SHERBROOKE – A 329-yard passing performance from Bishop’s Gaiters quarterback Jesse Andrews went for nought as the Gaiters suffered a 25-20 loss at the Sherbrooke Vert & Or tonight in Quebec University Football League action. The Gaiters were undone by five turnovers, which resulted in 17 Sherbrooke points, as the Vert et Or took the Mayor’s Cup for the third time in four years.
A record crowd of 8,719 at the Stade de l’Université de Sherbrooke was treated to a defensive struggle in the early stages, with both offences showing early-season rust. Sherbrooke broke through with 21 seconds left of the first half, as Jonathan L’Esperance recovered an Andrews fumble and rumbled 35 yards for the touchdown, putting Sherbrooke up 15-7 at the break.
Pascal Fils threatened to blow the game open with a 70-yard touchdown run at 4:57 of the third quarter that stretched Sherbrooke’s lead to 22-7. However, the Gaiters fought back with 5-play, 53-yard drive culminating in Josh Maveety’s third field goal of the night. The Gaiters made the score 22-17 at 12:37 with a 1-yard pass from Andrews to Steven Turner that capped an 8-play, 85-yard drive.
In the final quarter, an 8-play, 68-yard drive put the Gaiters in a position to take the lead but stalled when Andrews’ pass to Turner was caught just outside the corner of the end zone. Maveety then missed a 19-yard field goal that would have tied the game with 4:37 left. The Gaiters’ fourth turnover, a fumble by Shawn Gore, allowed Sherbrooke to stretch the margin back to five points with 1:44 left.
The Sherbrooke defence held on the ensuing drive, picking up their only sack of the night, and forcing a turnover on downs. The Gaiters had one last gasp, as Steven Turner received a punt on the Sherbrooke 20 with time running out, but a game-saving tackle by Dion cemented the victory for the home side.
Sherbrooke’s Dion was perfect on all three of his field goal attempts, while Maveety was 3-for-5 for Bishop’s, scoring a pair of single points. A safety touches for each side rounded out the scoring.
The Gaiters had the edge statistically, outgaining Sherbrooke 430 to 340, and making 26 first downs to Sherbrooke’s 10. The Gaiters held the ball for 34:00 in the game, including 18:52 in the second half, to 26:00 for Sherbrooke.
However, the Gaiters committed five turnovers and were able to score only one touchdown on four trips inside the red zone. Conversely, Sherbrooke committed only one turnover in the game.
Individually, two Gaiters went over 100 yards receiving, as Shawn Gore caught seven passes for 109 yards, while Olivier Mongeau – in his first game since November 3, 2007 – had six catches for 108 yards. John Jean-Baptiste was the leader among the seven Gaiters’ ball-carriers, with 19 carries for 65 yards. Andrews went 21-for-37 for 329 yards and one touchdown. His 329 yards passing was the second 300-yard game of his career.
For Sherbrooke, Pascal Fils was the star of the night with 24 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown. Jean-Phillippe Shoiry went 11-for-18 for 177 yards and an interception. The Vert et Or used seven different receivers, led by Simon Charbonneau-Campeau’s two catches for 40 yards. L’Esperance finished the game with two fumble returns for 81 yards.
The Gaiters (0-1) will host the Laval Rouge et Or (0-0) on Saturday, September 12 in their home opener. Kickoff at Coulter Field is set for 1 p.m., and the game will be televised on Société Radio-Canada. Sherbrooke (1-0) will visit the McGill Redmen (0-1) next Friday night.