Another very good article here

Reeling Dinos try to digest what McMaster loss means to program
Coach Blake Nill vows to pick up the pieces and get back to work after 45-6 shellacking in Hamilton


HAMILTON - A joyous ruckus is taking place about, oh, 50 feet away.

Friends and family, players and coaches, are dancing outside the hosts’ locker-room, celebrating the McMaster Marauders’ terribly convincing 45-6 victory Saturday in the Mitchell Bowl. The development sends the Marauders to Toronto to defend their Vanier Cup championship.

At the Calgary Dinos’ end of the corridor, on the event level of Ron Joyce Stadium, things are predictably more quiet.

In fact, the only sound is Blake Nill’s attempts to assess the damage.

“I think the program is on good footing,” says the Dinos boss, “but it’s going to take a while . . . this is a bitter pill to swallow. Everyone associated with the program is probably in disarray right now. But we’ve got to wait, pick ourselves up, getting moving again.”

Five straight times, by virtue of capturing the Canada West, have the Dinos gone to the national semifinal.

Their record beyond the conference title in those five years is 2-5, with nary a Vanier Cup win.

And in the past three season-ending ordeals — 2010 Vanier Cup (against Laval), 2011 Mitchell Bowl (against Laval), 2012 Mitchell Bowl (against McMaster) — Calgary has been outscored 115-18 (with not a single offensive touchdown in there).

What gives?

“I don’t know what it is,” replies Nill, carefully choosing his words. “I’d like to say our conference is a tough conference, that it’s a competitive conference. We prepare like we do for every game. We have expectations like we do for every game, both for our staff and for our players. We just haven’t been competitive outside of the conference, other than a couple times.

“The last couple years, coming out of the conference, and getting beat by large margins . . . I know our football conference is a competitive football conference and I know we’re a competitive team, but we didn’t play like it.”

Quarterback Eric Dzwilewski, head down and plug in, staggers out of the locker-room and points fingers. At No. 11, himself.

The battle between the country’s top passers never came close to materializing.

McMaster star Kyle Quinlan threw three touchdown strikes, ran for three more touchdowns, and was, by a long shot, the most dynamic presence on the field.

(It’s worth noting that Dinos safety Wyatt Getty had been scratched because of knee issues and another fifth-year defensive back, Tye Noble, was sidelined by a first-quarter injury.)

Dzwilewski, meanwhile, never found his groove. He wasn’t alone. A couple of dropped passes early. A couple of ineffective carries by difference-maker Steven Lumbala.

By the time Dzwilewski was yanked, his numbers were lacklustre — 10-for-21, 114 yards. This from a player who completed more than 70 per cent of his passes in conference play.

“You’ve got to take accountability, and I’ll take accountability for everything,” says Dzwilewski, who turns 21 Friday — yes, the day of the Vanier Cup. “We blew assignments. We blew executions. We blew adjustments. We blew basically everything. To lay an egg like this is just embarrassing, just unexpected.”

It would be wrong to exclude mention of the penalty-takers, whose actions greatly boosted the Marauders.

Imagine nearly 100 penalty yards, on 14 infractions — in the first half alone. Particularly painful had been the second-quarter meltdown, during which the travellers were dinged for 66 yards’ worth.

On McMaster’s first touchdown drive, there had been a Dinos pass interference penalty (declined), then offside, then offside, then unnecessary roughness, then unnecessary roughness. All during a single possession.

“I don’t know what to say (about) the kids,” Nill says. “We’ve talked about penalties and how important they are, how important it was to play with discipline. It’s a message that we talk always about. Whether they came out, out of control or not . . . it was poor decision-making.”

The Dinos’ busiest chap — with two 15-yard penalties, with two sacks, with seven tackles — had been linebacker Jordan Verdone, the unit’s emotional sparkplug.

“I play hard, I play to the whistle,” Verdone says unapologetically. “In a championship game like this, I think the ref should let us play hard, you know what I mean? I feel like they tried to take out the aggression with some of our plays and players. I feel like the refs were reffing a regular-season game.”

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Not gonna lie though, while I do feel more for the Dinos after this loss as a result of some of these articles, which are pretty good reads, I've become even less of a Verdone fan after his quote in this article. Considering one of his 'play hard until the whistle' plays was grabbing Quinlan by the neck after the whistle on a QB keeper and throwing him to the ground. If they're reffing like this is a 'regular season game,' as he said, does he expect to get away with more in a Bowl Game?