Saskatchewan Huskies football team riding home winning streak into Hardy Cup

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Saskatchewan Huskies football team riding home winning streak into Hardy Cup
WATCH: The Huskies football team downed the UBC Thunderbirds 39-17 in the Hardy Cup Semifinals, the teams sixth straight win. However, it was just one step in what the team hopes is a long road – Nov 15, 2021

On a crisp, sunny Saturday, the Saskatchewan Huskies booked their ticket to their third consecutive Hardy Cup matchup with a 39-17 win over the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.

Quarterback Mason Nyhus continued his home turf dominance going 25/37 under centre, while throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

The fourth-year signal caller has never lost at Griffith stadium since being named the teams starter in 2019.

But he, like the rest of his squad, came into the 2021 season on a mission: winning a Vanier Cup.

The drive and determination behind their will to win was further spurred on by the lost 2020 season, and so far they’ve made good on their goals.

Read more: Saskatchewan Huskies football team finding their stride at mid-season

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The team clinched first place in the Canada West Conference, earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and after the win on Saturday the team has checked yet another box.

“It’s awesome, you know? It’s hard to put into words, all the work we put in over the off-season,” linebacker Nick Wiebe said. “You see the faces in there of the guys who were grinding all year and didn’t get to play last year, unfortunately. You can just tell that it means the world to these guys and I’m super fired up for them.”

“We were in there in the second half and guys were saying, ‘This is what we trained all last year for and this is why we’re here,'” receiver Sam Baker added. “So yeah, absolutely, that’s in the back of the head and it shows, all that work that was done this year is out on the field.”

The team has relied on their home field advantage dating back over the past three seasons, including playoffs; over that span the Huskies have gone 11-0 and outscored their opponents 380-183.

“Obviously just being at home, everything about being at home, sleeping in your own bed, eating your own meal at night, it all makes a difference,” Baker explained. “We’re happy that we’re here again next weekend and we’re just playing week-by-week football now.”

“Playing at home is an advantage for sure, but we know that we’re going to get every teams best shot when they come in here,” Wiebe added. “I mean, we have a reputation at Griffiths to play some pretty good football, so I think every team that comes in here knows that.”

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Read more: ‘We’ve got that grown man strength to go play’: Huskies defensive line retooled for 2021

Even if that means playing in the snow, in temperatures that could hover around -20°C in the latter stages of their Hardy Cup date with the Manitoba Bisons.

“We’re hoping for the best weather, but we know that if you’re playing in the cold you’re a good team, so we can’t complain,” Baker chuckled.

Even though they more than doubled the Thunderbirds score, the Huskies were held to just 65 total rushing yards on the afternoon, something that no other team has done to the Dogs’ vaunted running game this season, as they’d reached the century mark in all six of their previous games.

However, with the running game put on pause, the receivers shone through, as the team’s offence concentrated on an aerial attack.

The biggest benefactors were Baker and Daniel Perry, who finished the game with 148 and 143 yards, respectively, while each hauled in a touchdown.

“As I say, every game kind of has a life of its own, right, and every game plan… You’ve got to kind of ride the wave a little bit,” head coach Scott Flory explained.

The victory was shortly celebrated as the Huskies look towards their next challenge on the road to the Vanier Cup: a Hardy Cup matchup on Saturday against a Manitoba team that they beat two weeks ago in Winnipeg.

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“It is, it for sure is, it’s good, it’s what we wanted to set ourselves up for and we know it’s going to be a great game next week,” Flory said.

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