Dixon 40-yard field goal, 8-43, 3:19, 7-3
15:00 MAN Scott Dixon 27-yard field goal, 5-39, 1:45, 6-7
6:04 MAN Steve Gronick 37-yard pass from John Makie (Scott Dixon kick), 4-55, 2:04, 13-7
9:35 SMU Justin Palardy rouge (30-yard field goal missed), 7-53, 4:51, 13-8
4:41 MAN John Makie 6-yard run (Scott Dixon kick), 7-52, 3:06, 20-8
11:59 MAN Scott Dixon 32-yard field goal, 5-34, 2:01, 23-8
0:54 MAN Scott Dixon 33-yard field goal, 7-46, 2:21, 26-8
3:35 SMU Shawn White 8-yard pass from Ted Abraham (2-point convert fails), 7-75, 2:41, 26-14
10:26 MAN Team safety, 28-14
All photos are Copyright (c) Jeff Chan 2001-2007, but may be used for personal non-commercial use, or with permission by the Vanier Cup and CIS, unless otherwise authorized.
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, except as noted, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan. All other rights, including for all corporate and media use, are strictly reserved, and any use of these photographs without the author’s express written consent is prohibited.