The 55th edition of the Vanier Cup, the Canadian college football (U SPORTS) championship, took place Saturday in Quebec City, and the Canada West champion Calgary Dinos beat the RSEQ champion Montreal Carabins 27-13 to lift the trophy thanks to a great showing by quarterback Adam Sinagra. That’s a notable result on a few levels, as the Dinos have dominated their conference for much of the last decade-plus (they’ve won nine Hardy Cup titles as Canada West champions since 2008, including six straight from 2008-13), but hadn’t won a national title since 1995. That led to a celebratory bath for head coach Wayne Harris Jr.:
1983, 1985, 1988, 1995, 𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟵 🏆
— UCalgary Dinos (@UCDinos) November 23, 2019
Harris has been involved with the Dinos for nearly 40 years, including as a player from 1977-81 and as an assistant coach the time they last won the title. He’s been the team’s head coach since 2015. Here’s a closer look at his celebratory dunking:
This win was particularly notable consdiering that Calgary barely made it out of the conference this year, with the Manitoba Bisons pulling off a remarkable late Hail Mary touchdown in the Hardy Cup game but then narrowly failing on a two-point conversion that would have won them the game. The Dinos had an easier time in the Mitchell Bowl semifinal game, though, beating the OUA champion Western Mustangs 30-17 last week to earn a Vanier Cup berth. And they went to great success Saturday, led by fifth-year quarterback Adam Sinagra.
This Vanier Cup game marked somewhat of a homecoming for Sinagra, who’s from Chateauguay, Quebec. And while he’s had a great college career with the Dinos, including winning the 2018 Hec Crighton Trophy (an award given annually to U SPORTS football’s most outstanding player), his team hadn’t been able to win a Vanier Cup until now. In 2016, where Sinagra first saw action after taking over for injured starting QB Jimmy Underdahl partway through the year, the Dinos made it to the Vanier Cup, but lost 31-26 to the Laval Rouge et Or. In 2017, they fell 35-23 to Laval in the Mitchell Bowl, and in 2018, they lost 43-18 to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Hardy Cup. This time, though, the Dinos won the whole thing, and Sinagra’s 22 completions on 28 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns in his final college game were a big reason why.
After a scoreless first quarter, Calgary got on the board in the second with a pair of field goals from Niko Difonte. But Montreal soon struck back with a touchdown run from Reda Malki. However, the Dinos went into the half with a 13-7 lead thanks to Sinagra throwing a touchdown pass to Jalen Philpot. The third quarter saw the Carabins make things closer with a field goal from Louis-Phillipe Simoneau (who has his own remarkable story of beating cancer), but Calgary then posted two fourth-quarter touchdowns against just another field goal, giving them a 27-13 win.
— UCalgary Dinos Football 🏈 (@Dinos_Football) November 23, 2019
That meant the Vanier Cup is returning to Calgary for the first time since 1995, and that Sinagra capped off his Canadian university football career in style.