Monday, 6 October 2014

Fog Bowl revisited at Griffiths

Huskies OL Ryan Breadner in the halftime fog.

            Well, it is pretty obvious what drew the most attention at Saturday’s University of Saskatchewan Huskies football game at Griffiths Stadium.
            As part of the Blackout promotion that went along with the Canada West conference regular season football game against the UBC Thunderbirds, the hosts fired off a spectacular fireworks display at halftime. The show more than delighted the 5,347 onlookers in attendance.
            The festivities also created a smoke haze that created a thick fog that hovered over the field. The teams came out to the field only to be sent back to their dressing rooms to allow the smoke fog to clear.
            The contest eventually resumed after what ended up being a 55-minute halftime break. The visiting Thunderbirds, who fell 31-25, filed a complaint to conference officials.
            So what does one make about the man-made fog spectacle?
            For one thing, it created an opportunity to get some great pictures. There was also ample time to visit with friends in the stands.
            With that said, Huskies football games have been the go-to event for decades in the City of Saskatoon. That is still the case this season more than ever. The promotions the marketing department creates to go along with the game nicely compliment the spectacle.
            The spectators that were in the stadium on Saturday night were quite pleased with what went on up until the end of the fireworks show. When it became clear halftime was going to be extended, it seemed everyone used the extra time to make a washroom break or buy something from the concession. There was also intrigue to see how long the fog would last.
            Over the years, I have run into more than a few former players from Canada West teams that suited up for squads that opposed the Huskies. A common comment was that Griffiths Stadium was their favourite place to play in the conference because of the atmosphere at games. What happened Saturday shouldn’t be more than something just happened, because the smoke fog was obviously not intentional.
The UBC Thunderbirds emerge in the halftime fog.
            Really, more concern should be paid towards some of the strange things that occurred in the final two minutes of the contest, which showed the officials might not have had their best finish.
            The Thunderbirds managed to call three time outs in the final two minutes. Of course, teams are only allowed two time outs per half in Canadian amateur football.
            There was also confusion around Shane Buchanan’s fumble on his own 34 yard line with 31 seconds to play. The officials originally ruled the Thunderbirds had the ball, which meant they would have had a chance to march a short distance for a potential winning score.
            The UBC players were celebrating, while the Huskies offence walked off the field looking dejected and the defence took the field.
            Several seconds later, the call was reversed. The hosts punted the ball away, and the Thunderbirds were unable to score on one last desperate play. The Huskies improved to 4-1, while the Thunderbirds fell to 1-4.
            When the final whistle blew, you can be sure everyone at the contest will not forget the night man-made fog rolled into Griffiths Stadium.
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