By Tommy Osborne, November 22 2016 —
Following an impressive 50—24 victory over the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men, the University of Calgary Dinos extended their season and will face the Laval University Rouge et Or in the Vanier Cup on Nov. 26. Led by head coach Wayne Harris, the Dinos boast a 9–2 record on the season and the top spot in the Canada West.
Equipped with a star-studded roster, this year’s Dinos were poised to reach great heights. Players like quarterback Jimmy Underdahl, along with star receiver Austen Hartley and running back Bryce Harper highlighted the offence, while the defence touted stars like Adam Laurensse, Micah Teitz and Boston Rowe. However, the Dinos’ roster also boasted amazing depth, as the team never skipped a beat when a key player went down with an injury.
When Underdahl was injured on Oct. 14 against the University of Manitoba Bisons, quarterback Adam Sinagra stepped in and led the team to a 3–1 record, including a Hardy Cup victory. Other players like running back Jeshrun Antwi and wide receiver Whitman Tomusiak also stepped up to help the Dinos offence when Harper and Hartley went down with injuries.
With an electric offence and a ferocious defence, the Dinos fired off an impressive start, winning their first four matches of the season with a combined score of 115–54. But their most impressive early win was at the marquee Kickoff home opener on Sept. 9 where the Dinos dominated the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 35–8. The win against UBC set the tone for the rest the season and the Dinos would go on to best nearly all opposition.
While the Dinos stumbled in a 27–32 loss against the University of Regina Rams, they quickly returned to sunny days with a convincing 50–15 win against the University of Alberta Golden Bears — their provincial rivals — in the U of C 50th anniversary celebration game on Oct. 1.
The Dinos followed that victory with a 63–6 win over the Bisons. Their 63 points were the most scored by the Dinos all season, while the six points allowed were the fewest all season. While Underdahl suffered an injury in the stellar win, backup quarterback Sinagra continued to execute incredible offensive game plans for the rest of the season. The Dinos ended their regular season with a thrilling 41–35 overtime victory ahead of the Thunderbirds on Oct. 29.
The Dinos’ playoffs started excellently, with a 47–17 blowout win over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. In the Hardy Cup on Nov. 12, the Dinos once again faced off against a familiar foe — the Thunderbirds. While the Dinos looked poised to play in another blowout game, opening with a 36–10 lead at halftime, the Thunderbirds stormed back in the second half to make it a close game. But ultimately the Dinos hung on for a 46–43 victory. Following the close call in the Hardy Cup, the Dinos dominated the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men 50–24 in the Mitchell Bowl on Nov. 19. The win secured the Dinos’ first trip to the Vanier Cup since 2013.
The Dinos will look to carry their momentum from the incredible Mitchell Bowl victory into the Vanier Cup on Nov. 27, where they will compete for the national championship. The Dinos are looking for redemption in a rematch of the 2013 Vanier Cup against the Laval Rouge et Or, a game they lost 25–14.
If the Dinos continue their dominant ways, then it’s safe to say that the match will be one for the history books.