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U Sask. Huskies receiving core being counted on down stretch drive

Click to play video: 'Receiving core being leaned on by U Sask. Huskies down stretch drive of Canada West season'
Receiving core being leaned on by U Sask. Huskies down stretch drive of Canada West season
WATCH: Scoring 12 of the team's 16 touchdowns so far this season, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies' receiving core will need to continue to perform when it comes to the final few games of the Canada West regular season – Oct 18, 2023

While the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team has seen an up and down regular season, their receiving core has once again been one of the best in Canada West.

Coming off a last-second loss to the Alberta Golden Bears to see their record fall to 4-2, however, head coach Scott Flory is looking for more consistency.

“We’ve been able to strike,” said Flory. “But I think we got to get better at first down production and those second-and-medium situations.”

Through six games, the Huskies have racked up the second-most yards through the air in the conference, averaging just under 290 passing yards per game.

While the Dogs have converted on some big-time passing plays, a greater emphasis on gaining field position is being preached this week as the Huskies prepare for the University of Calgary Dinos on Saturday.

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“Of course we’re always looking for big plays,” said third-year receiver Rhett Vavra. “Catching that five-yard pass and breaking it for 100 yards or whatever. But we just got to take it one play at a time.”

Along with Vavra who leads the team with five touchdown receptions on the season, the Huskies have leaned on a receiving core of Daniel Perry, Daniel Wiebe, Caleb Morin, Branson Pipko, Everett Iverson and Jesse Kuntz in 2023.

Click to play video: 'U Sask. Huskies kicker David Solie enjoying the moment in final Canada West season'
U Sask. Huskies kicker David Solie enjoying the moment in final Canada West season

In fact, of the Huskies’ 16 touchdowns on the year, a dozen have been hauled in by their receiving group.

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For Flory, he’ll be looking for the team to execute throughout the game with their speed, whether it comes on a lengthy play or not.

“We can’t live and die by the long bomb,” said Flory. “We got to be smart and strategic with it and at our best, we are with that. You look at our receiving core and there’s a ton of speed there, there’s experience and there’s a ton of speed. I know that guys can break things open.”

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Five different Huskies (Vavra, Perry, Wiebe, Pipko, Iverson) have caught touchdowns this season and that depth and versatility is something that has caught Perry’s eye — especially considering the team is marching closer to the Canada West post-season, the time of year where injuries can often pile up.

“If one of the stars were to go down and the next guy goes in, we don’t have any confidence [wavering],” said Perry.

“We know they’ll make the big plays, we know they’ll fill the spot.”

While the Huskies’ receivers are one of the most experienced groups in the conference, they are still learning the tendencies of quarterback Anton Amundrud who is just six starts into his collegiate career.

Throwing for over 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also being picked off 11 times, Amundrud has endured the usual peaks and valleys of a first season as Huskies starting quarterback.

However, Flory said it’s the job of a full 12-man unit to move the ball successfully.

“The weight of the world isn’t on that young man’s shoulders,” said Flory. “Our receiving core, our running backs, our offensive line, we wear it all as a team and as an offence.”

The Dinos are coming off their first victory of the season over the UBC Thunderbirds and are aiming to build upon that win, with Perry mentioning the Huskies’ need to consistently drive the field to keep Calgary’s offence on the sidelines.

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“We need to stay ahead of the sticks,” said Perry. “We need first downs, we need production to get in the end zone and to create less turnovers.”

The Huskies will host the Dinos at 4:00 pm on Saturday at Griffiths Stadium, aiming to move into sole possession of second place in the conference.

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