By Bo Rhodes
"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance"
– Romans 5:4
The Alberta rivalry was reborn last Saturday as the University of Calgary Dinos football team ventured north to face off against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Having already faced the Bears once this season and coming away with a win, the Dinos were eager for a victory. The win did not happen however and the team walked away with a loss.
The opening quarter saw the Bears block a Jimmy Hartley punt and then take an early lead as second-year running back Nathan Connor ran for a one yard touchdown. Minutes later, Calgary defensive back Brock Balog intercepted a Golden Bears pass and ran the ball back 45 yards for a Calgary major.
Second quarter action was minimal with scoring consisting of a field goal for each side. The Dinos defence was exceptionally strong though and according to head coach Tony Fasano, "the defence played extremely well."
Only down by two points at the half, the Dinos stumbled as the Golden Bears took a lead they would not relinquish. Connor rushed for two more touchdowns, both off five yard runs. The U of A running back finished the game with a total of 123 rushing yards. Calgary was not kept pointless in the third quarter though, as Lincoln Blumell united with fullback Jeff Almon for a touchdown.
Blumell had an outstanding day connecting on 25 of 36 passes for a total of 311 yards, no interceptions and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Another Golden Bears touchdown in the fourth clinched the win as the game ended, Alberta 32, Calgary 23.
Miscues by the Dinos special teams unit were critical in the loss with the blocked punt and a missed snap by Gene Loria that gave the Bears good field position.
"The special teams were where we were weak," said Fasano. "Alberta managed to get two touchdowns off errors and if we want to make the playoffs, that can’t happen. We have to focus on the game ahead of us now and forget about the loss. You can’t dwell in the past and besides the score, I thought our team played very well."
Slotback Sean Kelly and offensive lineman Justin MacCallum returned from injuries but defensive back Mike Shweider, in only his second game of the year, was taken out of the game with a knee injury.
Despite the loss, the Dinos are still in fourth place due to the fact that they beat Alberta in the season opener by a score of 36-21. The next two games will be critical as the Dinos hosts third-ranked University of Manitoba this Saturday, and then go on the road against the seemingly unstopppable University of Saskatchewan. The Golden Bears have an equally tough schedule, facing the Universities of British Columbia and Manitoba.