2014 CIS Football Team Preview: Saskatchewan Huskies


Source: Nicole Betker, Saskatchewan Sports Info /Photo credit Josh Schaefer

2013 regular season record: 5-3
2013 regular season standings: 3rd Canada West
2013 playoff record: 0-1
2013 playoff finish: Lost 37-36 to Manitoba Bisonsin Canada West semifinal

With the graduation of 11 fifth-year athletes in 2013, theUniversity of Saskatchewan Huskie football team will have adifferent look at many positions in 2014.

The Huskies, who finished 5-3 and third in the Canada Weststandings in 2013, return seven starters on both offence anddefence including third-year quarterback Drew Burko, 2012All-Canadian receiver Kit Hillis and 2013 All-Canadian safety MarkIngram.

Burko hopes to continue to rack up passing yards. Tallying 3,568yards and 20 touchdowns in his first two seasons, Burko will lookfor Hillis and his younger brother, Mitch, to be the main targetson offence. The brothers duo combined for 765 yards in 2013. ShaneBuchanan will take the ball at running back looking to repeat astrong 483 yards, five touchdown performance last year.

Ingram, along with fellow fifth-year Richard Zacharias will leadthe Huskies’ defence. Traditionally a strength for theHuskies, Saskatchewan allowed opponents to average just 25.5 pointsper game in 2013 – the second least in the conference –and led the Canada West with 13 interceptions and an impressive 24sacks. Veteran leadership will also come from defensive linemanBrayden Twarynski, linebackers Dane Bishop and Dylan Kemp.

Quote from head coach:

We have great potential. With a veteran presence, lots ofplaymakers on offence and solid lines, we should be a contender inthe Canada West. We will strive to finish as one of the top twoteams in the conference and battle for the Hardy Cup. Our goal isto return to national prominence.
-Brian Towriss, 31st Year

Head Coach:

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2013):31
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2013): 31
– Career regular season record with team: 153-86-1
– Career regular season record in CIS: 153-86-1
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 181-105-1
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):181-105-1 *

* broke CIS wins record in 2011


Number of returning starters: 7

Key returning players:

Providing experience at wide receiver, Kit Hillis will onceagain be the main target on offence. The fifth-year Businessstudent finished second on the team with 537 yards on 46 receptionsin 2013. He was an All-Canadian in 2012.

Drew Burko will begin his third season as the Huskies startingquarterback. In 2013, the second generation Huskie completed177-of-297 passes for 2,311 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Offensive lineman Mat Leung will provide stability on anotherwise young offence. Leung played in all eight of theHuskies’ regular season games at tackle in 2013 and wasselected to play in the East-West Bowl.

Key recruits:

Touted as one of the top running backs in the country,Alberta’s Tyler Chow will join the green and white afterwinning an Albert provincial championship with the Notre Dame Pridein Calgary. Chow was also the starting running back for TeamCanada’s U18 team at the International Bowl. Canadian JuniorPlayer of the Year, Andre LaLonde, joins the Dogs after a recordsetting career with the Saskatoon Hilltops.

Former Canadian Junior Football champions with the SaskatoonHilltops John Trumpy and Graham Unruh will look to give the Huskiesexperience on the receiving corps.

Key losses:

A pair of fifth-year receivers played their final CIS seasonsfor the green and white in 2013 – Garrett Burgess and JeffMoore. Burgess led Saskatchewan with 596 yards, averaging 12.4yards per catch, last year. Moore, who battled injuries throughoutthe season, averaged 20.3 yards per catch in 2013.

Steady bodies on the offensive line, Lane Bryksa and MichaelFuller each finished their final season of CIS eligibility in2013.


Number of returning starters: 7

Key returning players:

An All-Canadian in his first year of CIS eligibility, MarkIngram continued the Huskies dominance at safety. He tallied 30tackles and one interception in 2013.

Linebacker Richard Zacharias will play his final season of CISeligibility in 2014. In 2013, Zacharias recorded 30 tackles, threesacks and one forces fumble.

Defensive lineman Brayden Twarynski will be looked at to fillone of the three gaps left on the front line by graduating players.In 2013, the second year tackle and Academic All-Canadian made 11.5tackles in limited playing time.

Battling an injury in 2013, Geoff Hughes was impressive in threegames at linebacker. The 2014 East-West Bowl participant recorded10 tackles and three sacks in his three games before aseason-ending injury.

Key recruits:

Local defensive lineman Evan Machibroda will look to make animpact in the CIS as a rookie. The two-time Saskatoon City Championwith Holy Cross High School was also a standout on Canada’sNational Junior squad.

Saskatchewan will welcome three other newcomers to the defensiveline from the Canadian Junior Football League. TristianKoronkiewicz (Vancouver Island Raiders), Adam Morrison (SaskatoonHilltops) and Brennan Thorpe (Saskatoon Hilltops) will all fillholes left from the graduating players.

Key losses:

A staple on the defensive line for five seasons, Joel Seutterhad a career season in 2013. Named a CIS Second Team All-Canadianand a Canada West All-Star, Seutter tallied 23 tackles, 5.5 sacksand three fumble recoveries in six games last season.

Named a Canada West all-star in his final two seasons ofeligibility, Braxton Lawrence’s stability in the secondarywill be missed. He led Saskatchewan in both tackles andinterceptions in 2013.

Defensive captain Zach Hart battled injuries in his final seasonin the CIS. Playing in just five games, the two-time conferenceall-star recorded 11.5 tackles and one sack.


Key returning players:

Kicker Denton Kolodzinski returns to punting duties in his finalseason for the Huskies after averaging 40.5 yards per punt in 2013.He went 18-for-25 on field goal attempts clearing the bars fivetimes from 40-yards or further.

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