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Huskies win 31-11 over Manitoba – clinch playoff spot

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies defeated the University of Manitoba Bisons 31-11 at University Stadium in Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon.

The Huskies secured a playoff spot in Manitoba today.

The Huskies secured a playoff spot in Manitoba today.

The Huskies came out strong and built a 6-0 lead thanks to a pair of Grant Shaw field goals, including a Huskie record 55 yard field goal, which broke the record he held jointly with Matt Kellet. The field goal tied a Canada West record set by Manitoba’s Jamie Boreham in 2001. Incidentally, this is second week in a row Shaw made the Huskie record book, as his 50 yard record tying kick was made last Friday against UBC. Shaw also had an unofficial 95-yard punt, which would better the 91 yard punt by Matt Kellet from 1997 should it be made official.

The offence was led by a 15 carry, 70 yard, two touchdown performance by running back Tyler O’Gorman. He was joined in the backfield by rookie Jeff Hassler, who had five carries for 23 yards, and returned the kick off of from the Bison’s lone touchdown 87 yards, setting up the Huskies on the Bison’s one-yard line in the second quarter. The Huskies went into the half up 13-7.

The Huskies came out strong in the second half, with the defence forcing a Manitoba safety. The Huskies went up 22-7 thanks to a touchdown from Corey Jones late in the third quarter, which was Jones’ first of the year. After a couple kick singles by Grant Shaw, who was aided by a gale-force wind in the third, the Huskies went into the fourth quarter up 24-7.

The best Manitoba could do in the fourth quarter was a field goal and a rouge, as the Huskies defence, who was without an injured Taylor Wallace, would not relent. The Huskies put together a clock-eating drive late in the game, capped off by O’Gorman’s second touchdown, putting the Huskies up by 20. Halfback Harley Irwin sealed the victory with a last minute interception, giving the Huskies the win.

The win moves the Huskies to 5-1 on the season and into sole possession of first place, thanks to their win over Calgary in week two. The win clinched a playoff birth for the Huskies, the ninth year in a row they will make the playoffs, the longest current streak in Canada West. The Huskies will also finish with five or more wins for the seventh consecutive season.

The Bisons lost to the Huskies on home turf for the first time since 2005, putting a damper on their playoff hopes. The Bisons finished close to the Huskies in statistics, with 17 first downs to the Huskies 20, and 247 total yards to the Huskies’ 345. However, the Bisons defence could not equal the effort of the Huskies defence, giving up the most points at University Stadium since giving up 44 to the Regina Rams on October 21, 2006.

“It’s great we won here,” said quarterback Lawrence Nixon, who finished completing 20 of 30 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. “It’s always so tough because of all the factors, but we ground another one out. We look forward to the game at home against Alberta next week.”

The Huskies will play the Alberta Golden Bears, who are playing the Regina Rams today in Edmonton, Friday at 7:00 p.m at Griffiths Stadium. The Huskies will be looking to avenge the 27-7 loss to the Bears they suffered on September 25. Get your tickets at the PAC or by calling 966-1111. The weather is guaranteed to be better than the last game and a big crowd is expected.

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