A Rouge et Or match against Carabins often takes on a special character. That of Sunday afternoon risks being in the same line, because a perfume of “game of series” floats above the TELUS-UL Stadium, which will be filled to the cap for the occasion.
Defeated 21-18 in Montreal earlier this fall, the Rouge et Or (5-1) need a victory by at least four points to take a very serious option on the championship of the season regular. A title that also comes with the advantage of the field in the playoffs.
This is what makes the star linebacker of the Montreal Carabins (5-0), Nicky Farinaccio ( see text below), that this long-awaited duel is worthy of the post-season. “The whole team, we count that game as a playoff game. We want the advantage. We want to play the Dunsmore at home. »
The match will be sold out. Just over 18,000 people will fill the stands of the TELUS-UL Stadium and its athletics track. Something that hadn't happened since 2019.
For many players, this will be their first experience in front of such large and vocal fans. “All the players are eager to experience that emotion,” Glen Constantin said at the team's weekly press briefing last Thursday.
“That's what Glen had given us. promised in recruitment and finally it materializes. I can't wait to see the stadium and the crowd. I'm sure it can energize the team,” says Arnaud Desjardins.
“They can't wait”
Les Bleus head coach Marco Iadeluca is aware that his players will have to deal with a hostile environment. But he also wonders what the effect will be on local favourites.
“The guys are excited, they can't wait. I can't wait to see how our guys will react in this game. I can't wait to see how their players will react,” he said.
Wide receiver Carl Chabot doesn't want to be intimidated by the crowd and he would like to keep it quiet.  ;
“It's one of the best feelingswhen there are 20,000 people who suddenly stop talking. We didn't say we wanted to silence the crowd, but by playing our games, it happens naturally. »
Constantine at the top
If the Rouge et Or win this confrontation, it will also mean a 197th career victory for Glen Constantin. He would thus find himself with the title of the most successful head coach in the history of Canadian university football.
“The head is not there. The head is in the preparation. I'm not crazy, the world has been telling me about it since the first gameof the season. Those who know me know that's not why I coach football. The number that matters to me is the score, to have one more point than the Carabins. Even four more points would be even better,” he laughs.
Farinaccio will be a player to watch
Glen Constantin didn't hesitate to throw flowers at Montreal Carabins linebacker Nicky Farinaccio when we asked him to give us his thoughts on the second-year player.
“He's a guy who plays football at 110 miles an hour all the time. He seems to make big plays all the time. It is certain that we must have an eye on this guy, ”he argued.
The product of André-Grasset's Phénix has caused all the colors to opposing offenses this season. The numbers speak for themselves and put him in an enviable position to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Leads the league
Farinaccio leads the league in quarterback sacks with 8.5. He also tops the list for average tackles per game (5.4), number of tackles for loss (10) and number of fumbles forced (3).
The stats column doesn't usually occupy one's mind, although those numbers can provide a slight sense of pride.
“Yes, it's a team sport and at the end of the day I want to win with my teammates. That's what counts. It's not really my stats. But, you still have to be proud of yourself in life, right?,” he said.
From Red to Blue
Constantin had also managed to recruit Farinaccio, who had made a verbal commitment with the Rouge et Or. The 23-year-old athlete then changed his tune when Marco Iadeluca was appointed to the Carabins bar.
Université Laval quarterback Arnaud Desjardins knows very well what the number 5 in front of him can accomplish.
“It’s still impressive what he managed to do this year. He's a really good player. You have to live with that. We also have great blockers to block at the line of scrimmage. We don't necessarily make a game plan for him, but he's definitely a player we want to know where he is on the field, ”said the quarterback.
In the first game Between the two teams, Farinaccio and his defensive teammates had complicated Desjardins's life. The latter had completed only 17 of his 29 passes for gains of 138 yards, in addition to throwing an interception reported in the end zone and letting out a ball recovered by the opponent.
“C I'm sure with the game we had against them last time, I think we can contain them. They did things well. But we can do it”, hopes Farinaccio.
He will soon have his answer.