The Varsity Blues won a stunning victory in the 51st Red & Blue Bowl on Saturday October 16, following consecutive losses the past two weeks. The Red & Blue Bowl is also known as the Argo Cup, after the cup which the victors get to hoist.
The Blues came to the Varsity Stadium on Saturday hard on the heels of a heartbreaking loss against the Carleton Ravens on October 8, in a game that ended 27–24. That was the Blues’ second loss in a row, following another defeat at the hands of the Queen’s Gaels on October 2. Despite all this, U of T had some individual glory coming into this matchup, with wide receiver Will Corby leading the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with a dominating 101.7 yards per game.
The Blues were looking to turn their luck around with this match against the York Lions, who are still winless this season, heading into the game with three straight losses. As such, this year’s installment of the Argo Cup served as an inflection point in both team’s records and shots at making the playoffs this season. This game also marked U of T’s last home game of the season, so there was a lot at stake for the Blues.
The game did not start as well as the Blues’ offense may have wanted. The Lions played solid defense, leading to a punt on the first drive. The Blues quickly recovered, with defensive lineman Malcolm Campbell forcing a fumble on the Lions and linebacker James Greig recovering on the Lions’ first drive to give U of T possession. Kicker Chris Maclean put three points on the board for Toronto to capitalize on the defensive stop. The Blues’ defense continued to tear apart the Lions’ offense in the first quarter with a 49 yard pick-six by defensive back Cody Hale.
The second quarter was more of the same for the Blues defense — nothing short of dominance. They forced two fumbles, firstly by Tolu Ahmed with a recovery by Jacob Hill, and another a second later by Owen Cassie, recovered by Cody Hale. The Blues’ Jackson Mayer also blocked a punt to add on to U of T’s dazzling defensive performance in the first half.
The Lions defense added an interception in the second, solidifying the defensive stand-off on this rainy Saturday afternoon. The Blues’ offensive woes continued when they allowed a safety, giving the Lions two points. The first half ended 13–2 in favour of U of T after another field goal by Maclean.
The third quarter saw the Blues add an additional fumble to the pile, following a sack by Greig and a recovery by Mayer. The Lions also gave up a strategic safety in the third, adding on to the Blues’ defensive scoring tally. The fourth quarter saw Cody Hale continue his defensive aristeia with a tackle on the York punter to give U of T great field position. The Blues’ offense finally added an offensive touchdown as well in the fourth, with Clay Sequeira tossing a beauty into the hands of Nolan Lovegrove. The Blues took the game with a monstrous final score of 25–2.
This game marks U of T’s first win in the Red & Blue Bowl since 2016. When asked how the Blues plan on keeping up the momentum moving forward, Cody Hale said, “We’re just gonna keep… working hard as a team, and individually.” Coach Marshall added, “Well, obviously our kids feel pretty good… it’s always nice to come out on the winning side of the score. And you know, our defense was tremendous today.”