U Sports playoffs RECAP (10): Huskies clip Tbirds wings

Saturday, Nov. 3

Acadia (5-3) 10, StFX (6-2) 33

Game recap: StFX Sports Information   
Box Score

Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men are moving on the AUS championship after a 32-10 victory over the Acadia Axemen in the Subway AUS semifinal playoff game in a wet and windy Saturday afternoon at StFX Oland Stadium.

Two huge touchdown runs by U SPORTS leading rusher Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, ON) in the first half powered the X-Men offense to the win as StFX moves on to the Subway AUS Loney Bowl championship game next Saturday, November 10th against the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

The X-Men got on the board first during their first possession of the game when Socholotiuk found a seam in the Axemen defense and broke through for an electrifying 103 touchdown run. The run marked the second longest rush in AUS history, behind a 108-yard play by StFX’s Terry Arnason dating back to 1967.

The Axemen replied with a touchdown late in the quarter, making the X-Men pay on a turnover. Veteran fifth year defensive back Brandon Jennings (St. Albert, AB) intercepted a Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) pass and after a nice 25-yard run by Blake Rennick (Ottawa, ON), Axemen running back Dale Wright (Markham, ON) took it in for two-yard touchdown score.

The 7-7 score held up after the first quarter of play.

An Axemen 12-yard field goal two and a half minutes into the second quarter off the foot of Jennings gave them a 10-7 lead.

StFX replied with a field goal of their own as Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON) split the uprights from 11 yards out. AUS leading receiver Kaion Julien-Grant (Toronto, ON) had hauled in a 66-yard pass to put the X-Men in viable field position.

Burnham then secured his own spot in the AUS record book, booting the second longest field goal in conference history with a 53-yarder. The kick also set a StFX record, surpassing a 52-yard field goal by Pat Donnelly in 1989.

Despite leaving the field for treatment of an upper body injury late in the first quarter, the injury didn’t appear to bother Socholotiuk as he scored his second major of the game with just over a minute to play in the opening half, breaking through Acadia tacklers to run it in from 52 yards out.

On the ensuing kickoff Burnham kicked it through the end zone for a single point as the X-Men closed out the first half with a 21-10 lead over the visiting Axemen.

Socholotiuk racked up 193 of his 242 total yards in the first half as he went on to earn Subway player of the game honours.

The X-Men went up 26-10 in the third quarter off an Axemen conceded safety and a 21-yard Burnham field goal.

Acadia started the fourth quarter on a positive note as Cameron Davidson (Wolfville, NS) came up with a big special teams play, blocking Burnham’s kick-off attempt. The Axemen couldn’t translate the possession into a scoring threat however, as they continued to struggle on offense in the second half.

The only scoring in the fourth quarter came on a six-yard touchdown run by X-Men quarterback Wasdal on a first and goal play with seven minutes left in the game, and a single point off another long Burnham punt with 1:24 left on the clock as the X-Men took home the 33-10 victory.

The StFX defense came up big with four pass break-ups, and the defensive line shut down the Axemen running game.

Acadia managed 275 total offensive yards to StFX’s 441.

Socholotiuk finished with 24 carries for 242 yards. Julien-Grant hauled in 7 catches for 127 yards as Wasdal was 12-19 for 189 yards in passing. Julien-Grant also had a trio of rushes for 21 yards and came up with another big return game for the X-Men on special teams.

For the Axemen, Hunter Guenard (Calgary, AB) was 18-38 for 218 yards. Wright picked up 55 yards on the ground on 15 carries, while in the air Glodin Mulali (Moncton, NB) and Cordell Hastings (Calgary, AB) and were the top Acadia receivers with four catches each for 52 and 51 yards, respectively.

Acadia player of the game linebacker Bailey Feltmate (Moncton, NB) who was tasked with covering Socholotiuk for the game led the Axemen defense with 14 tackles.

Jeremy Fagnan (Bonnyville, AB) and Alex Fedchun (Calgary, AB) led the StFX defense with six and five tackles, respectively.

