Welcome back: Huskies gear up for regular season with grill win over Manitoba

“Whatever parameters we have to play under is fine, as long as we can actually play. ”

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After a year and a half of frustrations, cancellations and postponements, Scott Flory walked into Griffiths Stadium on Saturday and soaked up himself.

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It all seemed – as he said later – “just a little surreal”.

But Flory, the head football coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, did one last thing to calm down before a non-conference game against the visiting Manitoba Bisons. He approached a Huskie Athletics employee and asked him a question.

“I’m like ‘you can’t undo it now, can you? Two hours before the game, can’t you do that? Are we really playing this thing? ‘ And she said ‘no we’re playing it,’ ”Flory recalls after her Huskies beat the Bisons 31-14 in front of a crowd of 2,145.

“It really happened – the kickoff and everything – and it’s so good to be back and to be able to do it. Whatever parameters we have to play under, everything is fine, as long as we can actually play.

The entire Canada West 2020 football season has been canceled due to COVID-19. Saturday’s clash between the Huskies and Bisons was a test ahead of their 2021 regular season debut; for Saskatchewan, it’s Saturday on the road against the Calgary Dinos.

Huskies running back Adam Machart asked his first impressions after taking a hit and finding a hole, summed up what was going on in his helmeted head.

“’I remember that. It’s okay. I like it,” Machart said of those inner thoughts. “It was good to brush off the dust. ‘Okay, let’s go, that’s how it feels. ”And then we were driving right after that.

Both teams deployed their starters in the first half and played their substitutes in the final 30 minutes.

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Saskatchewan led 8-6 at halftime and their bench dominated the Manitoba bench in the third and fourth quarters.

Huskies starting quarterback Mason Nyhus completed 10 of 21 passes for 126 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his half of the game. Machart, the 2019 Conference MVP, carried six times for 81 yards and caught two balls for 29.

The Huskies had 32 first downs to 15 for Manitoba and also passed the Bisons in rushing yards (206-126), passing yards (318-202), total offense (522-319) and the bags (2-0).

Saskatchewan’s touchdowns came from Machart on a 12-yard reception, Everett Iverson on a 34-yard pass from Ethan Watson, Ryker Frank on a two-yard rush and Keegan Kaytor on a one-yard rush.

The Bisons got a six-yard touchdown from Breydon Stubbs in the last minute of the fourth quarter, and goals from Cole Sabourin from 35 and 48 yards.

Flory said he was happy with Saturday’s performance. The Huskies’ coaches got what they wanted out of it, he said.

“There was this anxiety, to be able to take this shot,” he said. “And you could see it at the start. Then we calmed down, settled in, and things slowed down. That’s the huge value to us of playing a non-conference game like this, is being able to do it – being able to get all of our guys involved; get that feel for it.

The Huskies are now in full preparation for Saturday’s game in Calgary. They will follow that up with a game on October 9 in BC and then after a week off they will play their official home opener on October 16 against Alberta.

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It’s a quirky schedule and a long wait to play at home, but Machart didn’t seem worried.

“You can’t worry about little things like that,” he said. “To travel is to travel. No matter. We are going there; play soccer. We know what to do. We know what our goals are. We’re just going to go out there and play.

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