The University of Calgary is headed back to the Vanier Cup.
Quarterback Adam Sinagra went 19-for-29 for 261 yards and a touchdown as the Dinos advanced to the championship game with a 30-17 victory over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday in the U Sports Mitchell Bowl.
“They’ve worked hard all season to get to this spot and to get the opportunity now to go for the championship prize and that’s what every team wants,” Calgary coach Wayne Harris said.
On a perfect fall day with dry conditions at McMahon Stadium, the home side scored first on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Sinagra to Jalen Philpot at 5:13 of the first quarter. Calgary didn’t trail from there, holding quarter leads of 7-0, 17-10 and 20-10.
“We knew it was going to be big just to come out and punch them first,” said Philpot, who also had a 34-yard grab on that opening drive. “Our team is one of those teams that plays off momentum so as an offence, we’re like ‘let’s go get the momentum first and keep it up.'“
Philpot finished with seven grabs for 130 yards.
Calgary’s opponent next Saturday in Quebec City will be the University of Montreal, which advanced with a 38-0 blowout win over Acadia University in the Uteck Bowl, the other semi-final.
In Wolfville, N.S., running back Reda Malki scored two touchdowns in the second half for the Carabins. Malki first got into the end zone on a 16-yard run late in the third quarter and then again on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter, with Montreal kicker Louis-Philippe Simoneau making good on both conversions. The lopsided loss brought an end to Acadia’s undefeated season, much to the dismay of local fans who bundled themselves up in blankets and sleeping bags to brave chilly fall winds blowing through Raymond Field.
The Dinos will be seeking their first Vanier Cup title since 1995. They’ve lost their past four appearances – the past three all coming to Laval (2010, 2013, 2016). Now they’ll get a chance to win it on the Rouge et Or’s home turf.
“They’re a tough, strong opponent and they’re going to come out and whack us,” Philpot said of the Carabins. “We’re just going to have to play Canada West football and show them that we can ball, too.”
McMaster quarterback Andreas Dueck finished 23-for-46 for 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Marauders receiver Tommy Nield had eight catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.
McMaster reached the Mitchell Bowl after upsetting the top-ranked Western Mustangs last Saturday.
The Vanier Cup is set for Nov. 23 at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium in Quebec City.