The Subway AUS Loney Bowl will take place on Saturday, November 10th at Saint Mary’s Huskies Stadium as the first place Huskies (7-1) host the second place X-Men (6-2) in a 2:00 pm kick-off.

In regular season play the Huskies defeated the X-Men 20-13 in the very first game of the season back on August 24th in Halifax and again on September 29th in Antigonish by a close 27-24 margin.

Carleton (5-3) 13, Western (8-0) 39

Game recap: David Stol, Western Mustangs
Box Score

LONDON, Ont. – Fifth-year running back Alex Taylor tallied 127 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards, and one touchdown to help lead the Mustangs football team to a 39-13 victory over the Carleton Ravens in the OUA semifinals.

With the win, the Mustangs will move on the take on Guelph Gryphons in the Yates Cup in what will be their first meeting of the season.

The game also marked a landmark achievement for the Mustangs football program, as they earned their 21st straight victory to set a new OUA record for consecutive wins.

“I wasn’t even aware of the record coming into today, but it’s great to be able to get into the record books with a big win,” said fourth-year defensive back Mackenzie Ferguson. “When you look at the Wall of Champions and all the history this program has, it’s cool to be able to add to that history.”

Ferguson led the way for the Mustangs’ defence on the day, playing out of position and earning a pair of interceptions along the way. On the other side of the ball, quarterback Chris Merchant and running back Cedric Joseph each tallied two touchdowns to help Western build up their lead.

“Mackenzie has been solid all season and he really showed up again for us today,” said Mustang head coach Greg Marshall. “He was playing out of position today, but he really did a good job of making sure we weren’t burned by their offence. I said last week that we had our best defensive performance against Laurier, but today was probably even better than that. All of our defensive guys just seem to be getting more confident and better with every game. It’s a big reason why we have the best defence in the country.”

“We knew the game would be a grind and a slugfest at first, but we just figured that if we stuck to the game plan and stayed true to who we are, then our offence would be okay,” said Taylor. “But our defence was huge for us, they carried the offence today. We just couldn’t do what we do without our defence giving us such good positioning. This year they’re clearly the engine for our team and we’ve seen it from the beginning of the year. It’s the best defence in the country led by some of the best players in the country.”

In a game boasting two of the best defences in the province, the first quarter did indeed prove to be a low scoring affair, as neither side found a way to break into the endzone through the opening frame. However, Western took hold of the momentum late in the half as Ferguson earned his first interception of the game as the Mustangs went into the second quarter with a slim 5-3 lead.

But despite an unfortunate ending in the first quarter, Carleton quickly redeemed themselves to begin the second, pressuring Merchant and forcing him into an interception to regain possession. But following a handful of scoreless possessions and turnovers from both teams, a fumble recovery by the Mustangs’ Mitchell Stadnyk on the Ravens’ nine-yard line gave Joseph prime positioning to score the first touchdown of the game and give Western the eventual 12-6 lead heading into halftime.

The Carleton defence remained in dominant form to kick off the second half, bursting through Western’s offensive line and sacking Merchant to force the Mustangs into the field goal. But following the three points, Ferguson immediately earned his second interception of the game to give Joseph the opportunity to extend Western’s lead to 22-6 early in the third quarter.

Carleton nearly made a potentially game-changing play late in the third, earning what should have been a safety after a poor snap from Western. However, after a roughing penalty in combination with too many men on the field for the Ravens on the play, the safety was revoked and the Mustangs found themselves with incredible field position in a complete momentum-shifting sequence.

Joseph ran through the defensive line on the ensuing drive with ease, ultimately leading Taylor to a receiving touchdown and the Mustangs to a 29-6 advantage heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter belonged to Taylor, as he dominated the Ravens’ defensive line and marched the Mustangs downfield to put the purple and white in position for yet another field goal. Carleton scored their first touchdown of the game off of single coverage late in the fourth, but an incredible reception from Western’s Harry McMaster over the Carleton defence for the touchdown allowed the Mustangs to ultimately walk away with the 39-13 victory and punch their ticket to the Yates Cup.

