The York University Lions defeated the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 36-24 to claim their first Argo Cup since 2007 in the 43rd annual Red & Blue Bowl on Saturday at Varsity Centre.
The Blues and Lions now have identical 2-5 records heading into the final week of the regular season.
Fifth-year running back Kyle Exume was named York’s player of the game after a three-touchdown performance. He finished the game with 147 all-purpose yards, including 132 rushing on 24 carries, and 15 receiving yards on three receptions. He also contributed on defence with one sack and one tackle.
Quarterback Myles Gibbon was also strong on his feet in the contest, recording 135 rushing yards on 15 carries. He also went 12-for-28 for 215 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions. He came up big several times when the team needed him, helping to convert seven of 11 third downs in the game.
The Lions opened up a huge 30-9 lead over the Varsity Blues in the first half, but Toronto chipped away at the deficit in the second and got it to within six with 10:48 left on the clock, at 30-24. But the Lions found the end zone when they needed to with 1:07 remaining on Exume’s third touchdown to cap the win.
The Lions opened the scoring on the first drive of the game as Exume capped off a seven-play, 52-yard drive with a 13-yard run into the end zone.
The Blues added a field goal, safety and rouge as the visiting Lions held a narrow 7-6 lead after the first quarter.
Exume scored his second touchdown of the day on a seven-yard rushing major. York continued to press on the ensuing drive, as sophomore defensive back Belah Small picked off an errant Richard Quittenton pass and returned it 47 yards for the touchdown, giving the Lions a 21-6 lead midway through the frame.
With less than one minute remaining in the half, Gibbon finished an eight-play, 92-yard drive with a three-yard passing touchdown to Nathaniel Griffith. The drive included a 44-yard completion to Alex Bugdahn and 26-yard pass to Lashane Oldacre as the Lions quickly marched down the field.
Blues veteran kicker Andrew Lomasney added his second field goal of the game on the last play of the half, and the Lions held a 30-9 lead at the break.
The Lions started the third quarter off with a bang when second-year defensive back Jordan Nugent picked off Quittenton and returned the ball 30 yards. But the Lions couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing drive, and from there the Varsity Blues dominated play in the third.
Nugent was the Lions’ top defender on the day, posting a team-high six tackles and breaking up two passes to go along with his interception.
The Blues put up the only points of the frame as Quittenton rushed one yard for a major. The Lions led 30-16 heading into the fourth quarter.
Blues running back Ashton Nelson helped the home team narrow the gap even further, capping off a five-play, 59-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown, but that was as close as they would get.
Fifth-year defensive back Andrew Collymore ended Toronto’s final drive with an interception he returned for 25 yards to deep within Blues territory. The Lions took a knee after that, capping off their second win of the season.
The Lions have one more game in 2012 and will wrap up the campaign against the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, Oct. 20. Kick-off is set for 1pm, and prior to the game the Lions will honour their 13 graduating players.