Huskies Salute The Troops And Their Kicker On The Way To A Win

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies opened their season with a dramatic win Friday night at Griffiths Stadium.

The Dogs needed a last second field-goal from Sean Stenger in regulation to tie the game to send it to overtime. Then in the second mini-game the Dogs needed Stenger to come through again to kick the game winner for a 41-39 win over their arch rivals from Regina.

The evening opened with fireworks and a flyover from two F-18s as it was Salute Our Troops night at the ballpark and it wasn’t long after that Regina would answer with an offensive burst of their own. Quarterback Noah Picton, on a QB sneak on third down would bounce off the line and into the open and scamper for 46 yards to set up a 4-yard run for Atlee Simon to open the scoring. (7-0 Regina)

The Huskies would answer on their next drive moving the ball to the Regina nine but their drive would stall forcing a 16 yard field goal attempt for Stenger. His kick would curl wide and the Dogs would have to settle for the single point. (Regina 7 – Saskatchewan 1)

The Huskie offence would put together a nice drive the next time they would touch the ball, late in the first quarter, but again it would stall. So, on the first play of the second quarter Stenger would connect on a 35 yard field goal to draw the Dogs closer. (Rams 7 – SK 4)

The dogs defence would once again keep the Regina offence in check and force a kick from punter Daniel Scraper. He would send it to the Huskies 35 yard-line which is where returner Chad Braun went to work returning the kick all the way to the Regina 8 yard line. That would set up an 8 yard pitch and catch by Kyle Siemens to Mitch Hillis to give the Huskies their first lead 11-7.

The teams would exchange field goals before the first half was out retiring to their locker rooms with Saskatchewan in front 14-10. (NOTE: In the first half alone the teams combined for over 400 yards of offense. Huskie RB Tyler Chow had 100 yards on 12 carries in the first half while Regina’s Noah Picton was 11-of-17 passing for 123 yards)

During the break the Rams obviously spotted something in the Huskies secondary and they started to pick the group apart. On the third play of the half Picton would hook up with Khalid Kornegay for an 80-yard touchdown. On the Rams’ next possession Picton would find Ryan Schienbein open for a 65 yard pass and run. The Rams were up 23-14 midway through the third quarter.

With the offence sputtering the defence needed to come up with a big play and they got it from fifth year halfback Spencer Kreiger. He would intercept an errant Picton pass to get the offence on the field. Siemens, and the group were able to find their rhythm and cap the drive off with an 18 yard pass to Chad Braun in the south end zone (Regina 23-SK 21)

After a punt rolled into the end zone giving the Huskies another point the defence would step up shutting down the Regina aerial attack. Through three quarters the Dogs trailed the Rams by one point.

Move to the final stanza where the Dogs would get two more field goals from Sean Stenger after drives stalled in Regina territory to give the Huskies a 28-23 lead. The Rams offence wasn’t done putting the ball in the air (due in large part to the injury to Running Back Atlee Simon) and marched it and into the end zone capping the drive with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Schienbein. The Rams would convert on the two point convert giving them a 31-28 advantage with 1:36 left.

Looking to score at least three points the Huskies offence would come onto the field starting at their own 30 yard-line. After an incomplete pass on first down, an injury to Canada West leading receiver Mitch Hillis and a holding call the Dogs found themselves in a 3rd and 20 situation from their own 20 sending a number of fans to the exit. However, that move was premature as Yol Piok would make a 35 yard reception in traffic to keep the game alive for Saskatchewan. The Dogs would continue to march the ball to the Regina 14 where with zeros on the clock the Dogs would have to settle for a 21 yard field goal that was good to send the game to overtime tied at 31.

In the first mini-games of extra time the teams would trade touchdowns and converts with Mitch Picton snagging a pass from his cousin Noah from 12 yards out, and Colton Klassen scoring his first major as a Huskie, with a 29 yard pass reception.

To the second mini-game and Regina appeared to be poised for a decision on what would be a third and one play however, as the players were un-piling Khalid Kornegay would be assessed a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty forcing the Rams to attempt a 37 yard-field goal. The kick would be shanked but skip out of the end zone to give the Rams a one point lead. It was then the Dogs turn to answer and while being mindful of keeping the ball in the middle of the field the offence would move the ball to the Regina three yard line. Then on third down and after a Regina time-out Sean Stenger would come onto the field to boot the game winner (his 6th field goal of the night) to give the Huskies the 41-39 win.

The Huskies are now off until Friday when they travel to Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta while the Rams will host oh-and-1 Manitoba next Thursday.