Stenger Hits Overtime Field Goal In Football Opening Game

Photo by Electric Umbrella
Photo by Electric Umbrella

SASKATOON -  Sean Stenger's 10-yard field goal in the second overtime lifted the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to a 41-39 win over the University of Regina Rams Friday night at Saskatoon's Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park.

It was the second clutch field goal for Stenger on the night after he already sent the game to overtime with a field goal as regulation time expired. The Huskie kicker finished the night 6-for-7.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the opening series of overtime. Mitchell Picton hauled in a 12-yard pass for Regina, while Colton Klassen scored on a 29 yard reception for the Huskies. 

On the second overtime series, Saskatchewan stopped the Rams on second down and a long field goal, backed up by penalty, was missed wide left for a single point. The Huskies took full advantage of the opportunity driving the ball inside the Rams five-yard line to set up the game winning kick.

"We are happy with a win, it was great effort on our part," said Huskie head coach Brian Towriss. "We had better composure (later). We were probably a little too hyped up, a little too excited. But we got that under our belt and now we get to go on the road and be better next week."

Friday night's contest was the first Canada West overtime game since September 13, 2014. The Huskies were also involved in that matchup, winning 42-41 on the road in Edmonton against the Alberta Golden Bears. 

Huskie quarterback Kyle Siemens finished the game 28-42 for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Mitch Hillis was Siemens' favourite target with eight receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. Colton Klassen and Chad Braun also hauled in touchdown passes in the game while Yol Piok led the receiving corps in yards with 115. On the ground, Tyler Chow ate up 147 yards on 23 carries.

Ram pivot Noah Picton went 29-41 for 471 yards and four touchdowns in the defeat. Ryan Schienbein caught eight passes for 151 yards and a pair of majors. Picton also led the Rams on the ground with seven carries for 108 yards after starting running back Atlee Simon went down with an injury. 

Simon opened the scoring for Regina at 12:09 in the first quarter on a four-yard dash into the end zone to cap off a four-play, 59-yard drive. 

The Huskies cut the lead to three after a rouge and a Stenger 35-yard field goal. Saskatchewan took the lead at 12:55 in the second quarter when 2015 CIS First Team All-Canadian Hillis scored on an 8-yard passing play. Stenger gave the Huskies a 14-10 lead with a 40-yard field goal. 

Regina retook the lead in the third quarter capitalizing on long Picton touchdown passes. The first came just a minute into the frame and took just two plays to find the end zone. Picton connected with Khalid Kornegay on an 85-yard pass. Just minutes later, he hit Schienbein for a 65-yard play to give his team the 23-14 lead.

Braun tallied on a 17-yard play at 3:47 in the quarter and the Huskies added a rouge to be down, 23-22, heading into the final 15 minutes.

The Huskies took the lead again on another Stenger field goal, this time from 27-yards at 8:46 in the fourth. The Huskies stuffed up a Rams third down gamble near midfield and drove back down into the Regina red zone where Stenger would knock his fourth field goal of the game through the uprights at 2:36. 

Regina went right back on the attack on their next possession. A 56 yard pass to Mitchell Picton set up a three-yard touchdown catch by Ryan Schienbein. The two-point convert was good to give the rams a 31-28 lead with 1:36 to play.  

Saskatchewan began their final drive of regulation time from inside their own 30-yard line with just over a minute to play. The Huskies converted on a third and long with a 35-yard reception by Yol Piok. Stenger converted on a field goal with zeros on the clock to send the game to overtime.

The Huskie travel to meet the Alberta Golden Bears next week, while Regina returns home to host the Manitoba Bisons.