Saturday, September 27, 2:00 p.m.
Mosaic Stadium, Regina
Broadcasts available: Radio – www.ck750.com (pregame show at 1:30 p.m.)
Records coming in: Huskies – 2-1, second in Canada West (lost 38-24 to the Calgary Dinos last week).
Regina: 1-2, fifth in Canada West (lost 44-42 to Alberta last week).
Head to head history: Saskatchewan has 12 regular season wins to Regina’s four since 2004. The Huskies have one win to Regina’s two in the playoffs over the same period. All-time, the Huskies are 21-9 against the Rams.
What’s on the line: The Huskies want to hit the mid-point of the season on a winning note and take the only game of the season against their provincial rivals. They should be hungry after last week’s close game against Calgary and will want to show that their play in that game was no fluke.
For the Rams, there is no better way to rebound from a loss to the previously winless for three seasons Golden Bears than to win against the Huskies. This will very likely be their only match until next season, and the Rams want to get a final win against a Saskatoon-based team for their retiring head coach Frank McCrystal.
Key matchup: The Huskies receivers match up well with the Regina defence. When the offence is rolling and the run game is gaining yards, it opens up several opportunities for the Huskie receivers underneath the coverage. The Huskies have scored a conference-leading 11 receiving touchdowns and should be able to use the size of Brydon Ozmun and Andre Lalonde and the speed and elusiveness of John Trumpy and the Kit and Mitch Hillis to their advantage.
However, Regina does have a fast and experienced defensive secondary who will not make it easy to find open receivers. Justin Edralin and Jordie Dwyer tend to play well against the Huskies and will try to eliminate the middle of the field. It will be up to quarterback Drew Burko to find the open receivers and deliver accurate passes.
Roster moves: The Huskies may have defensive back Taylor Rehn and defensive tackle Evan Machibroda back. Mat Leung is out for the season.
What to expect: On paper, the Huskies should win this one easily. Just like they should have in week two against Albeta.
This is a very competitive conference and the Rams will give the Dogs all they can handle at home. Just like the game against the Dinos last week, this one will probably be close until a mistake or bad call is made.
The Huskies shocked a lot of people last week with the way they played against the Dinos. Sure, they lost, but this game could have gone either way until the final minute.
This team is a contender for the Hardy Trophy and the Canada West is no longer Calgary and everyone else. Calgary learned that the hard way, and they know they were fortunate to win that game. Their relatively sullen reaction to the end of the game is a good indication that they know they escaped with one and that they aren’t as dominant as they thought they were.
The Dinos learned a good lesson on Friday. That is, don’t believe the hype. There are other teams with plenty of talent out there who are gunning for them. While they are still clearly the best team in the league, they need to keep working and improving if they want to stay ahead of the Huskies and Bisons.
The same lesson can be applied to the Huskies. While they proved they can play with the top team in the league, they also showed they are lacking in some areas and need to keep working and refining their game if they hope to unseat the Dinos and stave off the other teams.
The passing game has been hot and cold over the first three games and Drew Burko and his receivers have to get on the same page more consistently. The defence also has given up a lot of yardage over the past two games, especially through the air. There is room for improvement, and as we move into the second half of the season next week, they will be put to the test by teams who are gunning for them as much as they are gunning for the Dinos.
The Rams will certainly be out for a win this weekend. While the Huskies are the better team, the difference between these teams is not so vast that they can take the Rams lightly. The Rams have a potent passing game, with both Cayman Shutter and Noah Picton proving they are capable quarterbacks. They have excellent receivers, an underrated running game and a solid defence that will cause some problems for the Huskies.
Hopefully a large throng of Huskie fans make it down to bid adieu to Frank McCrystal in his final game against the Huskies. It should be a fun game in great fall weather.
Go, Dogs, go!