Saturday, 9 November 2019

Huskies’ Hardy Cup dreams fall 29-4 in Calgary

Josiah Joseph, left, ran in two touchdowns for the Dinos.
    Chalk this one up as a learning experience for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team.
    One turning point was likely the moment that did in the Huskies in the Canada West Championship game – the Hardy Cup – on Saturday in Calgary, Alta.
    The Huskies, who came into the game as the defending Hardy Cup champions, found themselves behind the host University of Calgary Dinos 4-1 with one second remaining in the first half. The visitors faced a third and goal from the Dinos two yard line.
    In what had been a haphazard first half that included both sides committing key turnovers, the Huskies could have hit a chip shot field goal and gone in at halftime even up at 4-4 despite all the miscues.
    Instead, the Huskies elected to gamble and go for a touchdown and the lead. Quarterback Mason Nyhus threw a pass into the end zone attended for receiver Sam Baker but the pass fell incomplete as a penalty flag flew.
Mason Nyhus passed for 240 yards on Saturday for the Huskies.
    It appeared the Dinos were going to be called for pass interference. The officials picked up the flag saying Nyhus’s pass wasn’t catchable causing the Huskies to head into the dressing room down 4-1.
    From that point, it felt like the Huskies were trying to chase the contest for the whole second half.
    Thanks to being behind, the Huskies elected to receive the second half kickoff as the spectre of snowy conditions hung over the game. The Dinos elected to get the wind advantage for the fourth quarter, but before that frame came around, the host side’s offence found traction.
    With 9:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Dinos star quarterback Adam Sinagra hit second-year receiver Tyson Philpot with a 30-yard touchdown pass to complete a 96-yard scoring drive giving the host an 11-1 advantage.
    Sinagra was injured on that scoring play, but it felt like the Huskies were sinking in quick sand.
    Dinos standout kicker Niko DiFonte kicked a single on the ensuing kickoff to put the Dinos up 12-1.
Jesse Kuntz caught six passes for 125 yards for the Huskies.
    From there, the Dinos sailed off to a 29-4 victory before 1,263 spectators at McMahon Stadium. The Dinos were appearing in the Hardy Cup for the 12th straight year and were claiming the conference title for the ninth time over that span of time.
    U of C will keep pursuing an elusive U Sports title that keeps escaping its grasp gunning to make the Vanier Cup and win it. The Dinos last won the Vanier Cup back in 1995.
    The Dinos, who improved to 8-2 overall, will first host a U Sports semifinal in the Mitchell Bowl on Saturday, November 16, against the Ontario University Athletics champion University of McMaster Marauders (8-2 overall).
    The Marauders captured the OUA title on Saturday traveling to London, Ont., and upsetting the host University of Western Ontario Mustangs 29-15. The Mustangs were undefeated heading into Saturday’s action, but finished the 2019 U Sports campaign with a 9-1 overall mark.
    In Canada West, the Huskies finished with a 6-4 overall record that included posting a 5-3 mark during the regular season.
Adam Machart ran the ball 16 times for 112 yards on Saturday.
    During the Canada West title game, the Huskies found themselves behind the eight ball due to their own errors.
    They exited the first quarter trailing the Dinos 2-0 after conceding a safety, when kicker/punter David Solie had to boot the ball through his own end zone after a bad snap.
    With 10:07 remaining in the second quarter, the Huskies had to concede another safety to fall back 4-0, when Nyhus had to boot the ball through the end zone after an errant shotgun snap on offence.
    The Huskies got on the scoreboard with 5:20 remaining on the second quarter on a missed field goal single from 29-yards out by Solie, who was kicking into the wind. The single cut the Dinos edge to 4-1.
    That set the stage for the dramatics right before halftime. At halftime, the Huskies had outgained the Dinos in gross offence 235 to 192.
    After the Dinos assumed their 12-1 lead, Solie hit a field goal from 28-yards out with 4:07 remaining in the third quarter to cut the U of C edge to 12-4. That was as close as the Huskies would get.
Adam Sinagra, left, threw the Dinos only TD pass on Saturday.
    Dinos backup quarterback Josiah Joseph ran in a touchdown from a yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the hosts up 19-4.
    DiFonte hit a field goal from 37 yards out and Joseph ran in another major from a yard out with seven seconds remaining in the frame to round out the scoring for the Dinos.
    Nyhus completed 18-of-29 passes for 240 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Calgary product Jesse Kuntz led the Huskies in receiving hauling in six passes for 125 yards.
    Star running back Adam Machart carried the ball 16 times for 112 yards to top the Huskies in rushing. He also caught seven passes for 43 yards.
    Sinagra connected on 11-of-17 passes for 197 yards for one touchdown and one interception. He ran the ball six times for 50 yards.
    Joseph hit on 9-of-10 passes for 95 yards and ran the ball eight times for 26 yards to go with his two scores on the ground.
Ben Whiting had nine total tackles for the Huskies.
    Jalen Philpot topped the Dinos in receiving catching six passes for 91 yards. First-year running back Robinson Rodrigues carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards to lead the Dinos in rushing.
    Fifth-year linebacker Ben Whiting led the Huskies with nine total tackles and one sack. Star rookie linebacker Ramsey Derbas was second on the team with seven tackles.
    Defensive end Nicholas Dheilly had a sack and an interception, while defensive end Nathan Cherry had a single sack.
    Linebacker Grant McDonald led the Dinos with 11 total tackles, and he had one sack. Max Baatar and Tyrese Best had single sacks for the Dinos, while Charlie Moore had an interception.
    Saturday’s post-season loss brought an end to the careers of Huskies fifth-year players in Whiting, Payton Hall, Eric Thakurdeen, Evan Machibroda, Andrew Serke and Tanner Secord.
    A year ago, those six helped the Huskies win their first playoff game since 2009 and Canada West title since 2006. The Huskies downed the Dinos 43-18 in last year’s Canada West championship game in Calgary.
Robinson Rodrigues carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards for the Dinos.
    U of S proceeded to fall in the Mitchell Bowl 47-24 to the Mustangs in London, Ont., bringing the Dogs run in 2018 post-season to an end.
    The Huskies had lost eight straight U Sports post-season games heading into the 2018 playoffs. That included missing the playoffs entirely in 2017.
    During the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, the Huskies have won three post-season games.
At the moment, the Dinos are still the team that have a habit of consistently winning conference titles and making long post-season runs.
    The Huskies are a step closer to becoming a squad that could potentially makes those runs on a consistent basis.
The Huskies saw their 2019 campaign end against the Dinos on Saturday.
    While Saturday’s loss in the Hardy Cup is tough to take and provided some learning experiences, the Huskies are still miles ahead of where they were just a short time ago.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.