The University of Saskatchewan Huskies recorded their first win of the season with a 33-18 victory over the University of Regina Rams Friday night in Saskatoon.
With the win Saskatchewan improves to 1-2 on the season, while Regina remains winless at 0-3.
Regina got out to an early lead in the game, scoring on their second drive. The Huskies answered with 19 straight points and went to halftime with a 19-10 lead. After losing leads in their first two games this season, Saskatchewan held strong in the second half at one point extending the lead to 33-10.
"We finished better this week, we had a couple drives that we put the ball in the end zone to give us a lead," said Huskie head coach Brian Towriss. "I was so proud of a bunch of our young kids that had to go into the game early and performed really well."
Huskie receiver Mitch Hillis hauled in nine passes for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. Fourth-year pivot Drew Burko was a steady 19-for-30 with 243 yards and three touchdowns. Burko hit Hillis in the end zone twice and found red shirt freshman receiver Yol Piok for his first CIS receiving touchdown.
Saskatchewan's offensive line showed their strength as the running backs rushed for a combined 230 yards. Tyler Chow had 124 yards on 15 carries, while Shane Buchanan had 87 yards on 14 attempts. Chow also added four catches for 56 yards.
Rams quarterback Noah Picton surpassed the 400-yard mark completing 28-of-43 passes for 422 yards and a touchdown. Picton spread the ball around to the Regina receiving corps on Friday night as four Rams had six catches. Leading the way was Riley Wilson who had 141 yards. Mitchell Picton caught the Rams lone receiving touchdown. On the ground, Atlee Simon was held to just 33 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Defensively for the Huskies Dane Bishop had a monster game with nine tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Huskies got pressure in key situations on second down and finished the night with four sacks. Chris Friesen and Justin Filteau each had an interception for the green and white.
Micahel Stefanovic was the leading tackler for the Rams with 6.5. Zack McEachern had the lone turnover for Regina, recovering a Shane Buchanan fumble. The Rams only managed to get through the line once to bring down Burko for a sack, when Grey McKen tracked down the scrambling Huskie quarterback.
Saskatchewan travels to Vancouver next Friday night to take on the UBC Thunderbirds. Regina will host the No. 1 ranked Calgary Dinos next Saturday afternoon.
1st Quarter Recap
The Rams opened the scoring on their second offensive possession. Noah Picton connected with Riley Wilson on a 32-yard pass down to the Huskie two-yard line. From there Atlee Simon punched it into the end zone.
Saskatchewan responded on the next drive marching the ball to the Regina 14-yard line. The Huskie drive would stall leading to a Sean Stenger 21-yard field goal.
A poor punt set the Huskies up with great field position at the 49-yard line. Two plays later Stenger would miss a 45-yard field goal.
2nd Quarter Recap
A bouncing Stenger punt forced the Rams to start a drive at their own two-yard line. After going two-and-out the Rams conceded a safety.
On the ensuing kickoff, Yol Piok set the Huskies up at the Ram 15-yard line after a 76-yard return. Two plays later, Drew Burko hit Mitch Hillis in the end zone to give Saskatchewan the 12-7 lead.
Burko and the Huskies would make it 19 straight points with less than three minutes to go in the first half. A Chris Friesen 42-yard interception return led to a short two play drive ending in a Yol Piok 13-yard touchdown catch.
Regina answered with an impressive two-minute offense getting down to the Huskies 12-yard line, managing a field goal to cut the lead to 19-10 at halftime.
3rd Quarter Recap
Dane Bishop forced and recovered a fumble to set up the lone scoring drive of the fourth quarter. Shane Buchanan combined for 36 yards on the ground and through the air before finishing off the drive with a five-yard touchdown scamper.
4th Quarter Recap
Saskatchewan extended the lead with the offense taking advantage of a special teams turnover. The Huskies jumped on a fumbled punt return setting up the offense in Ram territory. A 29-yard Tyler Chow run set up Burko's nine-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Hillis. For Hillis, it was his second major on the night.
Noah Picton threw a touchdown pass to Mitchell Picton in the game's final minutes to cut the lead to 33-18.