The University of Calgary Dino’s potent offensive attack was too much to handle for a Saskatchewan Huskie football team that fell on homecoming night 37-28, at Griffiths Stadium inside Nutrien Park in Saskatoon, SK. on Sept. 14.
There was no shortage of dynamite offensive performances, as the two programs combined for 1,121 total yards of offense.
For the Dinos, quarterback Adam Sinagra threw for 569 yards and three touchdowns on 32-40 passing. The performance placed him second all-time in U SPORTS passing yards in a single game, a record which is held by former Calgary quarterback Greg Vavra who threw for 627 yards against Saskatchewan on October 7th 1983.
Sinagra mentioned how honored he is to be in the same company as Vavra.
“He’s a great mentor, and just a great guy. He’s done so much for the city of Calgary and for Dinos football,” Sinagra said.
Rookie receiver Jalen Philpot was Sinagra’s go-to target on the night, as he recorded eight receptions for 135 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile for the Huskies, fellow quarterback Kyle Siemens had a record-setting night himself as he moved to fifth all-time in career passing yards as a Huskie, with 6636. He’ll now set sight on Doug Siemens, his father, who currently sits in fourth place with 7153.
Colton Klassen continued his excellent season, and has had no trouble adjusting to playing in the slot as he racked up 134 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
On the opening kickoff of the ball game Adam Machart set the Huskies up with excellent field position after a 43 yard return. From there, the ground game went to work as Saskatchewan marched into the red zone after back-to-back strong runs from Tyler Chow and Klassen. On 2nd and 3 from inside the ten, Siemens spotted Klassen in the flats and the third-year receiver did the rest, rumbling in for the early score.
However, the Dinos were quick to answer back as Jeshrun Antwi continued his sensational start. He bounced a handoff to the outside and didn’t look back taking a 69 yard carry to the house.
After a defensive stop, Hunter Karl and Justin Dasiuk made back to back big time grabs at the tail end of the first quarter, setting up the Dinos on the Huskies seven yard line. From there Sinagra spotted Dasiuk in the back of the endzone to give Calgary the 14-7 lead.
Minutes into the second quarter, the Dinos got set up in excellent field position when a Daniel Perry punt return fumble was recovered by Sammy Sidhu. Calgary took full advantage of the opportunity as Sinagra found Philpot in stride, streaking across the middle of the field and running it in for his career first U SPORTS touchdown, putting the Dinos up 14.
After getting the ball back, on third and short from just across half field, the Dinos elected to roll the dice by keeping the offence on the field but the Huskies held strong as Eric Thakurdeen stood up Alessandro Molnar, giving Saskatchewan’s offence back the ball.
Tyson Philpot continued his sensational rookie season, as the big play receiver hauled in a deep ball from Sinagra, but Niko DiFonte was unable to put it through the uprights on a field goal attempt, keeping it a one score game.
On 2nd and 13, Siemens dialed up a nifty screen pass, as he pitched the ball to Chow who rumbled his way for the first down which then set up Stenger’s second field goal of the night, this time from 45 yards out, putting the Huskies within five.
But the Dinos were quick to restore the eight point lead, after a long drive from Sinagra and company set up a chip shot for DiFonte from 30 yards out, making the score 24-16.
After a Huskies two and out, Sinagra continued his dissection of the Saskatchewan secondary, after he found Jalen Philpot for his second major of the night, which gave Sinagra 436 passing yards on 24-27 passing through three quarters.
The Dinos continued to move the ball with ease in the fourth quarter as Sinagra connected with Justin Julien on a well-designed corner route, giving DiFonte another short field goal attempt, which he would make no mistake of as he hit from 20 yards out, capping a 76-yard Calgary drive.
However, the Huskies weren’t ready to go home yet as the offensive fireworks continued, with Siemens finding Klassen who streaked down the sidelines for a 72-yard touchdown, which trimmed the Dinos lead to 34-23.
As the fourth quarter ran on, the defence stood strong for both sides, and despite the Huskies strong effort they were unable to fully crawl their way back into the game.
“I really liked how we started, we took the game to them and made things happen. Even at the end of the game we were within grasp and now we need to go through this fire to get to the next level,” said Huskie Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Friesen.
Despite the record-setting performance, Sinagra wasn’t aware of the significance of his play and was instead simply focusing on coming away with the victory.
“I was just trying to get the win, we kind of drifted off in the fourth. We should have put them away, but they’re a tough team to play and we’re just glad we got the win,” Sinagra said.
The night also served as a tribute to legendary Huskie coach Brian Towriss, in which the all-time leader in wins among coaches in U SPORTS history was honoured pre-game for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the Saskatchewan program.
The Huskies will remain at home for week four, as they will play host to their provincial counterpart Regina Rams at Griffiths Stadium inside Nutrien Park, in what will be the first meeting between the two programs of 2018. Meanwhile, the Dinos will travel west into Vancouver, to take on the UBC Thunderbirds for the second time in three weeks. The Dinos thrashed the Thunderbirds 57-7 in week two for the team’s first matchup of the season.