By: Jeff Sargeant, UBC Sports Media
VANCOUVER – It took the Canada West leading Calgary Dinos (5-0) a while to get rolling but once they did there was no stopping them, handing the UBC Thunderbirds (3-2) a 31-17 loss at Thunderbird Stadium Friday night. The Calgary win spoiled UBC's 'Black Out' night, which saw them wear a black and gold third jersey, the first time a UBC football team has worn a third jersey in the program's 93 year history.
The 'Birds held a 10-9 lead at the half while both teams played a stellar game on defence to that point, but a three touchdown, 21-point third quarter put the game away in favour of the visitors who have now won five straight to open the season, while the 'Birds now find themselves in a tie with Regina for second in the conference.
"We need to have more from our offence," said a frustrated UBC head coach Blake Nill immediately following the game.
"If you look at how many dropped passes we had today, we just need more. Our return game, the only time we had a decent return we fumbled it, we shot ourselves in the foot. But let's make no mistake about it, we as a staff were out-coached. We have to do better as a staff but we also have to have execution on the field."
The T-Birds defence stood tall to start the game shutting out the Dinos for a quarter for the first time all season long.
Calgary turned the ball over twice in the opening frame, the second of which gave UBC quarterback Michael O'Connor instant field position which he used for a 42-yard touchdown toss to Trivel Pinto giving the 'Birds a 7-0 lead following the convert.
The Dinos were quick to respond with a major score of their own thanks to Jack McDonald's 13-yard catch, which started the momentum swing that went fully into Calgary's favour in the second half.
On their first possession of the third quarter the Dinos quickly moved down field with a pair of deep Adam Sinagra passes including a 20-yard touchdown throw to Michael Klukas giving Calgary a 16-10 lead which they would not look back from.
"We started wearing down a bit, we started not executing and then they just rolled on us," added Nill who felt his defence was on the field far too much.
Calgary's Jeshrun Antwi scored the next two touchdowns of the game, one in the air and one on the ground while the Dinos took a 30-10 lead heading into the fourth.
Veteran UBC receiver Alex Morrison got the 'Birds back within two possessions with a 10-yard touchdown catch with seven minutes remaining but that's all the T-Birds would muster.
O'Connor finished the game 28-of-44 with 280 yards and two touchdowns while Pinto's 91 yards led UBC's offence. The 'Birds were held to just 71 rushing yards.
The win gives the Dinos some breathing room atop the Canada West standings now four points clear of both UBC and Regina.
"We need to be able to compete with those guys," said Nill about the number two ranked Dinos.
"Now it goes through Calgary. If we want a chance to get out of the league we have to win in Calgary."
The Thunderbirds now have a week off of game action before two straight on the road starting in Saskatchewan against the 2-3 Huskies on Saturday, October 14th.