The Saskatchewan Huskies defence is far better than the nearly 600 yards that they surrendered on Friday night indicates.
When you’re on the field for two-thirds of the second half, giving up some yardage, and ultimately some points, is inevitable.
The Calgary Dinos rolled to another victory over the Huskies, improving their record to 6-0 and locking up first place for the third year in a row. The Huskies dropped to 4-2 and now have to fight the hungry Manitoba Bisons for second place and the opportunity for a home playoff game, which would be the first for the Huskies since 2010.
After driving from their 45 on their second possession of the game, capped off with a Charlie Power touchdown, the Huskies looked to be in control of the game. The defence held the Dinos to 41 yards in the first quarter and set the offence up with excellent field position, thanks to a Mark Ingram interception. However, the Huskies were unable to capitalize thanks to a blocked field goal and the score remained at 7-0 after one quarter.
Thanks to a Tom Spolentini interception in Huskie territory, the Dinos were able to put up a chip-shot field goal early in the second quarter. The Huskies answered back two possessions later, ending a good drive with a Denton Kolodzinski 42-yard field goal. After blocking a Kolodzinski punt on the Saskatchewan 17, the defence held the Dinos to a field goal. A blocked field goal late in the half ended up in a rouge for the Huskies, making the score 11-6 at the half.
The Dinos couldn’t get much going in the first half against a tough Huskie defence, but they started to roll in the third quarter. The Dinos put up 418 yards of offence in the second half, scoring their first touchdown of the game five minutes in, with Andrew Buckley finding Chris Dobko from 19 yards out. The Dinos would add to their lead with a 34-yard field goal and rouge late in the quarter, up 17-12 heading into the final frame.
The Huskies could do little on offence in the second half, putting up a total of seven first downs and 164 yards of offence, 71 of those on their final drive of the fourth quarter. By then, it was too little, too late, as the exhausted defence had given up an 80-yard rushing touchdown to Mercer Timmis with 2:45 left. The final drive ended as most had, with passes falling short or being off the mark, causing a turnover on downs.
Poor execution, especially in the passing game, haunted the Huskies all night. When they ran the ball or were completing passes, the Dinos were largely prepared for it, limiting the damage with their young, fast defence. The Huskies were outscored 18-1 in the second half, adding to the second-half woes that have plagued them all season. In the third and fourth quarters this season, the Huskies have been outscored 108-63.
The Dinos showed exactly why so many remain confident in them. In spite of replacing 16 of 24 starters and playing several first and second-year players, they are better prepared and attract difference-making, superior athletes like Timmis, ensuring their success. They have now stretched their winning streak to five over the Huskies, including two at Griffiths.
The bye-week couldn’t come at a better time for the banged-up Huskies. They need to regroup and reevaluate so they are ready to take on the Bisons, who will give them all they can handle on October 18.