Huskies Look to Keep Playoff Hopes Strong

Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography
Photo Credit: Josh Schaefer Photography

Game Date: October 23, 2015, 7pm

Game Location: Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park
Live Television Broadcast: SHAW TV

Live Radio Broadcast: CJWW, www.cjwwradio.com
Live Stats/ Live Webcast: canadawest.tv

THE GAME

With their playoff future on the line, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies host the No. 8 UBC Thunderbirds Friday night at Saskatoon's Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park in the final home game of the season.

BROADCAST INFO

Kickoff is 7 p.m. local time on Friday. The game can be watched live on Shaw Cable. It is also available live on CJWW at www.cjwwradio.com or via webcast at canadawest.tv.

THE HEADLINES

  • The Huskies have won nine straight regular season meetings between the two teams. 
  • Saskatchewan is not currently ranked. UBC is one of three Canada West teams to hold a spot in the CIS Top 10. Calgary (No. 1) and Manitoba (No. 8), join the T-Birds in the rankings. 
  • While the Huskies can no longer host a home playoff game, a playoff berth and seeding are still on the line. Saskatchewan can increase its chances of clinching a playoff spot with a pair of wins down the stretch, but need at least one to have a shot at the conference's postseason. Two Alberta losses and a Saskatchewan win or two Saskatchewan wins and an Alberta loss will guarantee a playoff date for the Huskies.
  • The Huskies bid farewell to 11 fifth-years on Friday night. Dane Bishop, Mathew Czerniak and Geoffrey Hughes are all true fifth-years that used all five years of eligibility with the Huskies. Steven Boryski, Chris Friesen, Dylan Kemp, Andre Lalonde, Mat Leung, Jeremy Long, Taylor Rehn and John Trumpy all exhausted their CIS eligibility while with the Huskies. 
  • Mitch Hillis is having a Top 10 receiving season in Huskies history with 720 yards in 2015. His total is currently 9th on the Huskies list.

T-BIRDS/HUSKIES SERIES

Since 1998, the Huskies are 23-4 against the T-Birds in conference games including a current streak of nine-straight regular season wins. UBC did beat Saskatchewan at home in the playoffs during that stretch in 2011. After a 45-29 win in Vancouver in September, the Huskies look to sweep the season series again.

NO. 9 UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA THUNDERBIRDS (4-2)
The UBC Thunderbirds have won back-to-back games in their push to host a Canada West playoff game.

The T-Birds knocked off the Alberta Golden Bears twice to improve to 4-2 since falling to the Huskies at home in September.

A stifling defense has been key in the mini-winning streak. The unit now ranks second in the conference in scoring average and yards allowed. Mitch Barnett and Taylor Loffler lead the team in tackles with 42.5 and 42 sitting them second and third in the conference respectively. Barnett is tied for second in the Canada West sack race with teammate Terrell Davis. Each of the linebackers have 4.5 sacks on the season.

Offensively, freshman quarterback is settling in nicely for the T-Birds. O'Connor has 10 touchdown passes against just three interceptions while throwing for 286 yards per game. O'Connor's favourite target, Will Watson has 27 catches for 350 yards and a pair of scores. On the ground Brandon Deschamps has handled the bulk of the carriers rushing for 409 yards and five touchdowns in five games.

UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES (2-4)

Looking to rebound from a pair of losses to the No. 1 Calgary Dinos, the Huskies look to keep their playoff chances bright against the T-Birds this Friday night.

A potent Huskie offense was held in check by the top ranked team in the country, scoring just 34 points combined over the two games.

Fourth-year quarterback Drew Burko will look to get the unit back on track. In the previous meeting with UBC in Vancouver, the pivot went 16-for-21 for 324 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Top receiver Mitch Hillis is second in the conference with 120 yards per game for Saskatchewan. Julan Lynch also cracks the top five in the Canada West at 86.4 yards receiving per game. On the ground, Tyler Chow has bumped his average up over 100 yards per game to 105.8.

A strong defensive unit that was tested by the Dinos in the last two weeks of the season looks to wreak havoc for the T-Birds in the final home game of the season. Donovan Dale is second in the nation's sack race heading into Friday's contest and will aim to pressure the rookie quarterback into making quick decisions. Hoping to benefit from that pressure is defensive back Chris Friesen, who leads the team and is second in the conference with four interceptions on the season.