Saskatchewan wins back-to-back titles for the first time since winning three in a row from 2004 – 2006
On Saturday, the Saskatchewan Huskies definitely had visions of the Vanier Cup in their heads after falling to the Western Mustangs in Laval in the big game a year ago. To get their first, though, they needed to be the best in Canada West and became so on Saturday with a comfortable 23-8 win over the UBC Thunderbirds in the 2022 Hardy Cup.
At 7-1 and the defending champions, the Huskies entered the afternoon as heavy favourites against the 4-4 UBC Thunderbirds, but as the game kicked off, neither side could get much of anything going.
Both sides ended with punts on their first two possessions before Canada West placekicker of the year David Solie got an opportunity from 30-yards out that he sent through the upright for a 3-0 Saskatchewan lead.
Solie added his second FG of the game midway through the second and a third late in the half as Saskatchewan looked to go into halftime up 9-0. That is until Lucas Mastrodomenico punched in a one-yard run with 30 seconds left in the first half to send the game to halftime at 9-7 for the Huskies.
The second continued the quiet offence as both quarterbacks struggled to cash in. Canada West MVP Mason Nyhus put in a solid performance throwing for 232 yards on 22-28 and finally finding his first touchdown of the game when he hit Jordan Rusnack for the 8-yard pass at the end of the third quarter to make it 16-8 heading into the fourth.
Derek Engel, on the other hand, had a more difficult afternoon. The sophomore pressed into service after Garrett Rooker was injured in the Thunderbirds’ 35-29 win over the Huskies in Week Seven, threw for 149 yards on 15-31 and crucially tossed two interceptions. One of the interceptions landed in the hands of Finn Marcotte-Crib, who took it 9-yards back for the pick-six to make it 23-8 for the Huskies midway through the fourth.
Even as Mason Nyhus tossed his first interception of the game late in the fourth, the Thunderbirds could not capitalize, and 23-8 was where the game ended in favour of Saskatchewan.
Th Huskies now move on to play in the Uteck Bowl next week against the StFX X-Men, who took down the Mount Allison Mounties in the Loney Bowl to become AUS Champions on Saturday.