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Game Preview: Huskies vs. Calgary

Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m.
Griffiths Stadium
Broadcasts available: Radio – www.ck750.com (pregame show at 6:30 p.m.)

Support our troops (Derek Mortensen/Electric Umbrella)

Records coming in: Huskies: 2-0, second in Canada West, won 42-41 in overtime over Alberta last week; Calgary 2-0, first in Canada West, won 59-11 over UBC last week.

Head to head history: Saskatchewan has eight regular season wins to Calgary’s six since 2004. Calgary has won the last five games, dating back to the 2011 season.

What’s on the line: There’s more on the line for the Dinos than the Huskies. For the Dinos, anything less than a repeat performance of their first two dominant games would be a disappointment.

For the Huskies, keeping the score close would be a moral victory, especially after the near loss to the Alberta Golden Bears last week. Of course, a win by the Huskies would pump up this program and would turn the Canada West and CIS on its head (at least for a week or two).

Key players:

Saskatchewan

  • Receiver John Trumpy – Trumpy has been the go-to receiver on second down for the Huskies this season. He is an excellent route-runner who sneaks under the coverage and has quickly developed into a possession receiver and scoring threat, tied with Andre Lalonde and Hit Hillis with two receiving touchdowns.
  • Linebacker Geoff Hughes – Hughes had the knockdown that gave the Huskies the win in overtime against the Golden Bears. After a quiet first game, Hughes made an impact in the second game with three tackles, a forced fumble and the overtime breakup. The Huskies will need more out of their fourth-year linebacker if they hope to stop the vaunted Calgary offence.

Calgary

  • Linebacker Adam Konar – Konar, who sat out last year with a hip injury, had half-a-tackle for a loss and an interception to go with 3.5 tackles against the UBC Thunderbirds last weekend. He is a veteran linebacker who the Dinos like to blitz and is someone the Huskies will need to be aware of and ready to pick up.
  • Receiver Brett Blaszko – Blaszko leads the Canada West with 18 receptions and 347 yards. He is one of several receiving threats the Huskies will need to be aware of and neutralize if they hope to limit the damage of the top-ranked Dinos offence.

Roster moves: The Huskies will be without defensive lineman Evan Machibroda, cornerback Taylor Rehn, defensive back Andrew Abbs and offensive lineman Mat Leung. Caleb Eidsvik has been moved from the defensive line to the offensive line.

What to expect: Most people are expecting the Dinos to blow out the Huskies. After last week’s performances, it’s not hard to see why.

However, the Huskies have been known to play to the level of their opposition, and this includes elevating their play when playing the top teams. We saw this in week one, when they played very well against the Bisons.

Hopefully, we will see them elevate their play significantly against the Dinos. It would have been nice to see them carry over strong play from the Alberta game, but they didn’t perform at the same level as the week before. Don’t get me wrong – they were far from terrible and they showed poise in the face of almost certain defeat with their late comeback. However, the Huskies were inconsistent, something that has plagued them for years.

Just as the Bears matched up well with the Huskies, hopefully the Huskies will match up well with the Dinos. On paper, it’s hard to argue that they don’t, as the Huskies have several top-rated players, arguably near par with the Dinos. However, it’s what they do with their talent that seems to separate these teams. The Dinos allow their players to be successful each down they are out there and are exceptionally well prepared. The Huskies sometimes struggle to execute, look lost, and often fail to make adjustments to what the opposition is doing.

It seem as though every time the Huskies make a change that brings them results they then become comfortable and return to their old ways. They tend to be predictable and have a low standard deviation. That’s fine if they were more talented and experienced than their opposition, but with an increased focus on recruiting in the Canada West Conference, there is parity when it comes to talent, forcing the need to be innovative with the playbook.

Perhaps the Huskies inconsistency will play in their favour this week and they will surprise everyone with a win against the Dinos. Sooner or later, someone within the conference will beat the Dinos in the regular season and will challenge for the conference title. The consensus amongst many observers is that teams like Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the talent on their rosters to do that but have to elevate their in-game coaching and preparation to make the leap past the Dinos.

I think this will be a close game, no matter how it goes. Let’s hope the Huskies are ready to play physically and give the Dinos a game they haven’t seen since last year’s Vanier Cup.

Go, Dogs, go!

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