The University of Saskatchewan Huskies are going back to the Hardy Cup after a 31-28 overtime victory over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Saturday in Vancouver.
It’s the first trip back to the Canada West final for the Huskies football program since 2009, a streak that included eight losses.
Both teams wrestled the lead from one another inside a rain-soaked Thunderbirds Stadium. With the score tied at 28 in the first session of overtime, Huskies kicker Sean Stenger stepped up and sent a 38-yard field goal through the uprights to set up a Hardy Cup showdown against the undefeated University of Calgary Dinos on Nov. 10.
Calgary defeated the University of Manitoba Bisons 37-13 in the other semifinal.
Stenger was set up by a Jesse Kuntz 14-yard touchdown reception with 21 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. UBC was given the ball to start overtime, but couldn’t convert a first down and were forced to attempt a field goal that was sent wide.
All Saskatchewan had to do was come away with a single point during its possession to win the game.
The game looked like it was over in the waning moments of the game when Kyle Siemens threw an interception 25 seconds after the T-Birds took a 28-21 lead with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies defence stood tall and forced UBC into a two-and-out to give the Huskies offence one final chance to tie it up.
Stenger didn’t leave his dramatics for the end of the game either. Lining up for a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter, Stenger elected to send an onside kick down the field. Huskies receiver Colten Klassen was able to jump on the ball for a the first down as Thunderbirds defenders were caught off guard. Running back Tyler Chow plunged into the endzone on the next play to take a 17-10 lead at the half.
Huskies quarterback Kyle Siemens, who orchestrated the final four-play drive with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter, threw for 222 yards on the day.
Chow led the way for the Huskies with 89 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, while adding 54 yards on six receptions.
Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O’Connor threw for 435 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort, while his receiver Trivel Pinto caught eight passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
The Huskies last Hardy Cup appearance was a 39-38 loss to the Dinos.