Led by a methodical offensive attack and another stalwart defensive performance, the Calgary Dinos advanced to the 55th Vanier Cup presented by Promutuel Insurance next weekend in Quebec City, after a 30-17 defeat of the McMaster Marauders in the U SPORTS Mitchell Bowl Saturday at McMahon Stadium.
In a game featuring two of the top three passing offences in the nation, it was once again the Dinos defence that was the story. Calgary completely smothered the Marauders attack in the second half, giving Adam Sinagra and company plenty of time with the ball and short fields to work with.
“For the most part, we held them down pretty good,” explained Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. “Our defence has had an outstanding year, we have been relying on them in a lot of games, and they had a very solid day today.”
Jalen Philpot, who was named the game’s offensive MVP after totaling 130 yards on seven receptions, opened the scoring on a seven-yard crossing route from Sinagra for the only points of the opening quarter.
After blocking a punt, McMaster responded to open the second quarter, aided by a couple of Calgary penalties, when running back Jordan Lyons punched it in from the one to tie the game at 7-7.
With the game all square, Sinagra led an 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by Josiah Joseph’s one-yard plunge, putting the Dinos back up seven. The teams would exchange field goals, and the Dinos took a 17-10 lead into the half.
It was all Calgary in the second half, as the Dinos used their rushing attack to control the clock and put points on the board. McMaster had no answer for the Dinos rushing attack, as Calgary would finish with 237 yards on the ground.
“When we need to run the ball, we are running the ball, and when we need to pass the ball, we can pass,” explained Sinagra. “We are doing our best to keep the other offence off the field, and that is the kind of football we need to play in the playoffs.”
Defensive standout Grant McDonald scored the only Dinos touchdown of the half on a throw from Joseph, and paired with two more Niko DiFonte field goals, the Dinos had a commanding 30-10 lead late.
The Marauders added a late Tommy Nield touchdown from Andreas Dueck.
Sinagra was in control the whole game, finishing with 261 yards and one touchdown through the air, and no interceptions. Tyson Philpot did most of his damage on the ground, with 78 yards rushing to go along with 41 through the air. Robinson Rodrigues was outstanding for the second straight week, finishing with 125 yards on 22 carries.
McDonald was once again everywhere for the Dinos on defence, finishing with 6.5 tackles and earning defensive MVP honours for his efforts. Deane Leonard chipped in with seven tackles of his own.
“They are a good football team,” said McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek. “We were outplayed today, and I wish them well, because they have a shot at a Vanier Cup.”
Calgary will take on the Montreal Carabins in the 55th Vanier Cup presented by Promutuel Insurance next Saturday at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium in Quebec City, after the Carabins took down Acadia 38-0 in the Uteck Bowl.
Nike Top Performers
MVP (Maury L. Van Vliet Trophy): Jalen Philpot, Calgary
Defensive MVP: Grant McDonald, Calgary