By Bo Rhodes
Coming off a savage beating by the University of Manitoba Bisons, the University of Calgary Dinos were eagerly looking for a win. The opportunity to drink from the cup of victory was evasive though as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies took a bite out of the Dinos.
In front of an exuberant crowd of 3,247, the Dinos took an early lead with a field goal by third-year kicker Jimmy Hartley. Working effectively to stall the Huskies’ experienced running game, the defence kept the score down and the first quarter ended with the Dinos leading 6-3.
The game took a turn for the worse though when the defending Vanier Cup Champions cranked up the heat. Twenty-three seconds into the second quarter, seasoned Huskies quarterback Ryan Reid found wide receiver Derek Malinchuk open near the end zone. The fifth-year veteran ran for a touchdown after catching a 62-yard pass. The onslaught continued as the Huskies managed to contain the Dinos offence and proceeded to march down the field close enough for Huskies kicker Jamie Boreham to score three more points. Moments later the Huskies scored again on a 39-yard pass to slotback Jason Crumb. At the end of the first half, the Huskies led 20-6.
Being down 14 points did not deter the Dinos and they came out roaring in the third quarter. The defence stepped up, and held the opposing side to a single point giving the offence a chance to score a touchdown late in the quarter after a sack by third-year defensive back Gregory Hoover.
The momentum shifted again, this time in the Dinos’ favour when fourth-year defensive back Ian Schafer caught an interception and returned the ball 30 yards into Huskies territory. The Dinos managed to come within 26 yards of the opposing end zone, but were held back and settled for a field goal. Things looked pretty good for the Dinos with only five points separating the two sides. The experience of the Huskies offence manifested itself when Reid threw a 54-yard pass to Crumb for his second touchdown of the game. The Dinos fought hard and managed to score another touchdown on a carry by quarterback Lincoln Blumell, who completed 21 of 31 passes for 296 yards, but it was too little too late. Final score: Huskies 28, Dinos 23.
Despite the loss, head coach Tony Fasano was positive about the effort put forth by the team.
"We looked at the whole picture. We had some opportunities and came battling back," said Fasano. "We were down 20-6 at half-time and then came back to make it 20-13. They scored and then we came back and scored again so I think there’s some good signs there from the standpoint of hanging in," proclaimed Fasano.
The Dinos now have a 1-2 record for the year and remain at home next week to face off against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, who are currently ranked fifth in the nation. The Dinos offence will face a tough challenge against the T-Birds’ player, Dan Rootes who has a league-leading 22 tackles.
"Every team has got a little bit different strengths and weaknesses," said Fasano, in preparation for the T-Birds. "And that’s what you prepare for. Hopefully we’ll be ready."
Game time is 1:30 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 25 at McMahon Stadium.