Huskies Look To Break Bisons


Game Date: Friday, September 5, 2014, 7pm
Game Location: Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park
Live Television Broadcast: Shaw Cable
Live Stats/ Live Webcast:

A rematch of a nail-biting 2013 semifinal between the Manitoba Bisons and Saskatchewan Huskies will be the highlight matchup on the opening week of the Canada West football schedule.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. local time on Friday. The game can be watched live on Shaw Cable.

The Huskies have not lost a Canada West season opening game since 2002 and have lost just three since 1994.
Saskatchewan (No. 10) is one of four Canada West teams to hold a spot in the CIS Top 10. Calgary (No. 2), Manitoba (No. 6) and UBC (No. 7) join the Huskies in the first national rankings.

Manitoba quarterback Jordan Yantz will battle against brother Tristian Koronkiewicz, a first-year defensive lineman for the Huskies.

New coaches are on the Saskatchewan sidelines including two-time Vanier Cup champion and 15 year CFL veteran offensive lineman Scott Flory, 2010 Canada West MVP Laurence Nixon and former Huskie defensive back Chris Lambiris. 2013 Huskie graduates Garrett Burgess and Lane Bryksa are also working with the team as graduate assistants.

For the first time in six seasons, the Huskies didn’t play a non-conference game.

Friday night marks University of Saskatchewan Homecoming. Celebrations include a ceremonial coin toss with University of Saskatchewan interim President Dr. Gordon Barnhart, U of S Alumni Association President Wayne Evanisky, USSU President Max Fine Day and GSA President Izabela Vlahu, as well as the annual toga run. Togas on campus first made their appearance in 1961 in conjunction with a student organized event involving a Roman Holiday on Campus. This evolved over the years into the traditional toga run which happens each year at the homecoming football game.

Including playoffs, the Huskies are 12-13 against Manitoba since 1999. The two teams split the season series in 2013 with both teams winning on the road. Manitoba won the semifinal 37-36 on a missed dying seconds Saskatchewan kick.

The Manitoba Bisons sport a veteran lineup with 10 of the 12 starters on offence returning and eight of 12 starters on defence. Losses for Manitoba include CIS All-Canadian Anthony Coombs, linebacker Thomas Miles, slotback Andrew Smith and kicker Nick Boyd. All four were drafted to the CFL.

Jordan Yantz returns at quarterback for his final season of CIS eligibility. A Canada West all-star in 2013, Yantz led the CIS with 25 passing touchdowns and was fourth in the CIS with 2,474 passing yards. Slotback Nic Demski, a three-time All-Canadian, returns to be Yantz’s main target. Wide receivers Dustin Pedersen and Matt Sawyer will also be main targets for Yantz. Kienan LaFrance and Alex Christie will take over running duties in the vacant spot left by Coombs.

Defensive tackle Evan Gill will lead the Bisons on defence. Drafted in 2014 by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the first round, Gill had 28.5 tackles in the 2013 season.

After graduating 11 fifth-year athletes from the 2013 season, the Saskatchewan Huskies starting lineup will sport different faces.

Among familiar faces on offence is third-year quarterback Drew Burko and brother receiving duo Kit and Mitch Hillis. Burko’s strength is his passing game, tallying 3,568 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two seasons. The Hillis brother duo combined for 765 yards in 2013.

Looking to help Saskatchewan on offence in 2014 is Saskatoon Hilltop transfers Andre Lalonde (running back) and John Trumpy (slotback). Both won three CJFL championships with the Saskatoon Hilltops and Lalonde participated in Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp in the spring.

Known for strength on defence, veteran leadership will come from a trio fifth-years in safety Mark Ingram, linebacker Richard Zacharias and defensive lineman Clayton Sarich. In 2013, Saskatchewan allowed opponents to average just 25.5 points per game – the second least in the conference – and led the Canada West with 13 interceptions and an impressive 24 sacks.

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