WINNIPEG – In the heated football rivalry between the Manitoba Bisons and #8 Saskatchewan Huskies, the Bisons prevailed after scoring 28 unanswered points to secure a 38-17 home win during the annual Homecoming Game at Investors Group Field on Saturday, September 24 afternoon in front of 1,846 fans.
With the victory, Manitoba improves to a 2-2 record and now on a two game winning streak while the Huskies fall to 2-2 and suffering a two game losing streak. Both teams are now tied for third in the conference standings at the hallway point of the 2016 season.
The game shifted in the second half. The visitors held a 17-13 lead after 30 minutes but the Bisons regrouped and produced the only scoring in the second half with three touchdowns and a short field goal.
“All units played well. We imposed our will in the second half and the team stepped up to win it,” stated Bison Football head coach Brian Dobie after the crucial ‘W’.
It was another arsenal display led by Bison quarterback, and CIS/Canada West Offence Player of the Week, Theo Deezar. Deezar continued to produce at a high level for the third straight game as he passed for 254 yards in the second half alone with touchdowns passes of 37 yards (to Shai Ross) and five yards (to Marquise Thompson). For Deezar, this was his fifth 400 yard game in 12 career conference regular season games and the fourth most passing yards in a single game in Bison history with 447.
“We knew we had to score touchdowns in the second half,” commented Deezar. “The offence picked it up and it’s hard to describe but we really wanted the win today.”
In addition to the strong play by the Bison offence, the offensive lineman held the vaunted Huskies’ defence to no sacks (Sask. led the league with seven going into the contest) and the home side defence had another solid game as the only allowed 99 yards in total offence in the last 30 minutes and 331 overall offence yards.
The final score did not reflect the closeness of the game in the first half. After Manitoba marched down on a five play, 89 yard play drive that was capped by a Macho Bockru one yard TD reception. The Huskies scored 17 of the next 20 points. Huskies’ Tyler Chow dove in for a one yard plunge and followed by a 20 yard TD pass from starter QB Kyle Siemens to Ben Getzlaf plus a 19 yard field goal by Sean Stenger. But the Bisons gained some momentum into the dressing room with a quick drive capped by a 30 yard field goal by Brady Mikoluff with 30 seconds left.
The Bisons finished with 559 offence yards and led 28-20 in first downs.
Individually, Saskatchewan split the duties at the quarterback position. Third year Siemens played for three quarters and went 18-31 for 161 yards and one TD. Fifth year Drew Burko finished 3-9 for 30 yards. Third year running back Tyler Chow continued to add to rushing totals with a game-high 153 rushing yards on 16 carries (9.6 average) in the loss. Fourth year Julian Lynch was top receiver for Saskatchewan with eight catches, game-high, for 75 yards. On defence, rookie defensive back Jacob Solie and second year linebacker Ben Whiting each had 6.5 tackles.
For the Bisons, Deezar passed for 28-42 (57%) for 447 passing yards along with three touchdowns passes. Before he left the game, second year slotback Jesse Walker had 120 receiving yards on six catches while first year Bison Shai Ross had his third consecutive 100 yard game with 113 receiving yards on five receptions. Cam Fox (38) and Alex Christie (34 and 1 rush TD) were top rushers. Fourth year linebacker DJ Lalama had a game-high 8.5 tackles while fifth year linebacker Bami Adewale had 6.5 tackles and first year Bison defensive lineman Quinton Bowles had two sacks.
Up next in week five action, Saskatchewan (2-2) travels on the road to play at the Regina Rams (3-1) on Saturday, October 1. Manitoba (2-2) goes on the road to play the defending CIS champion UBC Thunderbirds on Friday, September 30 at 6 p.m. PT.
Game Notes: In the annual Homecoming Game since it started back up in 1999, Bison Football is now 10-5 record and has won all four played at Investors Group Field (Oct. 2/15: W 34-19 over Regina; Sept. 20/14: W 20-10 over UBC; Sept. 28/13: W 34-15 over Regina).
At halftime, hundreds of University of Manitoba students helped celebrate a commitment of $15.9 million to the Front and Centre campaign, announced by University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) president Tanjit Nagra. The student support has propelled the campaign past the $400 million mark.