‘There is heightened intensity’: In shortened season, Huskies’ home opener packs extra punch

“I’m lucky to be here with my friends, to play football, and that’s the main thing. It’s the approach we take as a team.”

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It took a long time to get home.

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University of Saskatchewan Huskies football players think about it as they prepare for Saturday’s 2 p.m. home opener at Griffiths Stadium against the Alberta Golden Bears – the first official game there since November 2, 2019.

“No day is guaranteed,” said Huskies quarterback Mason Nyhus. “We’ve seen it over the past year and a half. I’m lucky to be here with my friends, to play football, and that’s the main thing. This is the approach we take as a team.

The 2020 Canada West football season has been wiped out by COVID-19. The 2021 campaign started later than usual and has been reduced from eight games to six. The Huskies are currently 1-1, with both games played on the road – a 34-20 loss to Calgary, followed by a 43-15 victory over British Columbia.

In this latest contest, Nyhus and the rest of his unit fully unleashed their veteran offense – 626 yards total, including 255 on the ground and 371 in the air.

And now they’re heading to the all-new turf at Griffiths Stadium against the Bears 1-1. The Huskies beat Manitoba in a non-conference game last month, but it is their first game since a 28-23 playoff win over Alberta 23 months ago.

“You can ask most of the elders and all of the guys here – it’s a pretty special experience, running, especially the first time these young guys do it live, coming out of the dog (giant inflatable),” he said. said Nyhus. “The music rings out, you hear the crowd roaring, the adrenaline rushes. Everyone is pretty excited to come home.

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“I obviously like to play at home. We had a pretty good home record in 2019 (5-0, including the playoffs), and hopefully we can keep going. We have a good fan base here in Saskatoon, and it’s good to bring a regular season back to the community.

Saturday’s home opener packs more punch than most, given the shortened season. The teams have two games less to make their case for a playoff berth, and Nyhus said the tension was there.

“I wouldn’t say we feel the pressure (of a shorter season) but we definitely recognize it’s there,” he said. “We know there is increased intensity; everything is urgent. Every game counts so much more with the six game season. “

Huskies head coach Scott Flory, meanwhile, has said the outright victory over UBC is important to the team as they seek to make their mark on the 2021 campaign.

“It brought us back to who we are,” he said. “There is so much in Calgary that we had to eliminate because it wasn’t who and what we are. We strive for this progress – we improve every day. Incrementalism is important to us.

Alberta started their season with a 44-19 victory over UBC before falling 31-17 to Manitoba.

In other Canada West games this weekend, 1-1 Calgary – after a 34-21 loss to the Regina Rams – will play in Winnipeg on Saturday against 2-0 Manitoba, and the Rams 1-1 host 0- 2 UBC.

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  1. Huskies quarterback Mason Nyhus, shown in a 2019 game, threw for 351 yards Friday night in Vancouver.

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  2. Huskies offensive lineman Noah Zerr warms up before soccer practice last fall at the University of Saskatchewan.

    “You enjoy every game a little more”: Huskies football kicks off season in Calgary

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