Friday, 14 September 2018

Huskies gain a measure of respect in loss to Dinos

DB Clovis Lumeka (#18) defends a pass for the Huskies.
    In defeat, all the University of Saskatchewan Huskies had to do was look at the University of Calgary Dinos to know they made a mark.
    Going into Friday’s U Sports regular season football tilt at Griffiths Stadium, the Huskies and Dinos were sporting identical 2-0 records. 
    There was a chance that this could have been the game where the Dinos, who have won eight of the last 10 Canada Conference championships, brought the Huskies down to earth. U of S missed the post-season a year ago with a 2-6 mark.
    The Dinos won the game 37-28 before 5,114 spectators, but they didn’t look like victor after the contest. They departed the field looking a bit sombre as opposed to looking quietly satisfied in posting another victory in a match they were favoured to win.
QB Adam Sinagra threw for 569 yards for the Dinos on Friday.
    Dinos star quarterback Adam Sinagra had an insane great night completing 32-of-40 passes for 569 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Even with those spectacular numbers, the Dinos seemed to know they had hiccups on their side and could have been beaten had the Huskies made a couple of big plays.
    On a night where the Huskies honoured their retired Canadian Football Hall of Fame head coach Brian Towriss and announced the street that runs past Griffith Stadium will now be known as “Brian Towriss Crescent,” the hosts came out with good jump in their annual homecoming game.
    The Dogs had the first possession of the game and drove 59 yards in four plays and capped the march with a seven-yard touchdown reception by running back Colton Klassen.
    In powerhouse form, the Dinos responded with three major scores of their own to go ahead 21-7. U of C running back Jeshrun Antwi ran in a major score from 69 yards out and receivers Karl Hunter and Jalen Philpot hauled in respect touchdown catches from nine and 12 yards out.
Colton Klassen muscles his way into the end zone for a Huskies touchdown.
    At that point, the Dinos appeared to get ahead of themselves in trying to manufacture a blowout. They were stopped on a third-and-one gamble from the Huskies 48 yard line and a third and five fake punt pass at the Huskies 51 yard line.
    Those turnovers on downs resulted in two field goals by Huskies star kicker Sean Stenger, which cut the Dinos edge to 21-13 at halftime. Had the Huskies manufactured a touchdown on one of those chances, they would have really tightened things up on the night.
    Stenger kicked a third field goal on the Huskies first possession of the second half to further trim the Dinos edge to 21-16.
    The Dinos seemed to restore order with a field goal from star kicker Niko DiFonte and a 50-yard touchdown reception for Philpot to go up 31-16 at the end of the third quarter.
Jalen Philpot goes into the end zone for a Dinos major score.
    Philpot caught eight passes for 135 yards to go along with his two major scores.
    With 11:20 to play in the fourth quarter, DiFonte hit another field goal to put the Dinos up 34-16, but the Huskies refused to go away.
    On the second play on their ensuing offensive possession, Huskies fifth-year quarterback Kyle Siemens hit Klassen with a 72 yard touchdown pass to cut the Dinos edge to 34-23. Klassen caught seven passes for 134 yards to go with his two major scores through the air and ran the ball once for 11 yards.
    U of C’s edge shrank to 34-25 after conceding a safety due to bad field position with 9:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. A DiFonte 42-yard field goal with 2:10 to play in the fourth put the Dinos up 37-25 and pretty much sealed the victory.
The Huskies kick cover unit wraps up Dinos returner Brycen Mayoh (#84).
    On the final play of the contest, Stenger hit a 27-yard field goal to ensure the Huskies lost by just nine points. That play might be an important one in the future, if the Huskies win the Sept. 29 encounter between these two sides in Calgary and the points scored in the two head-to-head clashes possibly becomes a regular season standings tiebreaker.
    With Friday’s game in the books, the Dinos remain the only undefeated team in Canada West with a 3-0 record, while the Huskies fall to 2-1 to sit in a tie for second in the conference with the University of Regina Rams (2-1).
    Of course when the Huskies look at the video of Friday’s game with the Dinos, they will see missed plays and mistakes they need to correct going forward.
    Siemens was unable to connect on at least three deep passes that could have potentially gone for touchdowns due to timing issues with the intended receivers.
Dinos pass rushers close in on Huskies QB Kyle Siemens, right.
    Still, the Huskies proved they won’t be pushovers. They are also playing with house money, because they were listed last in the Canada West Conference pre-season coaches’ poll.
    All they can do is try to keep creating a new excitement around the team. The Huskies next opportunity to do just that occurs this coming Friday, when they host the Rams at 7 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium.
    NOTE – The Huskies were without head coach Scott Flory for Friday’s game. Flory was in Hamilton, Ont., being inducted in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his storied CFL career as an offensive lineman with the Montreal Alouettes that spanned 15 seasons from 1999 to 2013.

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