Football: Digesting Week 9 (Friday); Blowout wins for Huskies

  • It's hard to know what to make of Huskies Football Outsider's report the Alberta Golden Bears "tried to stand at center field when the Huskies (starters) were introduced (before the game). The Huskies Season Ticket Holder of the game was waving the Huskies flag during the pre-game intros. The Alberta players converged on him before the Huskies were introduced, but the fan stood his ground."

    Someone who saw it can better comment, but it sounds like an attempt at intimidation that masked a lack of confidence. Saskatchewan won 39-3, a 56-point reversal from the first time it played Alberta. Since Grant Shaw kicked six field goals, three from inside the 20-yard line, it could have been worse.

  • Manitoba (4-3) is in the driver's seat to finish third in Canada West after a 25-17 win over UBC at wind-whipped Thunderbird Stadium. UBC made it interesting, since Jordan Grieve was tackled at the seven-yard line after catching a 46-year-old Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game.

  • Saint Mary's DeVon Hicks had two interception-return TDs in the No. 7 Huskies' 41-7 laugher against St. FX. Someone remind him he's a defensive lineman. Saint Mary's forced the X-Men into a ton of turnovers, to come away with home-field advantage through the Uteck Bowl.

No. 5 Saskatchewan 39, Alberta 3 – The Huskies, who will likely need to beat Regina to win the Canada West regular-season title, rolled up 495 yards offence, but Jeff Hassler (107 rushing-receiving yards, two TDs), was the only player to gain more than 100 yards. Laurence Nixon was efficient, passing 28 times for 285 yards and the Huskies D wolfed down six interceptions, including a pair each by Bryce McCall and Mitch Friesen.

Obviously, Saskatchewan had some answers for Alberta's pass coverage. The Golden Bears (3-4), who might need more than just a win over No. 3 Calgary next week to make the playoffs, had five sacks, including three from Craig Gerbrandt.

Grant Shaw had six field goals, matched Alberta's all-Canadian botteur Hugh O'Neill in net punting average and helped keep the Golden Bears out of the end zone in his capacity as a defensive back. There really needs to be some kind of award to honour that kind of versatility. A defensive back/kicker is never going to get Hec Crighton consideration.

Manitoba 25, UBC 17 – Bisons kicker Scott Dixon was a good closer, making four field goals on a yucky, windy night and on a mushy field, maing sure Matt Henry 143-yard rushing night did not go to waste.

UBC was briefly ahead in the third quarter after a fumbled punt led to a 21-yard TD, but Manitoba got 10 unanswered for a 19-10 lead. The Bisons got the touchdown back before Dixon kicked two field goals in the final four minutes.

It sounded like it was a sloppy game, with huge sections of mud on UBC's natural grass field and winds that blew over the restraining fences behind the end zone. Manitoba QB Nate Friesen only passed 18 times for 97 yards (no touchdowns). Veteran D-lineman Wyatt Jacobi also had a big fourth-quarter sack deep in UBC territory which forced the T-Birds to punt, leading to the first of two insurance field goals.

UBC's sophomore Billy Grieve was 15-of-33 for 188 yards and a touchdown. That was padded by the Hail Mary to Grieve (five receptions for 94 yards; all stats from CITR).

Running back Cheng Wei also came in for some praise from the broadcasters in his final game as a T-Bird.

No. 7 Saint Mary's 41, No. 9 St. Francis Xavier 7 – Without stats, it's tough to know what happened. Saint Mary's scored three of its five TDs on interception returns, with Jeff Hecht also taking one to the house to go along with a pair by Hicks.

Saint Mary's defence, under former Ottawa coordinator Danny Laramee, had six takeaways in total. The win gives the Huskies (6-1) a bye into the Loney Bowl, presuming it dots the I next week vs. Acadia.
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  1. I was at the Huskies / Bears game and saw the Bears try to intimidate the Huskies. You could hear their players say "Let's take over the dog," referring to the logo on centerfield. One of their playes started beaking the fan who waves the flag (the Huskies randomly select a season ticket holder every game to wave the flag and welcome the team; the fan was already at center field). The Bears were all on their 45ish yardline. Then, #2 on Alberta started moving towards the fan on the 55 yard line and had to be held back by his team mates. A classless act from Alberta which backfired. Perhaps it was a foreshadow of things to come for the Bears as they moved backwards all night.

    As an aside, not sure where the officials were or even if they were aware of what was going on.

  2. The U of Sask Huskies have done a tremendous job of engaging their fans this season. If you live in Saskatoon, you would notice this all over town. Something they started a few games ago was to have a fan receive the team at center field. They used to have a cheerleader there, but now they have a fan. Last night, Alberta was introduced in a stadium where the lights were dimmed and 5,000 green glowsticks were being waved. The Bears went to their bench across the field from there locker room. Then, as the Huskies theme music came on the Bears slowly started moving towards center field. They were pretty much on the Huskies logo about 15 seconds before the Huskies came out. Once the Huskies ran onto the field, the Bears moved away. I saw one Alberta player being pulled back by another player who was yelling at the fan (the fan is a 45ish a respected business leader in the community). The Huskies fan was doing nothing wrong. He was in a spotlight waving a flag when 40 Alberta football players moved towards him. I thought this was a stupid move by Alberta. I used to think they were a classy program. But after seeing that and the cheap shots that their O-Line was taking, not any more. Too bad.

  3. So the Alberta players moved towards a lone Saskatchewan fan on center field but backed off once the Huskies took the field?
    Hey that took big balls, didn't it?
    Very courageous of you, you little Pandas.
    Well you know, what goes around....
    Next time the Huskies play them in Edmonton, they should do their pre-game drills right on top of the Bear and stay there.
    And if Alberta squawks about it, just give em that "whatcha gonna do about it?" look.
    Then we'll see if Alberta can walk the walk.

  4. If, and I am careful to say 'if' Alberta comes back to Griffiths for a playoff game which is a distinct possibility depending on the results of next weekend, you can be certain that there will be no repeat of that stupidity. The Bears simply wanted to do something to interrupt what is undoubtly the best pre-game show in Canadian football (I include the CFL in that comment). They were silly and foolish. If every school had 10% as good a show as the Huskies have CIS football would be massively popular. Trying a stunt like that just demonstrates immaturity. Rest assured that it will not happen again for one of two reasons. Either the Bears recognize the err of their ways and make the mature decision OR the Huskie faithful will 'prevent' that kind of stupidity. Enough said.