Sinagra leads Dinos to Vanier Cup championship in final U Sports game

The Canadian Press

QUEBEC — Fifth-year quarterback Adam Sinagra led the Calgary Dinos to a 27-13 win over the Montreal Carabins for the Vanier Cup on Saturday.

Sinagra, a native of Chateauguay, Que., completed 22-of-28 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns in his final U Sports game to help Calgary win its first Canadian university football championship in 24 years.

It was the fifth Vanier Cup win in Dinos history. They had last won in 1995, when they beat the Western Mustangs in Toronto.

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"To win this in my home province, to end my career as a champion, and I've never won anything before, at any level, wow," said Sinagra, the game's MVP.

Calgary took a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter Saturday when Hunter Karl caught a nine-yard pass from Sinagra, completing a 10-play, 87-yard drive.

The Dinos added a late TD in the final minute of the game on a Robinson Rodrigues one-yard run.

"What a sweet win," said Calgary's head coach Wayne Harris. "Those veteran players showed a lot of leadership today and all season long. And Adam (Sinagra) played one heck of a game. "

Calgary opened the scoring with a pair of field goals from Niko DiFonte — from 22 and 38 yards — to take a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Carabins briefly pulled ahead, scoring the game's first touchdown on a one-yard run from Reda Maki late in the second quarter. The score was helped by a faked field goal during the drive.

The Dinos responded quickly with a touchdown of their own when Sinagra connected with Jalen Philpot in the end zone on a 13-yard pass, giving Calgary a 13-7 lead at half time.

Karl extended Calgary's lead to 20-7 with his TD in the fourth, after Montreal's Louis-Philippe Simoneau kicked a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter. Simoneau added a 16-yard field goal in the fourth to cut the Carabins' deficit to 20-13.

The Dinos suffered a serious blow on defence when linebacker Charlie Moore was injured on the second offensive play of the game. Moore went down after he tackled running back Ryth-Jean Giraud. Moore got back up after a few minutes but did not returned to the game.

Later, it was the Carabins defence that was hit hard when linebacker Jean-Philippe Levesque and defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy exited the game with injuries.

"No matter the injuries, the best team won today," said Montreal head coach Danny Maciocia after the game.

Maciocia now has a record of 1-2 in Vanier Cup finals.

It was the first ever game between the Dinos and the Carabins.

The game was played in front of 8,376 fans at Telus Stadium, on the campus of Laval University.

Calgary last appearance in a Vanier Cup before Saturday was in 2016, when it lost to Laval at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2019.

Luc Lang, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected version of an earlier story. Adam Sinagra is in his fifth year. Also, Calgary lost to Laval at Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field in 2016.

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