A 49-23 loss by the Saskatchewan Huskies to the Alberta Golden Bears Saturday afternoon is setting up a wild final week to claim the fourth playoff spot in the Canada West standings.
The Huskies offense struggled to convert drives into points while Alberta poured it on at Foote Field in Edmonton, building up a 45-7 lead two minutes into the fourth quarter. The U of S would finally put some more points on the board from that point on, scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter, but never had a chance to claw their way back into the contest.
Backup pivot Mason Nyhus was called in to replace starter Kyle Siemens and finished with 243 yards in the air and two touchdowns. The lone bright spot for the Dogs was wide receiver Mitch Hillis, who caught 8 passes for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With a loss, Saskatchewan falls into a tie with Alberta at 2-5 for the final playoff spot in the Canada West standings, with Manitoba one game behind them at 1-6, leading to a bunch of playoff scenarios for the last week of the season, because Saskatchewan plays Manitoba, and Alberta faces off with Calgary.
- If Saskatchewan wins and Alberta loses, Saskatchewan advances, and if Alberta wins and Saskatchewan loses, Alberta advances.
- If Saskatchewan and Alberta win, they would have to go to a second tiebreaker because the first tiebreaker looks at the season series. Alberta and Saskatchewan split their season series and both teams won by 26 points in their victories, nullifying the first tiebreaker. The second tiebreaker is overall point differential, and Saskatchewan holds a 14-point lead over Alberta in that category. Therefore, Saskatchewan would advance unless Alberta beats Calgary by at least 15 points more than Saskatchewan's margin of victory over Manitoba, so for example, if Saskatchewan beat Manitoba by 14 points, Alberta would have to beat Calgary by at least 29 points.
- And if both Saskatchewan and Alberta lose and Manitoba wins, the three-way tiebreaker would be decided by overall records against the other two tied teams. Alberta would hold that tiebreaker with a 2-1 record against Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and Saskatchewan would finish fifth because a loss next week would put them at 2-2 against both Alberta and Manitoba. Manitoba would finish with a 1-2 record against the other two teams.
Essentially, next week's game for Saskatchewan is a must-win against the Bisons.