Western books ticket to Vanier Cup after decisive victory over Acadia

Quarterback Chris Merchant was 10-of-11 for 200 yards and two touchdowns passes to lead the Western Mustangs past the Acadia Axemen 81-3 on Saturday at the Uteck Bowl.

Mustangs have scored a staggering 222 points in 3 playoff games

The Western Mustangs celebrate their 81-3 win over the Acadia Axemen on Saturday to advance to the Vanier Cup. (Ted Pritchard/The Canadian Press)

Quarterback Chris Merchant was 10-of-11 for 200 yards and two touchdowns passes to lead the Western Mustangs past the Acadia Axemen 81-3 on Saturday at the Uteck Bowl.

Western advances to the Vanier Cup, Canada's university football championship, to be held on Nov. 25.

The Mustangs will play the winner of the Mitchell Bowl between Laval and Calgary.

The Mustangs set a Uteck Bowl record for points as they romped over the Acadia Axemen 81-3 to advance to the Vanier Cup 1:01

Merchant also rushed for 54 yards and two touchdowns as Western set a Uteck Bowl record for points scored.

Western dominated the first half, building up a 57-0 lead. They had 26 first downs to Acadia's two and did not allow the Axemen across midfield for the entire half. They also piled up 472 yards on offence to Acadia's 61.

The only thing that was able to stop the Mustangs from scoring a touchdown in the first half was the clock as their ninth possession was cut short when time ran out in the second quarter.

Western coach Greg Marshall took Merchant out for the second half and started to put his back-ups in at other positions, too.

Run game has no trouble

The running back by committee approach didn't slow down the Western ground game at all as Trey Humes matched starter Cedric Joseph by rushing for more than 100 yards. Yannick Harou almost made it, with 98 yards, but he did rush for two TDs.

Acadia finally managed to get the ball over midfield on their first possession of the second half and came close to scoring, but a 32-yard field goal attempt by placekicker Jarett Saumure was wide right and Western was able to run it out of the end zone to keep Acadia off the scoreboard.

The Axemen finally got on the scoreboard when a long pass from Adam Cluett to Eugene McMinns put them deep in Western territory. The drive stalled, but Saumure kicked a 27-yard field goal to break the shutout with 6:54 left in the game and the crowd of 2,815 gave the home team their loudest applause of the day.

Acadia had a complicated path to the Uteck Bowl. It had originally won the Atlantic University Sports football title by forfeit when it was deemed that the Saint Mary's Huskies had used an ineligible player in the regular season.

Saint Mary's successfully challenged the ruling in court, with Acadia playing the Huskies in the Loney Bowl on Tuesday.

The Axemen won that game but had short rest before taking on the Ontario University Athletics champion Mustangs on short rest.


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