Justin Mackenzie; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – The No. 1-ranked University of Calgary Dinos closed out their 2017 regular season with a lopsided 53-3 loss to the Alberta Golden Bears at McMahon Stadium Saturday afternoon.
After the loss, the Dinos end the regular season with 7-1 record and claim first place in the Canada West standings heading into next weeks playoffs against either Saskatchewan, or a rematch of this weekend's game against Alberta.
The Dinos put out a relatively rookie lineup for the game, selecting to leave some key veteran players out of the game such as Hunter Karl and Adam Laurensse in what looked to be an apparent rest game before the playoffs begin.
It was all Golden Bears right from the beginning as they limited the Dinos to a single point after the first quarter and only had a safety from then on to gift the Dinos another two points giving them the least amount of point scored in a game for the regular season this year. While the Dinos offence lacked, Alberta thrived, putting up their second highest score total for the season and also biggest margin of victory with a 50 point spread.
Turnovers were what ultimately hurt the Dinos, forfeiting eight, which prevented the them to gain any sort of momentum.
"Those four turnovers in the first half were really critical," Coach Wayne Harris said. And indeed they did, as three of the four drives resulting from those turnovers ended in Golden Bear points.
"Those really need to be eliminated if we want any chance of success in the playoffs."
Alessandro Molnar did most of the limited damage for the Dinos with the running game. Over nine opportunities he collected 70 yards with his longest run of 26 yards. Brendon Thera-Plamondon also stepped up in the absence of Hunter Karl in the lineup managing 74 yards on eight catches.
For Alberta, it was familiar face Ed Ilnicki who powered his way through the Dinos defence with 159 yards on the ground which was good enough for him to be crowned the new single season all-time rushing leader in Canada West. Tylor Henry also had a stellar game, catching four touchdown passes and recording 159 yards in the air.
Next week, the Golden Bears will now have to play the waiting game as they hope to be right back at McMahon Stadium for a rematch in the first round of the CW playoffs depending on the results of the Manitoba vs Saskatchewan game played Saturday night. The Dinos, whether its against Saskatchewan or Alberta will be back at McMahon next Saturday to open the 2017 playoffs. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. MT.
Photo by David Moll