After a road game followed with a bye week, Huskie fans are glad to be back at Griffiths Stadium for tonight’s “Blackout” game against the University of Manitoba. Huskie Outsider, the originator of “Three Downs,” is equally excited to see the Dogs play on their home turf, and we’re back with another pre-game edition of our regular column.
1st down: What is a key matchup that you’ll be watching tonight?
Dallas: I’ll be watching how the Huskies deal with the Bisons’ three-headed monster backfield of Coombs, Demski and LaFrance. The Bisons exploited mismatches and blown coverages in the last game for two touchdowns. The Huskies’ defence will need to be on their game to stop these three.
Ryan: I will be watching the Huskies’ offensive line, and how much “push” they get on the Bisons’ front seven. The Huskies moved the ball well for three and a half games when the line played well. During the second half of the Rams game, and all of the Dinos game, the line didn’t get that push. If the line can handle the Bisons, the Huskies should put some points on the board.
Dog Whisperer: I will particularly be watching our defence on passing downs. I want to see if the entire defensive backfield can show the kind of effort that Braxton Lawrence showed in Calgary, before the bye week, and become a playmaking unit. QB pressure will be key, but what I’m watching for is a 60 minute effort at this point.
Tom: I’ll be watching the secondary vs. the Bison receivers. This unit will benefit from the return of Luke Thiel and Travoy Martinez to the lineup. The DB’s have had an inconsistent season and I’m looking for a solid effort tonight.
2nd down: In what area do you expect to see improvement over the last couple of Huskie games?
Ryan: The defence has to play better. The Huskies shut out the Bears to start the season, but have given up over 30 points a game in the four games since then. The defensive line has shown spark, but the Huskies have failed to get consistent pressure on the opposition quarterbacks. The defence has the ability to shut teams down, and this is the game that they need to prove it.
Dog Whisperer: Not what I expect, but rather what I am hoping to see is a significantly improved 3rd quarter performance from the Huskies. I’m not a football expert, but so far this season we have been outscored in the 3rd quarter 54 – 2! Whatever we are doing in the locker room at halftime has got to change! On the season, we have a -16 total point differential which only magnifies the weakness in the third quarter. These are STUNNING numbers that I expect/hope/beg and plead the Huskies to address if they want to win games and build some momentum. Come on man!!! Alberta has scored more points (10) and yielded less (38) in the 3rd quarter than we have.
Tom: Wow! I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of the third quarter letdowns. Personally, I’m looking to our special teams: the Huskies, normally very solid in the return game, stunk it up in that area during their last two games. This was very uncharacteristic of this team, and I’m looking for better returns which will hopefully provide a spark for the offence.
Dallas: I expect to see a better game from each area, but I think the quarterbacks and receivers should have a better night than the Calgary game. Chase Bradshaw will have Kit Hillis to throw to and may have Jeff Moore and Garrett Burgess back, so this game should be more successful than the last.
Third Down: Make a statistical prediction for this game:
Dog Whisperer: Okay, I’m still a little shell shocked by those 3rd quarter statistics so I’m not very focused right now. Predictions, hmmmm… since I’m lousy at predicting this season how about this: Bryce McCall finally equals the CIS record with an interception this game.
Tom: I really want to see the Huskies get off to a good start, so I’ll predict that the Dogs will score the game’s first touchdown. Also, with Garrett Burgess’ return to the lineup, I’ll lean on him a little and say that he’ll score a touchdown.
Ryan: I really believe that this week the defence will rise to the occasion. The Bisons will have less than 125 yards on the ground and less than 200 in the air. The special teams will also have at least two 40 yard returns.
Dallas: I predict that Kit Hillis will have over 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown. On defence, I think David Rybinski will have a sack and Luke Thiel will have an interception.
*Prior to tonight’s game, Outsider TV will return for another pre-game webcast, beginning at 5:45 pm.