The University of Calgary Dinos held a coming out party, invited the undefeated University of Manitoba Bisons to McMahon Stadium on Saturday and then proceeded to beat the snot out of them in a 37-17 tilt that broke a two-year winning streak for the 2007 Vanier Cup Champions.
The convincing win is the first time the Dinos put points on the scoreboard this season, squashing any doubts that the 25-0 loss in Saskatchewan a week prior would be a common story this fall.
"It feels awesome," said Dinos head coach Blake Nill. "We are a better team than the results last week. We're a young team, we're going to have our days and we're going to have our moments, and today we just happened to fire on more cylinders than we did last week."
The man of the hour, Dinos quarterback Deke Junior, threw for two touchdowns in his first Canadian Interuniversity Sport start and connected on 20 of 28 pass attempts, for 282 yards.
"We played to our potential today," said Junior. "Our [offensive] line played great, I had all the time in the world to throw the ball and the receivers came down with it too."
The Bisons were quick to put points up on the board after quarterback John Mackie threw a 41-yard pass to Terry Firr in the end zone five minutes into the game. The Dinos answered back early in the second quarter when Junior hit Okotoks product Anthony Parker for a 58-yard play.
Parker made his 2008 debut against the Bisons as an injury left him sidelined a week earlier. He was a key element in the win, catching a TD pass on a drive that started after linebacker Andrea Bonaventura intercepted a throw by Mackie.
Adding 20 points in the third quarter, the Dinos widened the scoring gap with two solid field goals by Aaron Ifield and a one-yard touchdown from Anthony Woodson.
The win gives both teams a 1-1 record and Mackie his first loss in CIS regular season play.
Nill said getting over the mental block of beating an undefeated team was key to the victory.
"The thing I want to tell my guys [is] I think we can compete physically with any team in the country," he said. "The thing that holds us back is just our youth, we have to [develop] a culture that we can compete. We're still a long way from being at the top."
Although the victory felt good, Junior said that they are already looking ahead to Saturday's home game against their arch rival, the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
"This game is gone, now we got to work [as hard] as we did last week," he said.
Junior's strong game has put him in the forefront of the coaching staff's radar.
"Deke has got a ways to go still, [but] he did what we asked him to do and that was to distribute the ball and I think he'll be better for it," said Nill.