By Josh Rose
How many dinosaurs does it take to kill a ram’s hope of winning the Hardy Cup? Just one University of Calgary football team will do. For the third time in four years, the Dinos have sent the Regina Rams back home and have advanced to the Hardy Cup final. In Friday night’s game, a 16-4 result, the Dinos scored early in the first quarter, leaving the Rams behind in the turf, but ran into penalty trouble in the fourth with 14 infractions for 140 yards and had 85 offensive yards called back.
Though the Dinos missed their chance for a perfect season at the hands of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds during their last game of the season on Oct. 29, the Dinos are still striving for the elusive Vanier Cup. After a disappointing loss to Laval Rouge et Or in the Vanier Cup last year, the Dinos have their eyes on capturing the cis title in what would be their ninth appearance in the league final.
“In order to win and have a perfect season or win a national championship you need to have a little bit of luck. You just need to do what you’re capable of doing and, God willing, you can have that kind of season,” said Dinos head coach Blake Nill.
Fifth-year running back Matt Walter has become one of the best running backs in U of C history. He has run over 4,000 yards, one of nine to do so, and with over 30 touchdowns, Walter is the all-time touchdown leader in Dinos history.
“It’s pretty rewarding. It looks good on the program, for the coaches and my teammates. I hope to transfer it to the next level,” said Walter.
“Matt [Walter] was a key recruit back in 2006,” said Nill. “From day one he’s been a superstar with us.”
Walter has had a terrific season following a terrific summer when he was drafted into the cfl 34th overall by the Calgary Stampeders and played for Team Canada in the ifaf world championship in Austria.
“We have to play with discipline and a lot smarter for next game,” said Nill. The dynamic Dinos will host the 75th Hardy Cup on Remembrance Day against ubc. If the Dinos defeat the T-birds, they will go on to the Mitchell Bowl semi-finals where they will get a shot to appear in Vancouver for the Vanier Cup on Nov. 25.
“We need to stick to the game plan and work hard — just need to do our jobs,” said Walter.
“We run the football and we have to stop the run. All of our planning goes into those two facets,” said Nill. “We’ve been struggling with injuries and we have a lot of young men playing positions they aren’t ready to play yet, but they’re stepping up, working hard and doing the best job they can.”
The Dinos are second place in the cis, behind Laval. The winner of the Canada West Hardy Cup will earn the right to host the Quebec champion in the cis semi-final Mitchell Bowl on Nov. 18.