At 6:09, the third game of the trilogy started. At about 7:30, it was already over.
After two all-out wars this season between the University of Calgary Dinos and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds -- both teams narrowly capturing one win each -- the third game may have been a bit of a letdown in some sense, with the Dinos taking a heavy lead. The Dinos broke out of a 13-13 tie in the second half ending with a final score of 63-13. The 1,400 people in attendance at McMahon Stadium on Friday were kept on their feet all night.
The key to the Dinos's victory, as it has been the whole season, was the ground game. With over 350 yards gained on the turf, there was a lot of room for great individual performances -- none more so than the four rushing touchdowns by the Dinos's quarterback Eric Dzwilewski. Dzwilewski set a new cis record as the first qb to ever score four touchdowns in a single playoff game.
"I knew coming into the game that the game plan was about running, with me being the dual threat," he said. "I just had to loosen up the coverage with passing . . . you know, they paid attention to the running backs and that opened things up for me. Thank God we have three running backs here that are extremely talented and make it easy for me."
The three running backs -- Steven Lumbala, Matt Walter and Emilio Violato -- had an excellent game, combining for 299 yards of rushing on just 39 carries, for an average of 7.7 yards per carry.
The Dinos's defense was equally impressive, completely shutting down the league's mvp, Thunderbird quarterback Billy Greene. Greene's final stats were 10 for 29 with 3 picks and 3 sacks.
Even though Dzwilewski -- who was 9 for 13 for 112 yards in the air -- set a new cis record, the Boise, Idaho native was adamant that it shouldn't be the defining performance in the game.
"I didn't know it was a record. Even then, I'm not going for records -- I'm just going for the win," said Dzwilewski. "It really was a team effort and you can see that from the four picks we had."
It was the fourth Hardy Cup in a row for the Dinos under head coach Blake Nill. Nill was impressed by his qb and running backs, but also with another player he thought might not get the proper recognition.
"We started an 18-year-old lineman out of Notre Dame High School in Calgary, Sean McEwen," said Nill. "That's a big deal to start on the O-line as an 18-year-old. It's the toughest place on the field to start in terms of what goes into the position. He has been amazing."
Nill credited the players' previous coaches for bringing them to the university level.
"I always throw out bouquets to the minor and high school coaches [because] they're responsible for us getting these kids at such a high skill level. If you look at our team and how many kids have come from Calgary, you got to think that the coaches here are doing something right. It's a community effort for sure."
The Dinos, who have captured their thirteenth Hardy Cup, now move on to face Laval Rouge et Or in what will be a tough game. Laval dashed the Dinos's chance of capturing the Vanier Cup last year. Now the two teams will face off for the Mitchell Bowl, the league's semi-final, for a chance to compete for the cis title in Vancouver. The Dinos will be trying for their third Mitchell Bowl in a row.
"We want the big prize -- we always have," said Nill. "Don't get me wrong, this is a tough, tough conference and if you don't bring your 'A' game every week you can lose to anyone . . . it'll be tough next week, but we're going to pull it out."
"We've wanted Laval since last year," adds Dzwilewski. "We think it's going to be different this time. It's our barn and we want to beat them as bad as they beat us last year."