By Matt Johnson / University of Saskatchewan Athletics
For the first-time since 2006, University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team is Vanier Cup bound, after a thrilling, come-from-behind 14-10 win over the Montreal Carabins in the Uteck Bowl.
Adam Machart’s go-ahead score — a 13-yard scamper — with just five seconds left, was the difference, sending Saskatchewan’s sidelines into madness, while simultaneously silencing the hometown crowd.
“I’m just so proud of my guys. The way they fought back. The resilience on this team; it was just great to see. It was a crazy last little bit there, but I’m just happy to get the win,” said Huskies quarterback Mason Nyhus.
“Obviously Machart is a heck of a player and we just need to get him the ball.”
“I knew we needed it. We didn’t want a tie, we wanted a win,” said Machart. “[The Vanier] represents two years of hard work. We’ve fought so hard for it and now we have a chance to get there.”
Machart score capped what was an improbable 10-play, 83-yard drive, all orchestrated by Nyhus, who was calm and collected despite the pressure of a season-ending loss looming. The Regina, Sask. product delivered in the final drive of the ball game, hitting Sam Baker for gains of 10 and 16 yards, as well as Colton Klassen for a massive 17-yard completion to kickstart the drive.
While Saskatchewan struggled to get their offensive clicking throughout the contest, they got it done when it matters most to win their first Uteck Bowl in program history.
Machart proved he was one of the players in the nation, rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, earning offensive player of the game status. The fourth-year running back also scored the first touchdown of the game, with Nyhus hitting the flanking Machart for a nine-yard major in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter that provided the Huskies life.
While Jonathan Senecal threw for 398 yards through the air for Montreal, Saskatchewan bent but didn’t break. The Carabins failed to score a touchdown in the contest, picking up their points on field goals of 23 and 15 yards, two rouge’s and a safety.
Riley Pickett was a force for the Huskies on the defensive side of the ball, recording two sacks and seven total tackles in the win, helping him earn defensive player of the game honours.
“It was hard-fought and I was just happy the boys battled through it and played prairie football,” said defensive lineman Riley Pickett.
As mentioned, the Huskies will play in their first Vanier Cup since 2006, as they search for their fourth national championship in program history and first since 1998.
Saskatchewan will take on the Western Mustangs in the Vanier — a rematch of the 2018 Mitchell Bowl — next Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. CST in Quebec City, Que. with the game being televised on CBC and broadcasted on radio over HuskieFAN.