Calgary clinches first place with big win in Saskatoon

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SASKATOON – The five-time defending Hardy Cup champion University of Calgary Dinos will have home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs after clinching first place in Canada West with a 24-12 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies Friday night.

With their fifth consecutive victory over the Huskies, the Dinos improved to 6-0 on the season and will finish first in the conference, holding the tiebreakers over the only two teams that could catch them in the standings. Saskatchewan is one of those teams, falling to 4-2 on the campaign.

It wasn’t always pretty, and it was tight until the very end – but Mercer Timmis picked the perfect time to make his biggest play of the year. With Calgary leading 17-12 and just under three minutes on the clock and the outcome still very much in doubt, Timmis took the handoff on the Dinos’ 30-yard line and ran roughshod over the Saskatchewan defence, taking it 80 yards to the end zone to seal the victory.

It was Timmis’ 14th rushing touchdown of the season, giving him sole possession of the school single-season record in that category. The sophomore tailback finished the night with 172 yards on 17 carries, his sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing game this year.

His touchdown, tied for the fourth-longest run in school history, capped off a second half that saw the Dinos dominate in all facets of the game after the Huskies held a slim 11-6 advantage at the break.

“We made some adjustments in the second half, and we felt that we had the conditioning and the mental capacity to come out and start the second half tough,” said Calgary head coach Blake Nill. “We certainly didn’t make it easy on ourselves tonight, but our young kids pulled it out.”

A 19-yard Chris Dobko touchdown just under five minutes into the third quarter gave Calgary its first lead of the night at 13-12 as the Dinos offence finally got things going after picking up just 174 yards in the opening half. They finished with 592 on the night.

A trio of Johnny Mark field goals from 19, 23, and 34 yards – along with a punt single – rounded out the scoring for the Dinos.

Saskatchewan got on the board first thanks to a 15-yard TD grab by Charlie Power just 3:29 into the contest. The teams traded field goals as the kickers had a busy night, and at the half the score was 11-6 for the Huskies.

After Denton Kolodzinski scored a single on a blocked field goal three minutes into the third quarter, the Dinos took over and scored the game’s final 18 points unanswered to lock up top spot.

The blocked field goal was the third kick blocked by the Dinos on the night, with two Saskatchewan field goals and a punt knocked down by an aggressive Calgary defence. On a big night for special teams, running back Quentin Chown took a fake field goal 32 yards to the Huskies’ 10-yard line in the fourth quarter as well.

“It was a big night for us on special teams,” said Nill, “and Coach (Taylor, a former Saskatchewan Huskie player) Altilio had the teams prepared, and they were certainly a difference-maker tonight.”

Andrew Buckley improved to 5-0 as a starter in CIS, completing 23 of 48 passes for 355 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. His Huskie counterpart, Drew Burko, went 17-for-38 for 267 yards, a major, and a pick.

Buckley’s top target was Rashaun Simonise, who picked up 145 yards on six catches. Brett Blaszko added 69 yards on five catches. Defensively, Thomas Spoletini led the way for Calgary with seven tackles and an interception.

Calgary was flagged 13 times for 235 yards on the night, while Saskatchewan was penalized seven times for a total of 91 yards. The Dinos enjoyed a wide margin in time of possession, having control of the ball fo 36:09 on the evening.

The Dinos enjoy the Thanksgiving Day bye next week before closing out the regular season with back-to-back-home games Oct. 18 against Regina and Oct. 25 against UBC. Both games will kick off at 6 p.m. at McMahon Stadium.

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter

  • SASK – Charlie Power 15-yard TD catch from Drew Burko (Denton Kolodzinski convert), 3:29, 7-0 SASK

2nd Quarter

  • CGY – Johnny Mark 19-yard FG, 1:08, 7-3 SASK
  • SASK – Denton Kolodzinski 42-yard FG, 9:24, 10-3 SASK
  • CGY – Johnny Mark 23-yard FG, 12:29, 10-6 SASK
  • SASK – Denton Kolodzinski 38-yard punt single, 13:06, 11-6 SASK

3rd Quarter

  • SASK – Denton Kolodzinski missed FG single, 3:03, 12-6 SASK
  • CGY – Chris Dobko 19-yard TD catch from Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark convert), 4:52, 13-12 CGY
  • CGY – Johnny Mark 34-yard FG, 11:16, 16-12 CGY
  • CGY – Johnny Mark 61-yard punt single, 14:58, 17-12

4th Quarter

  • CGY – Mercer Timmis 80-yard TD run (Johnny Mark convert), 12:15, 25-12 CGY

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