The opportunity to make sparks

Opportunity to spark

DAY

Kevin Mital and Arnaud Desjardins form a fiery duo that has burned the league this year, with the exception of their first game against the Carabins where they were extinguished by the Montreal defense. What could be better than a duel in front of 18,000 fans in Quebec City to rekindle the flame?

The Rouge et Or offensive spark plug had a difficult match during its visit to the Claude-Robillard sports complex on September 10. 

After wowing the gallery with a performance of four touchdowns – a record for a Rouge et Or pass receiver – Kevin Mital was limited to six receptions and 47 yards.

Meanwhile, Arnaud Desjardins only completed 17 of 29 passes for 138 yards. He threw an interception in passing – brought back into the end zone – in addition to dropping a ball which was recovered by the opponent.

The quarterback does not put his head in the sand thinking back to that game. 

“There were several mistakes we made, me first, he admits. It's hard to explain what happened at the Center Claude [-Robillard]. It was by far our worst game in terms of execution. I think our preparation was maybe a little less good that week. »

Arnaud Desjardins (behind) is protected by his offensive line.

The Awakening Ground Attack

But a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since this defeat, and the two acolytes ensure that the team has “progressed a lot” since then. Especially the ground attack, which kicked off after that game and hasn't stopped improving since. 

“It brings another aspect to the offensive. The other teams have no choice but to respect us more on the ground. It opens up opportunities when you throw, and when you throw they respect on the ground, ”says Mital, who made sure to distribute flowers to the running backs committee.

“It kind of put us a little wake-up calltoo,” adds Desjardins, who leads the league with 15 touchdowns this season. His closest pursuer, Carabins quarterback Jonathan Sénécal, has six.

“I think that since then, offensively, we've been really solid, whether it's running or passing. We really have a good balance, which we didn't necessarily manage to achieve in Montreal,” adds Desjardins.

Pressure

The latter again expects to face a lot of pressure from the Carabins defensive front. The second-year pivot, however, believes that the team has “a good plan” to deal with this pressure and that the players are “prepared for any eventuality”.

“It is the identity of Denis [Touchette, the defensive coordinator of the Carabins]. He loves bringing a lot of people under pressure. I think we're getting to know them too and they're getting to know us. Surely this is something they will want to do. I think we have a good plan for that and we are ready for any eventuality.

A speech that resonates with Kevin Mital. 

“It is certain that Justin Éthier is aware of this pressure. I think we have several games that will be ready to counter their aggression. It's all about execution on game day. Everything is in place to be ready for any eventuality in attack. »

Break the Curse

The last five games between the two great rivals have all been in favor of the Blues. Faith of Kevin Mital, it is time to break the “curse”.

“I think we are due to beat Montreal”, launches the explosive number 8.

The second-year player has never savored a victory against Montreal's sworn enemy and he thinks that Sunday's game would be the perfect opportunity.

“There's definitely like a little curse to break. Want, don't want, maybe it's them we're going to face in a few weeks. Should break the cursefrom Sunday. »

Alarie-Tardif wants to continue his momentum

Charles-Lee Alarie-Tardif, Defensive end

A first start this season combined with a good performance against at Green & Gold have pumped up defensive end Charles-Lee Alarie-Tardif, who wants to continue this momentum.

The Rouge et Or's visit to Sherbrooke on October 7 not only allowed the second-year player to start, but he had to play “inside”, something he hadn't done since CEGEP.

With 3.5 tackles, a quarterback sack and a knockdown, it is clear that he was able to perform his task effectively. 

“It's been a long time since I've seen such a large amount of land. I think I showed what I was capable of doing. I think I can now see as much ground inside as outside. It's one more string to my bow,” says the Champlain College-Lennoxville Cougars product.

“I want to perform”

Alarie -Tardif wants to continue to show that he can help the team, “no matter where I am on the field”. 

“I want to perform. You can put me as kicker or quarterback, at the end of the day, my goal is to perform. I want to win. I am a winner. I hate doing a bad performance.

However, he refuses to create expectations for the rest of the season.

“I prefer to arrive with my head free, no matter what will happen, I will be ready. If my role is to be second or first, I will be. »

Watertight defense

Concerning future opponents, Alarie-Tardif believes that it will take “a defense as watertight” as the one we saw during of the first duel between the two enemies earlier this fall.

He had just seen some action in this game, where he had completed a tackle. “We didn't make a lot of mistakes. We did what we all had to do together. We had good communication. That was the key to success,” he recalls.

To emerge victorious on Sunday, he believes more will have to be done. The defensive unit will have to “contain Jonathan [Sénécal] in his pocket” as it did in September. 

He believes he can repeat the feat. “We are improving during the season. You have to have a better performance, period. And we're going to have one. I'm not worried. »