“There are a few teams in this conference that I just don’t like and Guelph is one of them, so we’re looking forward to seeing them next week,” said Taylor. “That’s kind of what happens when you have two teams so close together. Guelph has definitely been one of my favourite teams to play against over the years, but we’ve had some difficult games against them. That’s what makes it a rivalry. I didn’t get a chance to play in the Yates Cup last year because of an injury, so it’ll be a unique opportunity for me and a good chance for the team to win a rivalry game. Guelph has gotten better all season and they’re well coached, so it should be a good matchup.”

“We haven’t played Guelph this year, so it’s more difficult to predict than most games,” said Marshall. “They can run the football, they have a really good defence, and they’re very, very well coached, but it’s unique because we haven’t had the chance to matchup with them this year. I would expect it’s going to be a great game and one the guys are going to be fired up for.”

The Mustangs will be back in action next Saturday, November 10, where they will matchup with the Guelph Gryphons in an attempt to retain their title as the Yates Cup Champions. The game is scheduled to kick off at 1:00 P.M. EST in TD Stadium and fans can catch all the action live on OUA.tv.

Guelph (5-3) 27, Ottawa (6-2) 22

Game recap: Guelph Gryphons
Box Score

OTTAWA, Ont. – The Guelph Gryphons football team didn’t quit after a few heartbreaking losses early this season. And they certainly didn’t quit Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capital when they were on the brink of being eliminated from the OUA playoffs. Guelph rallied to score 17 points in the final 8:45 of the fourth quarter to defeat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 27-22 and earn a berth in next Saturday’s Yates Cup.

The Gryphons will travel to London to take on the No. 1 Western Mustangs in the 111th edition of the OUA championship game.

Fourth-year quarterback Theo Landers found wide receiver Thomas Bresciani for a 59-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left on the clock to put the upstart Gryphons through to the final. The score capped aurious rally by Guelph, which found itself down 22-10 with time running out. But the team has showed an incredible ability to bounce back from adversity and has played its best with the proverbial backs to the wall.

When the team was down 18-0 at the half, head coach Todd Galloway went into to talk to his players. And he liked what he saw.

“You could tell they fully believed they were going to win this football game,” said the first-year head coach. “It’s indicative of our season. We don’t necessarily do things they easy way but they didn’t quit. I’m so proud of them.

“They don’t even know how to quit.”

“It was a little quiet but it wasn’t a defeated quiet,” added fifth-year linebacker and OUA tackles leader Luke Korol of the mood at halftime. “Everyone just got focused. The look in our eyes was that we would come back and win. Just focus on your assignment. Buckle down and do our jobs.”

Raphael Cote’s 39-yard field goal would put the hosts up 21-10 at 6:41 of the third quarter and after adding a rouge, the Gee-Gees seemed well on their way to earning the right to face Western, winners of the other semi-final over Carleton. But Guelph, despite a tough day on offence, had different ideas.

It started with a one-yard touchdown run from Ottawa native Jean-Paul Cimankinda, who starred last week in the quarter-final against Waterloo when he rushed for 258 yards and three scores. Gabe Ferraro‘s convert made it 22-17. The record-breaking kicker would be called on again with 4:47 left and Ferraro, who has always been open about embracing the big moments, nailed a 35-yard field goal to get his team within two.

That would set the stage for Landers and Bresciani. The initial play broke down, forcing the quarterback to roll out and he heaved one down field to Bresciani, who did well to hold off the defender and score one of the biggest touchdowns of his life.

“We managed to drive the field and JP finished it off to get us within a score,” said Galloway. “After that, our defence played amazing. They didn’t give up anything and got the ball back to offence so they could go win this game.

“Credit to Thomas,” Galloway added of the game-winning score. “He came back, shielded the ball, kept it and ran it in.”

It was the only catch for Bresciani, a third-year man from Weyburn, SK. On a day when the wind howled and the rain came down, his 59 receiving yards led the team. Landers managed to overcome four sacks to throw for 128 yards, while leading the team in rushing with 134 yards on 10 attempts. Cimankinda produced his third straight 100-yard rushing day with 128. Korol manned a defence that came up huge when needed, especially in the fourth quarter. The Gryphons made key stops down the stretch and helped the offence work magic down the stretch.

