CALGARY – A 39-point second half propelled the University of Calgary Dinos past a pesky Saskatchewan Huskies team Saturday afternoon en route to a 59-19 Canada West football victory.
On a cold and windy afternoon at McMahon Stadium, most of the scoring took place for the team that enjoyed the stiff north wind – until the middle of the third quarter, when the Dinos broke open the game and went on to win going away. No. 1-ranked Calgary improves to 5-0 on the season, while eighth-ranked Saskatchewan drops to 2-3.
Taking advantage of the wind, the Huskies found themselves down just two points midway through the third quarter when Drew Burko found John Trumpy for a 35-yard touchdown strike to bring the score to 20-18 for Calgary, with the Dinos offence sputtering. Second-year returner Will Maxwell provided a spark the Dinos needed, however, returning the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to give Calgary the ball inside the Huskies' 45-yard line. Three plays later, Andrew Buckley found Austen Hartley for a 5-yard touchdown pass, and the Dinos never looked back.
"We knew Saskatchewan would come out strong, and we knew we'd be challenged throughout the game," said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. "They play a physical brand of football, and the first half was not pretty at all times. The offence struggled, and defensively we gave up a few too many plays. But our guys played a full 60 minutes, and we're starting to just wear teams down."
Turnovers hurt the Huskies' ability to come back as they coughed up the ball on three consecutive drives with a pair of interceptions and a fumbled punt return spanning the end of the third and the start of the fourth. While the Dinos managed just one touchdown off those turnovers, they snuffed out promising Saskatchewan drives – with one of the picks coming on the eight-yard line. Following the Trumpy TD, Calgary outscored the Huskies 39-1 in the final 21 minutes of the game to remain undefeated.
Third-year receiver Hartley had a career outing, hauling in five passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. His second major was spectacular: with the Dinos backed up to their 5-yard line after a penalty on a punt return, Hartley found an opening in the defence and took a Buckley pass 105 yards to the end zone, tying the school record for longest completion in the process early in the fourth quarter. The game put him in the top five in the conference in receiving, and with two TDs he's second only to teammate Rashaun Simonise in that category.
"I knew Austen was a good receiver, but he's such a tough runner after he catches the ball," explained Harris. "He has the ability to take plays that should be five, 10, 15 yards and turn them into 50, 60-yard plays. He's not easy to take down, and that really inspires our offence."
Buckley finished 22-for-37 for 486 yards and four TDs for Calgary, while Burko completed 15 of 25 passes for 314 yards, two TDs, and three interceptions. His longest completion of the night was to Mitch Hillis less than four minutes into the game, a 78-yard bomb that ended up in the end zone and gave the Huskies an early lead. Hillis finished with 145 yards on five catches, while Julan Lynch hauled in six catches for 105 yards for Saskatchewan.
After the early Hillis touchdown, the Dinos managed to slowly work their way back into the game and, despite not finding the end zone until late in the half, chipped away thanks to the reliable foot of Johnny Mark. The fifth-year kicker was good on five of his six field goal attempts in the game, tying him with current Calgary Stampeder Tyler Crapigna for the CIS all-time record with 84 in his career. Along the way, he put up 23 more points to bring his own national scoring record to 489 with three games left in the season.
A one-yard Jimmy Underdahl TD put the Dinos on top 16-10 late in the second quarter, and it was 20-10 at half time for Calgary. After Trumpy and Hartley scored their TDs less than a minute apart, Calgary found the end zone four more times: a 29-yarder to Denzel Radford, Hartley's 105-yard highlight, a 29-yard catch deep in the end zone by Simonise, and the capper, a 9-yard run by Bryce Harper in the final minute.
Harper, filling in for the injured Mercer Timmis at tailback, picked up 102 yards on 14 carries in the game. His counterpart on the other side, Calgary native Tyler Chow, had 24 carries for 126 yards in a losing cause for the Huskies.
Defensively, Connor McGough had an outstanding outing for Calgary with seven solo tackles and a pair of sacks, while Micah Teitz added 7.5 tackles. Tanner Doll had six tackles and an interception, while Robert Woodson hauled in a pair of picks for Calgary. Saskatchewan's defensive leader was linebacker Dane Bishop with 7.5 tackles, while Brett Boechler added seven more while Justin Filteau picked up 6.5.
Both teams will enjoy the Thanksgiving bye next week before returning to action in a repeat engagement, this time in Saskatoon. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. MT Friday, Oct. 16 at Griffiths Stadium, live on Shaw TV and CanadaWest.tv.
No. 8 Saskatchewan 07 03 09 00 – 19
No. 1 Calgary 03 17 14 25 – 59
SASK – Mitch Hillis 78-yard TD pass from Drew Burko (Sean Stenger convert), 3:55, 7-0 CGY
CGY – Johnny Mark 35-yard FG, 8:31, 7-3 SASK
SASK – Sean Stenger 28-yard FG, 0:36, 10-3 SASK
CGY – Johnny Mark 27-yard FG, 4:05, 10-6 SASK
CGY – Johnny Mark 29-yard FG, 7:21, 10-9 SASK
CGY – Jimmy Underdahl 1-yard TD run (Johnny Mark convert), 11:19, 16-10 CGY
CGY – Johnny Mark 85-yard kickoff single, 11:19, 17-10 CGY
CGY – Johnny Mark 44-yard FG, 13:14, 20-10 CGY
SASK – Sean Stenger 47-yard missed FG single, 6:12, 20-11 CGY
SASK – John Trumpy 35-yard TD pass from Drew Burko (Sean Stenger convert), 8:46, 20-18 CGY
CGY – Austen Hartley 5-yard TD pass from Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark convert), 9:40, 27-18 CGY
SASK – Sean Stenger 41-yard missed FG single, 11:04, 27-20 CGY
CGY – Denzel Radford 29-yard TD pass from Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark convert), 14:36, 34-19 CGY
CGY – Austen Hartley 105-yard TD pass from Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark convert), 3:17, 41-19 CGY
CGY – Johnny Mark 27-yard FG, 6:12, 44-19 CGY
CGY – Rashaun Simonise 29-yard TD pass from Andrew Buckley (Johnny Mark convert), 9:18, 51-19 CGY
CGY – Johnny Mark 85-yard kickoff single, 9:18, 52-19 CGY
CGY – Bryce Harper 9-yard TD run (Johnny Mark convert), 14:22, 59-19 CGY