The lights nearly went out on the Dinos football team Fri., Oct. 26. Calgary held a paltry 3-4 record going into the game at McMahon Stadium as they played host to the University of Manitoba Bisons--arguably the best team in the country. The team's fate was in their own hands. Win or tie and they would be playoff bound. Lose and all control would be lost with no guarantees of anything.
In the most important game of the season, the Dinos gave up a massive 388 yards of offence on their way to a shameful 34-0 loss. Luckily--or unluckily, depending on how you look at it--the University of Alberta lost to the University of British Columbia the following day and Calgary is officially playoff bound.
"We have to give credit where credit is due," conceded Dinos Head Coach Tony Fasano. "They are a very good team, no question about it."
The bad news is next week's challenge doesn't get any easier. Clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the Canada West Conference means the Dinos must play the first-place Bisons again, this time on the plains of Manitoba. Dinos linebacker Agustin Barrenecchea said he understands the enormity of the challenge and believes the entire squad will be up to the task.
"We played really well for three quarters but in the fourth we let up," said the soft-spoken captain. "We can't have those kind of mistakes in Manitoba. They're too good a team."
There were bright spots in the Dinos' debauchery but it's safe to say they were overshadowed by negative notes. For instance, receiver Blake Machan caught four passes for a whopping 100 yards, but Calgary's leading wide out and Hec Crighton nominee Jamie Elliott was forced to leave the game early after suffering a concussion.
Quarterback Brent Hargreaves managed to throw for 170 yards, constant pressure from the Manitoba D-line also forced him to throw four interceptions.
"Overall I think Brent played well," said Fasano. "But there is no question the picks hurt us."
In a rout like this one the blame does not lie with a single player or a certain side of the ball. It is equally distributed and must be shouldered by the entire team. But, if history is any indication this Dinos side has a tendency to bounce back after these types of games. This doesn't mean the Bisons should be shaking in their boots when the Calgary bus pulls into the stadium, but with nothing to lose the Dinos should not be counted out just yet.
The Red Zone:
Four Dinos will hang 'em up this season. Offensive lineman Brad Gillam, receiver/kicker Jimmy Hartley, defensive back Greg Hoover and D-lineman Yousef Traya all played their final regular season Canadian Interuniversity Sport game at McMahon Stadium last Friday.
Manitoba added insult to injury, forcing one final TD down the Dinos throat with only a few seconds left in the game. They could have easily knelt on the ball to end the game but instead chose to tack on an extra seven and slap the hometown boys in the face.
Here's to the Dinos kicking the shit out of the Bisons on principle alone.