“It’ been pretty crazy,” said a relieved Korol, who made three solo tackles, eight assisted tackles and recovered a fumble. “There have been a couple games where we had to come back in second half and the team has shown so much heart. That’s the culture we have. Everyone is so close and we all play for each other, which is the biggest thing.
“The guys are so passionate and that’s why we came back.”

Ottawa was intent on defending its home field and started well when Dawson Odei ran one in from five yards out at 4:46 of the first quarter. Cote hit a 39-yarder to extend the lead to 10 before Odei scored on an eight-yard touchdown rush less than a minute before half time. A two-point conversion gave the Gee-Gees what seemed like a comfortable lead on a day where yards were hard to come by.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Galloway. “The weather was a bit of a factor but we dug ourselves a bit of hole against the wind. We were better in the second quarter but it didn’t result in points.

“The wind was so strong and we wanted it in the fourth.”

Guelph has been up against it for a while now. The team needed to win to make the playoffs two weeks ago at home against Waterloo and they pulled that out in amazing fashion with a 47-44 double overtime victory. Then last Saturday, the Gryphons topped Waterloo again in the OUA quarter-final to earn the right to go to Ottawa.

Every time the end seemed near, Guelph responded.

The latest rally will give them a shot at another Yates Cup on the same TD Stadium field where they won it all in 2015. And for players in their last year like Korol, the opportunity means so much.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “We’re going against a top-ranked, undefeated team and we have a chance to upset them.
“The fact I can go to my third Yates Cup in five years is amazing, especially to do with this group. We’re all fighting for each other.”
Galloway has done a masterful job taking the team over in 2018 but he puts all of the success on his players.

“All I really asked them was to buy in to the family and team atmosphere,” said Galloway. “They did. It’s so cool to see.

“They don’t care who gets the credit – they just want to win.”

Sherbrooke (2-6) 0, Laval (8-0) 40

With files from: Rouge et Or
Box Score

The Rouge et Or will compete in its 16th consecutive Dunsmore Cup with a 40-0 win over the Université de Sherbrooke Vert & Or 40-0 in front of just under 7000 brave spectators who braved the cold and the rain. noon at Telus Stadium – Laval University.

We have to go back to 2002 to see a game of the Dunsmore Cup where Laval is absent! They lost to Concordia in the RSEQ semifinal that year.

Both teams are studying

These are the two defenses that came out in the first quarter. That of the Rouge et Or gave absolutely nothing, while that of Sherbrooke was tough: it was 8-0 Laval after 15 minutes. The Laval attack started at the beginning of the second quarter. Hugo Richard completed two superb passes in less than a minute, including a 27-yard touchdown for Mathieu Robitaille. Then towards the end of the half, the Rouge et Or strikes again. After an interception of Kevin McGee, David Côté managed his third placement of the game, on a distance of 16 yards. He reoffends with 55 seconds to play, this time on 32 yards. Laval retired at the locker room with a 21-0 lead. Of note: Sherbrooke only managed two first games after 30 minutes, both under penalties at the Rouge et Or.

The rain intensified throughout the game, and it clearly affected the game from the third quarter. Both aerial attacks were virtually non-existent in the last half. While the Rouge et Or defense held Sherbrooke in awe, the Laval offensive was adapting to the elements, opting for the ground attack. The strategy pays off when Vincent Breton-Robert takes off for a long 65-yard run good for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. After another turnaround, Christopher Amoah also scored a touchdown in the race, a distance of five yards this time. In all, the Rouge et Or counted 16 points in this quarter, with only 16 passing yards! The games were done, and Laval just spent the time until the end.

Match statistics

The Rouge et Or have amassed 300 yards of ground gain, including 119 for Vincent Breton-Robert.

What they said

“I have to adapt to the wind, of course, but it’s not that complicated. These are the grades that the most difficult role under these conditions and they have been excellent. That’s what allowed me to succeed my kicks.

