It will be an all-Saskatchewan U Sports showdown on the football field Friday night in Saskatoon.
The University of Regina Rams are taking the short trip up the highway to meet the University of Saskatchewan Huskies with second place in Canada-West on the line.
“It’s a huge rivalry between these two teams, it’s got provincial bragging rights, it’s our neighbours, our brothers that we played high school football with … A lot of these guys were teammates with some of the players up there, there’s a lot of emotional content that goes into a game like this,” said Rams head coach Stephen Bryce.
Both teams are coming into the game with 2-1 records on the season, both losing to the Calgary Dinos. While the Rams were listed as one of the top 10 teams in the nation at the start of the season, a surprise start for the Huskies has now put them on the list.
“When we first come out of the locker room on Griffiths Stadium there, it’s palpable, you feel the hairs stand up, it’s just an air of excitement, it’s unbelievable,” Bryce said.
Someone who’s no stranger to the Saskatchewan rivalry is fifth-year Rams quarterback Noah Picton.
“It’s always fun when you play the Huskies, go up there and it’s a fun environment for us to be in,” Picton said.
Picton, who sits second all-time on the U Sports passing yards list, said he doesn’t try to place extra importance on games against the Huskies, but admitted as a Regina kid it’s always nice to get one over on Saskatoon.
“I remember going to these games when I was a little kid, maybe standing on the sidelines and watching players like Teale Orban, Chris Getzlaf … The rivalry was the exact same then as it is now.”
Bryce said they’ve been focusing on fixing their mistakes this week in practice.
“Mistakes are keeping us from executing and really putting teams away.”
Bryce said another thing the team has going for them is the veteran leadership from players like Picton, Atlee Simon and Danny Nesbitt.
Simon is expected to miss his second game in a row due to an upper-body injury.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.