Dinos clinch perfect record at home

By Chris Pedersen

The University of Regina Rams performed one of the best turkey impersonations ever witnessed as they were butchered 31-5 by the University of Calgary Dinos on Saturday.

The win marks the first time since 1995 the Dinos have won all four home games and with perfection at home confirmed, the Dinos are now fighting to secure home field advantage through the playoffs.

The Dinos are also now ranked fourth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top ten, the highest they’ve been since 1998.

“It is very important, this is the first time since 1995 that we’ve won all four home games,” stated Dinos head coach Blake Nill. “We are a good home team and we need to play the playoffs at home if possible.”

Calgary exploded on offence, obliterated receivers on defence and pushed the Rams further from a playoff spot on a windy, frigid day at McMahon Stadium. The Rams committed 10 turnovers in the game– five of those coming on failed third down conversions. On the Calgary side of the ball, the offence racked up 442 yards, three field goals and three touchdowns. Dinos running back Matt Walter rushed for over 200 yards, bringing him to second place in the Canada West rushing race, behind Luke Derson of Regina, who was held to 60 yards on the day.

The best script writer in Hollywood could not have written a better story in the first half. With minimal mistakes, the Dinos completely dominated the opening frames. The biggest mistake came with the ball on the Regina one-yard line as Calgary committed an illegal procedure penalty and was pushed back five yards. This mistake led to Calgary kicker Aaron Ifield scoring a 17-yard field goal in lieu of a touchdown.

“You know, I think it’s just attitude,” stated Nill. “My opinion is that when you’re on the one-yard line, you have to score. It’s a lack of focus, it’s a lack of understanding and that’s something that will get better with more maturity.”

The mistake did not faze the Dinos offence as 10 minutes later quarterback Deke Junior led them downfield, eventually called his own number and ran for a 28-yard touchdown.

“Basically I just went through my reads,” said Junior. “Read, throw, go– that’s what I’ve been taught all year.”

The offence didn’t stop the onslaught. Two minutes later, Junior found receiver Nathan Coehoorn in the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. The Dinos added a single point off a punt and Regina added a late field goal giving Calgary the 18-3 lead at half time.

Calgary did not let up in the third quarter and maintained their overpowering run-oriented game.

Ifield added two field goals in the third quarter and Walter ran for a 73-yard touchdown to rub salt in Regina’s wounds. The Dinos went into the fourth quarter with a commanding 31-3 lead.

The only points scored in the quarter came from a conceded safety by Ifield.

This was no ordinary safety however, it was a heads up play that saved a touchdown. The snap went over Ifield’s head on a punt attempt and with Regina defenders bearing down on him with intent to kill, maim and score, he dribbled the football for 10 yards, finally kicking it through the end zone for the safety.

“I just knew right away to give up two rather than a possible seven,” said Ifield. “The first time– a long time ago– I did it, I didn’t do it right so I [wanted to do it better].”

The game was dominated by Calgary’s offence, but the defence came to play as well, as they have all season. They held the Rams to a single field goal, no touchdowns and forced 10 turnovers.

“We knew that these guys liked to throw the ball a lot and we worked all week to put our guys in the best position to defend the pass,” said Dinos defensive coordinator John Stevens. “When [Regina] came out for this game they stayed with their tendencies and were 70 to 80 per cent pass. It was nice they stayed with their plan and passed. But you have to give credit to the players, they are the ones who make the plays.”

Despite the dominant game, the Dinos need to improve on the little things in the remaining two games according to Nill.

“Everyone can improve, the defence has got to work on their consistency, we have to get more pressure, everyone has to improve and that’s what we are going to do,” he said.

Junior said that despite the great effort, the Dinos are now focused on their next opponent.

“The offensive line came to work today and they brought their lunch pails and did a hell of a job,” he said in the sweat-filled corridor beneath McMahon. “It is nice, but we’ve got to confirm a home playoff berth and keep working for the rest of the week, like we have every week.”

The Dinos will head to the University of Manitoba next weekend to take on the Bisons in the hopes of inching closer to that all important home playoff berth.

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