Friday, 16 September 2016

"Dinos jinx" goes on for Huskies

U of Calgary gets 10th straight win over U of Saskatchewan

Niko DiFonte (#45) boots the winning field goal for the Dinos.
    The University of Saskatchewan Huskies just can’t seem to get a Dinos sized load off their collective backs.
    For a short time in Friday night’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport football encounter at Griffith’s Stadium in Saskatoon, the host Huskies appeared poised to earn their first victory against the University of Calgary Dinos in six years. The Dinos had other ideas.
    With 2:04 to play in the fourth quarter, the Huskies led 19-17 and had the Dinos pinned at their own six yard line. To make matters worse for the visitors, they had to drive into a fairly stiff breeze.
    Those obstacles didn’t seem to matter to fifth-year Dinos quarterback Jimmy Underdahl. Underdahl drove his team 101 yards in nine plays to put U of C in range for a 10-yard chip shot field goal. 
    Kicker Niko DiFonte booted home the winning points with 40.8 seconds remaining on the clock to ultimately give the Dinos a 20-19 victory before a packed house of 7,938 spectators. The win allowed U of C to sit alone in first place in the Canada West Conference with a 3-0 mark, while U of S falls to 2-1.
Quentin Chown (#31) pushes the Dinos into range for a winning field goal.
    Including action in the regular season and playoffs, the Dinos have won 10 straight head-to-head meetings with the Huskies. The Huskies last win over the Dinos came back on Oct. 15, 2010, when U of S claimed a 36-17 decision at Griffiths Stadium.
    Going into Friday’s battle, it seemed like the Huskies, who were rated 10th in the CIS top ten rankings, were due to break the jinx.
    Before Friday’s contest, the last time these two teams met was in a Canada West quarter-final playoff match last year. The Huskies led that encounter 22-19 early in the fourth quarter only to fall 37-29.
    During the off-season, the Huskies strengthened their depth landing some key recruits from the Saskatoon Hilltops 2015 Canadian Junior Football League championship team. It was hoped the additions of those recruits would get the Huskies over a few humps, which included ending the head-to-head skid with the Dinos, who are rated second in the CIS rankings.
Jimmy Underdahl (#16) fires a pass downfield for the Dinos.
    The visitors got out of the gates with a fast start on Friday going up 10-0 in the first quarter thanks to 22-yard field goal by DiFonte and a 12-yard touchdown run by running back Quentin Chown.
U of S responded rolling off 16 straight points in the second quarter to hold a 16-10 edge at halftime.  
    Huskies quarterback Kyle Siemens fired a 13-yard touchdown strike to Hilltops grad Chad Braun and an eight-yard scoring toss to Samuel Baker. U of S kicker Sean Stenger contributed singles from a missed field goal and a kickoff rouge to round out the Huskies second quarter surge.
    It also appeared luck was going to shine the Huskies way too. The Dinos first possession of the second half ended when DiFonte nailed the right upright on a 40-yard field goal attempt preventing the visitors from cutting into the Huskies lead.
    After a scoreless third quarter, the Dinos went in front 17-16, when Chown ran in a four-yard major score for his second rushing touchdown of the day with 9:16 to play in the fourth quarter.
Chad Braun hauls in a touchdown catch for the Huskies.
    U of S responded on its next series when a five play 78 yard drive culminated with a 20-yard field goal by Stenger to give the hosts a 19-17 edge. That set the stage for the dramatics on Dinos scoring drive late in the frame.
    After the Dinos went ahead 20-19, the Huskies had a chance to get in range for the winning field goal with the wind at their backs, but the offence turned the ball over on downs after three plays.
    Underdahl had a solid night completing 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards. He didn’t have any touchdown passes, but he also didn’t have any interceptions.
    Siemens was sound too connecting on 20-of-35 attempts for 283 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Hilltops grad Matt Kozun had a pair of sacks being named the Huskies player of the game.
Huskies LB Brad Kotania (#40) nails Dinos SB Austen Hartley.
    When the dust settled, the difference in Friday’s game was the fact the Dinos were able to put together that long drive late in the fourth quarter to get in range for the winning kick. The Huskies played valiantly in the setback. With that said, it was still agonizing for the Huskies to drop their 10th straight to U of C.
    The only thing the Huskies can do now is wait for their next opportunity to break the “Dinos jinx.” The two teams meet again on Oct. 22 in Calgary.
    Before contest comes around, both teams will be focuses on their respective upcoming schedules. The Huskies return to action on Sept. 24, when they travel to Winnipeg to take on the U of Manitoba Bisons. The Dinos remain on the road and travel to Regina this coming Friday to take on the U of Regina Rams.

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