September 7, 2013, Winnipeg, MB – On a crazy night at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, the #9 Saskatchewan Huskies ran their Canada West football record to 2-0 in the young 2013 season after winning a tight 36-34 road win against the #9 Manitoba Bisons on Saturday, in front of crowd of 4,864.
With the home loss, Manitoba falls to 1-1 after winning last week to open the new stadium with a 65-41 over Alberta.
The contest had numerous ebbs and flows but the biggest ones were for the last five minutes as there were two late lead changes, a goal line stance and a little confusion at the end of the game.
After Denton Kolodzinski (Saskatoon) kicked a 37 yard field goal to push the visitors lead to 33-27 at the 9:24 mark of the fourth, the Bisons stormed down on a four play, 75 yard touchdown drive that was capped by Nic Demski (Winnipeg) two yard grab from QB Jordan Yantz (Regina) with just four minutes left and a 34-33 lead.
Then the fun began. The Huskies drove the length of the field on the next possession but was thwarted on the goal line when it was looked really close that Huskies QB Drew Burko (Saskatoon) might have sneaked in but it was a turnover on downs. Manitoba was stymied as the took over at their own one with 1:08 left and Saskatchewan regained the ball after a punt to Manitoba’s 30 yard line. Kolodzinski finished the short drive with a 40 yarder with only 18 seconds left. The home team started on the 35 and had an 18 yard pass to last week’s Canada West Offence Player of the Week Anthony Coombs (Winnipeg) that took seven seconds. On the next play, SB Andrew Smith (Nanaimo, BC) ran offside and three more seconds ran off. Yantz then found Smith on the final play to Saskatchewan’s 35 yard line but the Huskies did a great job keeping Smith upright to run out the clock and preserve the road victory.
Bison Football head coach Brian Dobie addressed the team after the win and stated, “We were down and they had the momentum but we did not fold our tents and got the lead and came within one second. We have a good thing and I want this team to know, all good teams in the past lost before they won. All I have to say, I have not seen this fight since the 2007 Vanier Cup squad and finally, Bison Football is back! You guys fought and without that, you can not win and I know this team can win.”
The crazy end was not the only back-and-forth as Manitoba jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead when offensive lineman Matt Hallock (Winnipeg) caught a 1 yard pass to start the scoring. The Huskies responded with 17 unanswered points when Shane Buchanan (Edmonton) romped into the end zone on a 46 yard run and then Garrett Burgess (Regina) 23 yard TD reception from Burko with a Kolodzinski 32 yard field goal before Coombs scampered for a 54 yard run and a rouge, that was set-up with a pouched kick by FB Bryan Giesbrecht (Winnipeg), had it 17-15 Sask. at half.
In the second half, the visitors pushed the lead to a 12 point advantage after a 44 yard FG and Mitch Stevens (Saskatoon) 68 yard reception with five minutes gone before Coombs found the end zone on a 16 yard run and Bison Nick Boyd (Vancouver) connected on a 35 yarder sandwiched by another field goal by Kolodzinski from 37 yards. All that exciting action, even before all the fireworks commenced at the end of an entertaining contest.
For the second consecutive home game this season for Manitoba, the two teams combined for over 950 total yards (Manitoba 527; Saskatchewan 441) and over 50 first downs (Manitoba 27; Sask. 24).
The undefeated Huskies were led by QB Burko with 22-37 passing and 339 yards and 2 TDs plus 11 rushing yards. Buchanan had his second consecutive 100 yard rushing games as he hit the century mark bang on from 16 carries and 1 TD while top receivers for Saskatchewan were Kit Hillis (Saskatoon) with seven grabs for 88 yards; Burgess for 7-81 and 1 TD and Stevens with five catches for 152 yards and 1 TD. In addition, Kolodzinski made a bid for conference special teams weekly award with the winning FG while going 5-5 kicking (longest was 44 yard FG) and a 43.4 punting average on seven punts.
On defence for the Huskies, Dane Bishop (Sherwood Park, AB) added 6.0 total tackles and one sack and Mark Ingram (Imperial, SK) and Joel Seutter (Sherwood Park, AB) added five tackles each.
The Bisons offence had numerous big numbers with Yantz line at 25-41 for 374 yards and 2 TDs and 53 rushing yards while Coombs added 85 rush yards on 10 carries and 2 TDs plus five receptions for 117 yards. Demski was top receiver with ten catches for 105 yards and 1 TD while Smith registered seven grabs for 132 receiving yards. On defence, LB Bami Adewale (Brampton, ON) had 5.5 tackles with two sacks and DJ Lalalma (Winnipeg) had 5.0 tackles and DB David Ferrier with 4.5 tackles and one break-up.
Next up for Saskatchewan is a battle for first place with #5 Calgary Dinos (2-0) at Calgary on Saturday, September 14 at 5 p.m. MT while Manitoba plays their first road game of the young 2013 campaign at the UBC Thunderbirds (1-1) on Saturday, September 14 at 2 p.m. PT.
Bison Game Notes:
– Manitoba has now scored 99 points and allowed 77 points in two games this season
– The Bisons have now scored 12 touchdowns in 2013
– Jordan Yantz threw for 374 yards which was the ninth highest in team history while his 25 completions was tied for fifth most along with his 41 attempts tied for fourth best in Bison history
– Coombs now has 23 total touchdowns in his third year playing at Manitoba and he is now tied for third most in team history and his 16 rushing TDs is fifth most in team history