The Huskies went into the game knowing they had to beat Manitoba by 37 points to qualify for the fourth and final playoff spot in Canada West football after Alberta scored a stunning 53-3 upset win over previously unbeaten Calgary.
The Huskies, despite some second quarter setbacks like an interception of a Kyle Siemens pass on the Manitoba one-yard line and a fake field goal pass attempt that went incomplete, Saskatchewan went into the third quarter with a 15-0 lead.
They extended the lead to 22-0 on a six-yard touchdown run by rookie Shakir Harris, his second of three majors in a game in which the first year running back ran for over 200 yards.
The Bisons started to mount their comeback on the ensuing kick-off. The short chip-shot kick was grabbed by defensive back Marcel Arruda-Welch who weaved 70 yards for the touchdown.
The Huskies recovered after another Manitoba touchdown made it 22-15, with another six-yard touchdown run by Harris on the final play of the third quarter and a 45-yard field goal by Sean Stenger about three minutes into the final quarter to extend Saskatchewan’s lead to 17-points.
Manitoba chipped away, as quarterback Des Catellier fired his first of two touchdown passes to Jesse Walker and engineered another scoring drive after a successful on-side kick.
A pass interference penalty in the final minute would give the Bisons first and goal from the five-yard line and Catellier would connect with Walker about a yard deep in the end zone with about 15-seconds left on the clock which would soon strike midnight on the Huskies 2017 season.
In addition to Harris’ heroics, it was a big night for graduating receiver Mitch Hillis. He caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Siemens in the first quarter and later on broke the record for career receiving yards in the Canada West Conference.
The Huskies who opened the season with wins over the Bisons and Alberta, lost their final six games to finished tied with Manitoba at 2-6, meaning the Huskies missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.