Ben Matchett, Calgary Athletics
CALGARY – Rookie sensation Tyson Philpot scored two touchdowns, including a school-record 107-yard effort, as the fifth-ranked University of Calgary Dinos dominated the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds with a 57-7 win Friday night at McMahon Stadium.
The Calgary defence held UBC under 300 yards total offence and to just one score, a 25-yard run by quarterback Michael O'Connor, to claim the rematch of last season's epic Hardy Cup championship game. The Dinos offence moved the ball effectively again, putting up 544 yards to the delight of the 5,998 spectators in attendance.
"Nobody expects a result like this," said Dinos Head Coach Wayne Harris. "UBC is a good football team and they'll bounce back from this and be a formidable opponent – we have to play them again in two weeks and it's going to be a really tight, tough game. It still wasn't perfect – it never is, but that's what you work towards."
The game's turning point came late in the second quarter. With just over a minute left and the Thunderbirds holding the ball on the Dinos' 38-yard line, UBC elected to go for it on third down. O'Connor's pass fell incomplete and the Dinos marched down the field in just four plays, a drive capped off by a 37-yard Adam Sinagra touchdown pass to Hunter Karl. That made the score 31-7 at half time.
Philpot's first major, a 62-yard strike from Adam Sinagra just 1:45 into the game, put the Dinos up 8-0. The second, which broke the school record of 105 yards jointly held by the tandems of Andrew Buckley and Austen Hartley (2015) and Dalin Tollestrup and Adam Bunz (2006), came early in the fourth quarter after the Dinos had stopped UBC five consecutive times at the goal line. On the Dinos' first play after the turnover on downs, the speedy freshman got behind coverage and caught Sinagra's offering in full stride near midfield, accelerating on his way to the end zone to make it 42-7. He finished with 186 yards on just four catches.
"UBC had driven the field, and you're never happy about that, but we've been focusing on trying to shore up our score-zone defence and the guys made some great plays," said Harris. "To turn it around with the big play, it really lifted the bench – I thought we were a little flat there in the third quarter.
Karl was the recipient of two of Sinagra's five touchdown passes, with Justin Julien on the receiving end of the fifth. Defensive back Joe Cant picked off UBC backup pivot Cole Meyer for a 24-yard pick-six to round out the Dinos' major scores, while added a trio of field goals from 40, 40, and 23 yards along with four singles.
O'Connor finished 17-for-30 for 206 yards and one interception, while Sinagra tossed for 372 yards and five touchdowns – all on just 15 completions.
Calgary (2-0) heads to Saskatoon for a date with the Saskatchewan Huskies (2-0) next Friday night in a first-place battle, while UBC heads to Regina to face the Rams in a battle of 1-1 teams.
#6 UBC 00 07 00 00 – 7
#5 Calgary 18 13 04 22 – 57
CGY – Niko DiFonte 69-yard kickoff single, 0:00, 1-0 CGY
CGY – Tyson Philpot 62-yard TD pass from Adam Sinagra (Niko DiFonte convert), 1:45, 8-0 CGY
CGY – Team safety, 3:12, 10-0 CGY
CGY – Hunter Karl 15-yard TD pass from Adam Sinagra (Niko DiFonte convert), 13:05, 17-0 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 74-yard kickoff single, 13:07, 18-0 CGY
UBC – Michael O'Connor 25-yard TD run (Greg Hutchins convert), 0:59, 18-7 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 40-yard FG, 3:12, 21-7 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 40-yard FG, 12:42, 24-7 CGY
CGY – Hunter Karl 37-yard TD pass from Adam Sinagra (Niko DiFonte convert), 14:46, 31-7 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 23-yard FG, 8:05, 34-7 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 61-yard punt single, 11:19, 35-7 CGY
CGY – Tyson Philpot 107-yard TD pass from Adam Sinagra (Niko DiFonte convert), 3:30, 42-7 CGY
CGY – Justin Julien 8-yard TD pass from Adam Sinagra (Niko DiFonte convert), 7:58, 49-7 CGY
CGY – Niko DiFonte 69-yard kickoff single, 7:59, 50-7 CGY
CGY – Joe Cant 24-yard interception return TD (Niko DiFonte convert), 8:13, 57-7 CGY