Over the last several seasons at Griffiths Stadium, fireworks have signified dominance for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football program.
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Last Friday it was the University of Alberta Golden Bears setting them off, however, as they delivered the Huskies not only their first loss of the season, but their first loss at home since Sept. 14, 2018 by a 26-22 final.
“Last week I don’t think that was us at all,” said Huskies head coach Scott Flory.
“Coming off the emotion of the week before, I don’t think I managed that well enough. We’re doing a much better job here today. Crisp, clean practices, good energy, shorten things up and we’ll be ready to go for Friday night.”
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The Huskies struggled all game Friday with dropped balls, wild snaps and containing an Alberta run game which put up more than 250 yards on the ground.
According to Flory, too much pressure from the coaching staff was put on quarterback Anton Amundrud in just his third career start where he was intercepted twice and threw for 266 yards through the air.
The Golden Bears were able to dominate the first half of play holding a 20-0 lead at one point, before a pick-six interception by Finn Marcotte-Cribb got the Huskies on the board.
It’s the second time in three games that Saskatchewan has been outplayed in the opening half after rallying in Week 1 against the Manitoba Bisons, something that running back Ted Kubongo said eventually caught up to the team.
“There was a little bit of basically deja vu when it came to not starting fast,” said Kubongo. “This time it just bit us in the back. That’s the one thing that we definitely have to learn is to start fast, because at the end of the day we’re a great team.”
With their home winning streak snapped at 19 games and 1,827 days, the now 2-1 Huskies will hit the road looking for redemption against the University of Calgary Dinos on Friday night.
For Kubongo, there’s little worry of the Huskies’ first loss of the season hanging over the team come kickoff for Week 4.
“It’s an opportunity for us to just hit the reset button,” said Kubongo. “At the end of the day it’s only Week 4, we still got a lot of season left. So there’s no red panic or red sirens going on right now, we just have to play our ball.”
Following their Week 3 loss, the Huskies dropped two places to fifth in the U Sports national football rankings.
Receiving their first taste of adversity this Canada West season, Flory is expecting those little mistakes made to be cleaned up against Calgary in a test he hopes will show the Huskies’ true colours.
“To me it’s all about the response,” said Flory. “How do you learn from it? How do you deal with the adversity? And then how do you respond?
“I’m looking forward to that Friday night because we have the opportunity to respond.”
The Huskies will hit the field at McMahon Stadium in Calgary at 6:00 pm on Friday to kick off Week 4 Canada West action against the Dinos.
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