Dinos won’t need any extra motivation against Manitoba in Hardy Cup


U of C football squad whips Regina 56-0 to earn rematch against only conference opponent to beat them this season

The Calgary Dinos tackle Regina Rams Atlee Simon during the Canada West semifinal playoff game at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.

The Calgary Dinos tackle Regina Rams Atlee Simon during the Canada West semifinal playoff game at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel

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They won’t have to go far back in the video archives to find footage of their next opponent. They also won’t need any additional motivation.

The University of Calgary Dinos didn’t get much of a workout on Saturday afternoon at McMahon Stadium, completely overwhelming the Regina Rams 56-0 in their Canada West football semifinal contest. That victory propels them into the 78th Hardy Cup conference title game against the Manitoba Bisons — the one team that beat them, on the field, this 2014 season and most recently on Nov. 1 in Winnipeg.

Game time on Saturday afternoon at McMahon Stadium is 2 p.m.

The other meeting between the two teams was a wild 42-41 Calgary win, which could have easily gone the other way if not for a botched field goal by Manitoba late in the game.

“That’s the way it should be,” commented Dinos’ head coach Blake Nill, who prepares his squad to chase its seventh-straight conference title. “They’ve given us the toughest games of the year and they’ve earned the right to be in that final. And so have we. Hopefully we’ve learned from what we experienced last week and improve on it.

“We know what we’re facing. We know what kind of athletes they have. It’s not like we’re unfamiliar with one another. I think we’ve had success in the past against Manitoba and it’s just making sure we’re prepared fully.”

On Saturday, it was the aerial brilliance of quarterback Andrew Buckley and his band of merry receivers that made it a long, long afternoon for the beleaguered Rams. Buckley, who needed a quarter to warm up, destroyed the Rams’ secondary as he threw for 273 yards over those 15 minutes. The fourth-year pivot, who has enjoyed a brilliant season, left early in the third quarter after 404 yards in the air and 56 on the ground.

“A little bit of redemption for us,” Buckley said of the upcoming final. “We didn’t play our best game against them last time. Kudos to them; they’ve been playing us really hard so it’s going to take 100 per cent, 60-minute execution from us.

“Having a game like this put the wind back in our sails and gave us a bit more momentum.”

Buckley, who ran for a touchdown, found Brett Blaszko seven times for 160 yards and two TDs and Rashaun Simonise for 92 yards and two more majors. Backup Eric Dzwilewski also threw a TD pass to Austen Hartley. Johnny Mark contributed with four field goals, including a 40-yarder.

“Last week, they showed they would play a lot of zero coverage,” Nill said of the Rams, “trying to stop the run and we were able to throw the ball in the first half, basically at will. We didn’t run the ball a lot but they gave us the opportunity to throw and we did.

“If they’re going to load the box with nine defenders, you might as well throw the ball.”

Mercer Timmis, who led the conference in rushing yards per game with an average of 114.4, had just 19 and spent most of his half in blocking duties.

Defensively, the Calgary secondary — which has had some troubling games this year — looked about as tightly knit as possible, with the Regina quarterbacks unable to find a lot of openings. Instead, it was interceptions by Elie Bouka and Adam Laurensse, each with two, that snuffed out prospective drives.

“It was a good all-around effort,”’ said SAM linebacker Tanner Doll, who led the way with 7.5 tackles. “We executed on every unit. Our DBs had a bit of a rough week last week, but chilled it this week. They had four picks; that was awesome.

“Hey, it’ll be good,” he added, looking ahead to next weekend. “Prepare the same every week, but there’s a little added incentive in this one. Redemption is pretty good so we’ll prepare hard for that.”

CAMPUS ROUNDUP . . . Grande Prairie Regional College’s Mirelle Martens and Cegep Edouard-Montpetit’s Jeremy Briand captured the women’s and men’s cross-country running national titles at the SAIT-hosted CCAA championships on Saturday. SAIT’s Sarah Hewitt was sixth to lead the Trojans to a team silver . . . The U of C Dinos men’s hockey team fell to 9-3 on the season after losing 4-3 to UBC on Saturday (Calgary, ranked fifth in Canada, won Friday’s contest 3-0). The Dinos women lost 4-3 and 3-2 in a pair of weekend games to UBC . . . The No. 8-ranked MRU Cougars men’s hockey team also split, losing to Saskatchewan 6-3 on Saturday after beating them 4-1 on Friday. The Cougars women’s hockey team fell 3-2 in double OT on Saturday to Saskatchewan and also lost to them 3-1 on Friday . . . The Dinos men’s basketball team swept Brandon 82-71 and 82-68 to remain undefeated, while the women also swept Brandon 76-65 and 66-51 to move to .500 . . . MRU men’s basketball split with MacEwan (78-73 win, followed by 71-67 loss), while the women lost both to the Griffins (79-62 and 66-47) . . . The MRU men’s volleyball team stretched its winning streak to six by sweeping Regina 3-1, 3-0, while the women have now lost five-straight after falling 3-2 and 3-1 to Regina . . . The U of C men’s volleyball team was swept by Saskatchewan 3-2, 3-1 and have now lost six straight, while the women swept Saskatchewan 3-0, 3-1 . . . Over at SAIT, the men’s hockey team split with Red Deer, winning 5-1 Saturday a night after falling 2-1. Both basketball squads swept crosstown rival St. Mary’s as the men won 75-43 and 75-47, while the women now have a six-game win streak after 68-61 and 58-55 triumphs.

The Calgary Dinos tackle Regina Rams Atlee Simon during the Canada West semifinal playoff game at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.

The Calgary Dinos tackle Regina Rams Atlee Simon during the Canada West semifinal playoff game at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel

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