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Dinos kick off 2015 season with record-breaking effort

By Sonny Sachdeva, September 5 2015 —

The Dinos football team’s 2015 campaign got off to a somewhat rocky start in this season’s inaugural match-up.

The Dinos lined up against former head coach Blake Nill and his University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in front of over 4,200 fans at McMahon Stadium on Sept. 4, only to see the rival squad score a 102-yard touchdown on the very first play of the game. Trailing 10–5 at the end of the first quarter of their season, the Dinos found themselves faced with some very early adversity.

But Calgary quickly turned things around when the second quarter began. Dinos runningback Mercer Timmis led the way, running in a 15-yard touchdown and giving his team their first lead.

From that point on, it was all Dinos.

Timmis continued his banner night by racking up 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns, positioning himself atop the Dinos record books with 36 career touchdowns — the most of any runningback in team history.

By the time the game had wound to a close, the Dinos had amassed a dominant 49–16 lead.

“It’s a good start to the season,” said new Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. “The emotions were running high at first but they settled down, got in their groove, and carried through the game. It was unique and exciting, and I even had to keep my emotions in check at times with the history I’ve had with Blake over many years.”

After overwhelming the University of Regina Rams with a 25–9 preseason victory, the Dinos’ potent offense was once again the difference maker in this tilt.

Both the University of Calgary and UBC posted over 200 passing yards each — Dinos quarterback Andrew Buckley threw for 206 yards, while his teammate Rashaun Simonise led all receivers with 143 yards — but it was the Dinos’ rushing effort that allowed U of C to pile on an insurmountable lead. Calgary finished the game with 279 rushing yards — nearly eight times UBC’s total of 35 rushing yards. The Dinos also earned all four of their touchdowns via their running game.

Even quarterback Buckley managed to chip in on the run, rushing for 67 net yards himself — a higher mark than any of UBC’s runningbacks.

As pivotal as the club’s core offensive performers were, the Dinos special teams also played a central role in attaining the win.

Dinos kicker Johnny Mark had a historic night in his own right, posting 17 points (while also going four-for-four in his field goal attempts) to become the third-highest scorer in CIS history. At 408 career points, he now sits within reach of the number-one all-time spot, currently held by the University of Western Ontario’s Lirim Hajrullahu and his 422 career points.

Calgary’s Michael Klukas chipped in with some thrilling plays as well. He came up with an exceptional punt return in the third quarter that put the Dinos up 32–14. Reining in the ball near his own goal line, Klukas wound up in his own endzone before splitting two Thunderbirds and streaking up the sideline. The quick-footed receiver sidestepped a few more attempted tackles before cutting towards the middle of the field and taking off for the score. His 110-yard return touchdown finished as the second-longest in Dinos history.

Despite the game finishing as a blowout victory, the Dinos’ coaching staff acknowledged that it was still a valuable test for their group — though one their team was well prepared for.

“You never want to get off to a slow start,” said Harris. “But we’re a veteran team and have been in these sorts of situations and circumstances. Having to settle down is not something new for them.”

Harris’ squad certainly had no trouble overcoming their rough start in this tilt, and they now look poised to continue the success they found in 2014.

The Dinos will travel to Winnipeg next to face the University of Manitoba Bisons in their first road game of the season on Sept. 11. They’ll be looking to exact some revenge on the Bisons after Manitoba eliminated them from the Canada West playoffs last season. Catch the game at 6 p.m. on Shaw TV or CanadaWest.tv.

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