Huskies beat X-Men in Uteck Bowl, clinch spot in Vanier Cup
The Saskatchewan Huskies and Laval Rouge et Or will play for the 57th Vanier Cup.
The Huskies used a big fourth-quarter effort to defeat the St. Francis Xavier X-Men 36-19 in the Uteck Bowl on Saturday in Antigonish, N.S.
Laval toppled the reigning Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs with a 27-20 comeback win in the Mitchell Bowl in London, Ont.
The Canadian university football championship will take place next Saturday in London, Ont.
It will be the second consecutive trip to the national title game for the Huskies who fell 27-21 to the Mustangs in 2021.
Saskatchewan quarterback Mason Nyhus was named the offensive player of the game after completing 30-of-38 passes for 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both of which came in the fourth quarter. Defensive back John Stoll with the Huskies was named defensive player of the game as he finished with two tackles and a key interception return touchdown.
St. FX QB Silas Fagnan went 17-of-36 passing for 258 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also scored one TD on the ground.
The Uteck Bowl was tied 6-6 at halftime before both sides exchanged their first touchdowns of the game to enter the fourth knotted at 13-13.
However, the Canada West champion Huskies scored 16 unanswered to open the final frame. Following a safety, Nyhus threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Wiebe with 6:26 left. Stoll then returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown 59 seconds later to give Saskatchewan a 29-13 cushion.
St. FX answered with a 38-yard TD pass from Fagnan to Ben Harrington to make it a 10-point game with 3:01 left on the clock but that was close as the X-Men could get.
Nyhus threw a 26-yard TD strike to Daniel Perry with 56 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Laval running back Kalenga Muganda was named offensive player of the game for the Mitchell Bowl, rushing for 173 yards on 24 carries. Rouge et Or linebacker Alex Poirier was named defensive player of the game after recording 12 total tackles in the victory.
Western took control of the game early, scoring 17 unanswered points in the opening quarter. In the second, Laval got on the board thanks to a Vincent Blanchard field goal followed by a rouge point.
In the second half, however, the Rouge et Or turned things around against the Yates Cup champion Mustangs.
Courtesy of two David Dallaire rushing touchdowns, Laval entered the fourth with an 18-17 lead.
In the final frame, Brian Garrity restored Western's lead with a 15-yard field goal 13 seconds in.
However, Blanchard answered hitting three field goals from 15, nine and 28 yards out to seal the game as the Rouge et Or defence kept Western off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest.
Laval will be gunning for a record 11th Vanier Cup title as it makes its first trip to the championship game since winning it in 2018.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2022.