HASSLER RUSHES HUSKIES TO 1-02010-09-04
CALGARY - The third-ranked University of Saskatchewan Huskies scored on their opening possession and easily handled the top-ranked University of Calgary Dinos in all facets of the game to earn a 34-13 season-opening win Saturday night at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.
A 69-yard touchdown scamper by Jeff Hassler just 96 seconds into the contest set the tone for a first-half explosion by the Huskies, who racked up 409 offensive yards in the first 30 minutes. An injury-riddled Calgary defence had trouble against the run and the pass, while the high-powered Dinos offence turned the ball over three times in the first half to give the visitors a 25-13 lead at the half.
Things went from bad to worse in the second for the Dinos as the rain began to pour over McMahon Stadium, with a scary moment coming early in the third quarter. Receiver Anthony Woodson was rocked by Huskies safety Bryce McCall trying to catch an Erik Glavic pass and lay on the turf for an extended period of time. Woodson was taken to hospital via ambulance as a precaution but is expected to be released later Saturday night.
With Woodson out and All-Canadian Anthony Parker also sidelined with a first-half injury, the Dinos offence sputtered through the last two quarters and didn't put any points on the board. After a scoreless third quarter, Saskatchewan put the final nail in the coffin with just over three minutes to play in the fourth when Ben Coakwell found the end zone on a 20-yard run.
Saskatchewan's Laurence Nixon finished 14-for-29 for 290 yards in the contest, with 262 of those yards coming in the opening half and a significant portion of those on an 87-yard TD strike to Jade Etienne. Braeden George had the other Huskies touchdown - an 11-yard pass.
Hassler finished the game with 168 rushing yards on 19 carries. He also had 41 receiving yards on two catches. Ben Coakwell also chipped in on the ground with 109 yards on 10 carries. Receiver Garrett Bolen caught four balls for 42 yards. McCall led the Huskies defensively with seven tackles and one interception. Linebacker Tony Michalchuk followed with five solo tackles.
Reigning Hec Crighton trophy winner Glavic was 15-of-35 for 194 yards and one interception before walking off the field late in the fourth quarter. He had the Dinos' lone touchdown on the day, a one-yard run early in the first quarter.
The Huskies have not lost the first game of a Canada West regular season since 2002. It is also the fourth time in that span the Huskies have opened and defeated the Dinos - 29-0 in 2004, 25-0 in 2008 and 34-33 in 2009 in overtime were the previous three wins.
Saskatchewan returns home to host the UBC Thunderbirds, losers Saturday 36-28 to the University of Alberta Golden Bears, on September 10 in the Homecoming Game. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park. For tickets, call 306-966-1111. The Dinos will host the University of Regina Rams - winners Friday night 45-11 over the University of Manitoba Bisons in Week 2.