-David Côté, precision kicker

“It was obvious that under these conditions, we would run more with the ball. We were ready.

-Vincent Breton-Robert, offensive midfielder.

“The dials are reset. What we did in the past does not mean anything anymore. From now on, every match has no tomorrow. It will be a good show for the entire province. It’s the pinnacle of amateur football in Quebec. We are certainly motivated to win.

-Glen Constantin, Head Coach

Coming up

Next match: Dunsmore Cup Final, Saturday, November 10 1:00 pm

Opponent: Carabins of the University of Montreal.

Location: TELUS-UL Stadium

Manitoba (3-5) 13, Calgary (8-0) 37

Game recap: Kellen Forrest; Dinos Communications
Box Score

CALGARY – The Hardy Cup will be handed out at McMahon Stadium for the 10th time in 11 years, and the University of Calgary Dinos will play in their 11th straight Canada West championship game after defeating the University of Manitoba Bisons 37-13 Saturday afternoon.

It was anything but a sure thing for the first seed Dinos after the first half, as both defenses played extremely well and the Dinos were up just seven points at halftime. However, a dominating second half for the Dinos, where they would outscore the Bisons 20-2, would help the Dinos reach the Hardy Cup once again.

The Dinos will host the winner of the Saskatchewan-UBC semifinal next Saturday, Nov. 10, with kickoff at 1 p.m., looking for their third straight Canada West title.

Dinos quarterback Adam Sinagra tossed for 368 yards and three touchdowns on the day, but all that came after a wild opening 27 minutes.

Both teams got off to a shaky start offensively. The Dinos, uncharacteristically, had three straight two-and-outs to start the game, while the Bisons started with an interception thrown by quarterback Des Catellier, and a missed 47-yard field goal. Meanwhile, the opening seven minutes of the game also featured an Aaron Statz interception-then-fumble for the Dinos, who maintained possession, and a high snap that caused punter Niko DiFonte some problems, costing the Dinos field position.

The Bisons would finally open the scoring midway through the first quarter with a 22-yard field goal by Brad Mikoluff, which was set up by a tremendous one-handed catch down the sidelines by Trysten Dyce.

In a matchup between two of the better offensive squads in Canada West, including the Dinos who led Canada West in most offensive categories, the first quarter was surprisingly dominated by the defenses, with specials playing a role as well including a crazy play with a blocked Dinos punt that was picked up behind the line of scrimmage by Boston Rowe and run for a first down.

With both offences managing just a combined 113 yards of offence and four first downs, the Bisons took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.

On their first drive of the second, the Dinos offensive unit would finally gain some traction, with most of the success coming on one 45-yard Tyson Philpot reception. The drive stalled in Bisons territory, but Niko DiFonte nailed a 44-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3.

With both offences continuing to struggle well into the second quarter, the first touchdown finally came on a special teams play. With Manitoba punting deep in their own end, Dinos’ receiver Alex Basilis came through clean to block the punt, then pounced on it in the end zone to put the Dinos ahead 10-3.

Manitoba answered right back on the next offensive series. Jamie Ybarra took over for Catellier, and on just his second throw of the game, hooked up with Dylan Schrot for 38-yard touchdown.

With less than two minutes left in the first half, Sinagra finally got the offence on track, finding Jalen Philpot all by his lonesome for a 42-yard major, and Calgary took a 17-10 lead into the half.

A safety, a 46-yard DiFonte field goal, and a 36-yard TD to Hunter Karl extended Calgary’s lead to 29-10 less than halfway through the third. Sinagra iced the win midway through the fourth when he found Tyson Philpot wide open on a blown coverage in the Manitoba defence for a 73-yard score.

Mikoluff’s 30-yard field goal late in the third marked the only points the Bisons could muster after halftime.

“It was full team effort,” said Dinos Head Coach Wayne Harris. “The defence kept us in there in the beginning when our offence struggled. Then our offence started to get things rolling in the second half.

“Overall our defence was holding their own all game, and we needed them to play big at this time of year. Playoff football is all about defence.”

