Huskies Blast T-Birds On Blackout Night

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies reasserted themselves as a playoff contender Friday night with a 40-10 win over the No. 10 ranked UBC Thunderbirds.

The Huskies tallied 494 yards of total offense, including 350 through the air while shutting out the reigning Vanier Cup champions in the second half to improve to 3-3 on the season. With the win in the lone meeting between the two schools, Saskatchewan leap frogs UBC (3-3) in the standings and will hold the tiebreaker, if necessary.

“We put ourselves back in the hunt,” said Huskie head coach Brian Towriss. “We still control our own destiny. Full marks to our guys, they played really, really well.”

Kyle Siemens led the charge for the Huskies with 346 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Siemens was good on 24 of his 38 passes on the night. Mitch Hillis was Siemens’ favourite target in his first game back from injury hauling in 10 passes for 175 yards and a pair of scores. Jarvis James rushed for 66-yards and a pair of touchdowns to help the Huskies get out to an early lead.

“He (Mitch) broke the game wide open,” Towriss added about his fourth year receiver Mitch Hills. “His two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter really broke it open for us, it was great to see.”

Saskatchewan got off to a strong start on a cold and blustery night in Saskatoon where winds were gusting over 60 km/h. The Huskies marched the field on their opening drive that was capped off by a Jarvis James one-yard plunge. The Huskies would lead all the way to the finish.

The T-Birds were able to find their rhythm before the first quarter was out, driving the length of the field before settling for a Greg Hutchins 20-yard field goal.

Saskatchewan answered back in the second quarter with a Sean Stenger field goal and a James eight-yard rushing major to go ahead 17-3.

UBC found the end zone for the first time when Michael O’Connor, who took a big hit on the play, got the ball off just in time to Trivel Pinto for a 20-yard touchdown.

Stealing the momentum back before halftime, Siemens found Julan Lynch for a five-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half to put the Huskies up 24-10.

The second half belonged to the Huskies. Hillis hauled in a pair of Siemens’ passes for touchdowns. The first was a 10-yard grab midway through the third quarter. On his second score, Hillis caught the pass from a scrambling Siemens, broke a pair of tackles and outran the defence for a 77-yard touchdown.

Michael O’Connor went 22-for-37 in the game for UBC, passing for 231 yards and a touchdown. Ben Cummings was O’Connor’s top target with nine receptions for 92 yards. Cummings also led the T-Birds in rushing with 174 yards on 19 carries. UBC finished the night with 405 yards of total offense.

A.J. Blackwell recorded 11 tackles in the game for UBC to lead the defensive unit.

Eric Thakurdeen led the Huskies defense with 7.5 tackles. Payton Hall and Brooks Falloon each recoreded an interception on O’Connor.

Next up for Saskatchewan is a visit to Calgary to take on the No. 5 Dinos. UBC remains on the road, travelling to Regina to face the No. 4 Rams.