The Philpot brothers both had huge games for the Dinos, with Tyson having a game-high 142 yards receiving as well as a touchdown while Jalen added 72 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Grant McDonald and Boston Rowe had very strong outings in the middle of the Dinos defense, with McDonald finishing with seven tackles, and Rowe finishing with six, with 1.5 of those being tackles for a loss.

Dylan Schrot had a nice game for Manitoba, catching six passes for 58 yards and scoring Manitoba’s lone touchdown of the game, while defensive lineman Derek Dufault had a dominant performance, racking up six tackles and three sacks.

McGill (2-6) 2, Montreal (6-2) 48

With files from: Montreal Carabins
Box Score

Montreal, November 3, 2018 – For the third time this season and a second time in as many weeks, the Carabins have won the McGill Redmen. This Saturday, it is by the score of 48-2 that the Blues won to join the Laval Rouge et Or in the final of the Dunsmore Cup.

As has been the case throughout the season, the defense has been extremely strong, and has contributed significantly to offensive production.

Marc-Antoine Dequoy (Computer) achieved his fifth and sixth interceptions of the season. The second time, he managed to cross the 40 yards separating him from the end zone to score the touchdown. This year, number 24 has four defensive touchdowns.

“When the other teams make mistakes, we have to capitalize and help our offensive,” said the defensive midfielder. Shifts take a chance throwing in my direction and I like that! ”

Jean-Sébastien Lévesque (Pre-school Education and Elementary Education) also made a steal that he brought back to the opposing two-yard line. As a result of this game, Ryth-Jean Giraud (Police and Security Management App) raised the score to 22-0.

Ryth-Jean in great shape

Giraud had a great day of work. In the sequence following his first touchdown, the first-year player caught a 44-yard pass to add six points to the scoreboard and get his sixth major of the campaign.

The rider finally concluded the encounter with 43 yards rushing and 44 by air.

“I’m happy to be able to help the team this year. I did not expect to contribute so much, but I quickly saw that the coaches framed me and gave me great opportunities. Our goals for the rest of the season are really high and all guys are ready. ”

It was Louis-Mathieu Normandin (Accounting CPA, HEC Montréal) who scored the other major of the crowd favorites by capturing a 21-yard pass.

Quarterback Dimitri Morand (Communication Sciences) completed 11 of his 16 relays for 146 yards.

Kicker Louis-Philippe Simoneau (Occupational Health and Safety) once again rewrote the team’s record book. In the second quarter, he made a 52-yard effort to eclipse the mark he had set for the season with a 49-yard kick. This 52-yard distance allows him to equalize the RSEQ mark, a record dating back to 1979.

In total, the kicker of the Blues has made four attempts and scored 16 points.

“Before the 52-yard rush, I managed one of 45 and he was solid. I knew I was able to go further! It’s encouraging, because in front of Laval it often ends with an investment and I’m ready. ”

Expected returns

Several players in the offensive unit were back in the game for this first playoff game of the season. Gabriel Parent (Certificate in Addiction), Louis-Mathieu Normandin, Gustave Sylvestre (Arts and Sciences) and François Bessette (Administration, HEC Montréal) were all in uniform.

The Blues will now benefit from a week of preparation before heading to Quebec for the Dunsmore Cup final. This will be the sixth consecutive game against Quebec rivals and a 10th appearance in the provincial final in the team’s history.

“That’s what we wanted to go to Quebec City,” said head coach Danny Maciocia without hesitation. You have to play very well on all three sides when you go to PEPS. We have a big week of practice and it’s going to be a good show next week. ”

Saskatchewan (5-3) 31, UBC (5-3) 28 OT

Game recap: Jeff Sargeant (UBC Communications)
Box Score

VANCOUVER – For the second straight year the UBC Thunderbirds have had their playoff dreams shattered by a late game field goal while the Saskatchewan Huskies are off to their first Hardy Cup final in nine years with a 31-28 win over the ‘Birds at a soggy Thunderbird Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Down 17-10 at the half, the No. 9 Thunderbirds got their offence rolling in the final 30 minutes and took a 28-21 lead with less than two minutes remaining. After a Stavros Katsantonis interception got the ‘Birds the ball back, they were unable to run down the clock giving the Huskies one last gasp which they used to tie the game with a 14-yard Jesse Kuntz touchdown followed by the one-point convert.

UBC started overtime with the ball at the Saskatchewan 35 and after failing to gain a first down, lined up for a 33-yard Greg Hutchins field goal attempt which was pulled just wide. The Huskies then only needed the field goal and fifth-year kicker Sean Stenger did just that, putting the pigskin through the uprights from 38 yards out. Saskatchewan will now head to Calgary next weekend for the Hardy Cup final against the Dinos.

“UBC is such a talented football team, our guys just played so well as a team,” said Saskatchewan head coach Scott Flory after his first playoff win with the Huskies. “We were connected top to bottom, from special teams to offence to defence. As it turns out we just made one more play in the end. I’m just so proud of our guys.”

While the Huskies will play for the Canada West championship for the first time since 2009, the loss marks the first time in 11 years UBC head coach Blake Nill will not make an appearance in the conference championship.

“It’s a game about making plays when the time comes, it always comes down to your ability to make decisions and they just made a few more plays than we did,” said Nill, echoing much of Flory’s analysis of how the game went. “We battled all year but at the same time, a lot of the time this year we played with an inconsistency, and this is how our season ended.”

After the two teams combined for three punts to start the game, fourth-year UBC quarterback Michael O’Connor quickly drove the ‘Birds down the field and hooked up with Ben Cummings out of the backfield for a 32-yard touchdown to open scoring. UBC led 7-0 after the Hutchins convert.

It was the start of a solid day through the air for O’Connor who finished 28-of-41 for 435 yards and three touchdowns along with an interception.

While Huskies’ pivot Kyle Siemens numbers might not have been as stellar, he got the job done at the end of the day with 222 yard passing, one touchdown and one interception.

That one pick came on the Huskies first drive following Cummings’ touchdown. UBC defensive back Malcom Lee got in front of the intended receiver deep in the end zone to get the ball back into O’Connor’s hands. But Saskatchewan’s defence held strong, forcing Hutchins to kick a 12-yard field goal to increase UBC’s lead to 10-0 midway through the opening quarter.

Saskatchewan wasted no time responding on their ensuing possession to get themselves on the scoreboard. On the second play of the drive, Siemens found third-year running back Colton Klassen right at mid field for the first down, and he then scampered all the way to UBC’s 21-yard line. The Huskies worked the ball to the UBC three-yard line where Mason Nyhus fumbled the slippery ball but it was recovered by offensive lineman Andrew Serke. The visitors punched the ball into the end zone on the very next play as Tyler Chow carried it across the goal line. The convert was good as the ‘Birds lead was cut to three points.

The Huskies’ kept momentum on their side and took their first lead of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the half. The Huskies initially lined up for a field goal but head coach Scott Flory employed some trickery going for the onside kick instead. The gutsy call paid off as the ball was recovered by Klassen at UBC’s 16-yard line. One play later, it was Chow again with his second rushing score of the game. The convert was successful and Saskatchewan went ahead 14-10. The Huskies added a field goal with just a few seconds on the clock to take a seven point lead into halftime.

On the second-last play of the third quarter, the ‘Birds offence got back to life on a 76-yard catch and run by Marcus Browne, all the way to the Huskies’ 29-yard line. One play later, Blake Whiteley was left open in the end zone and UBC got back within a field goal after the Hutchins convert.

After tying the game at 20, the ‘Birds got back in front with less than two minutes remaining when O’Connor found Pinto with a four-yard touchdown pass. O’Connor found Pinto again on a successful two-point convert to put UBC up 28-21, cueing the late Huskies comeback and eventual overtime victory.

The T-Birds have now lost in the Hardy Cup semifinal for the first time in the Blake Nill era, ending a streak of three straight meetings with the Calgary Dinos for the Canada West title.

It will instead be the Huskies who head to McMahon Stadium next Saturday, November 10 with kickoff at 1:00 p.m. MT.



Source: usports.ca

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