October 27, 2017

Bisons | Season Finale Preview

Photo: Chantal Zdan

Despite being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last week, the University of Manitoba Bisons are treating Saturday’s finale against Saskatchewan like any other contest.

“We’ve done our scouting reports and our prep the same way. Nothing has changed,” Bisons football head coach Brian Dobie began.

“Our starters are going to be our starters, and we’re going in to beat Saskatchewan.”

Sitting at 1-6, Manitoba find themselves in an interesting position heading into Saturday’s contest in Saskatoon against the 2-5 Huskies. They can essentially spoil the Green Dogs’ chances of sneaking into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Canada West conference with a victory, as the Alberta Golden Bears also sit at 2-5 and would need a win and Saskatchewan loss to enter the postseason for the first time since 2010.

“Saskatchewan has to beat us to make the playoffs. I like the challenge. They’re desperate to win and I kind of like that,” Dobie said.

“I think it’s going to be interesting to go in and see how our team responds with nothing at stake, other than their pride, against a team that has everything at stake.”

With that being said, Dobie still had a critical message for his troops, the 10 graduating seniors in particular.

“I said, ‘This week for you guys is your opportunity to go out in style, to continue to be leaders and to leave your legacy that way. So, you don’t get to shirk your responsibilities in this last week and just play it out, why would you even want to do that?

“It’s supposed to be about your emotions, it’s a game, so enjoy that experience and don’t leave anything behind is the message. Really enjoy it, take it all in and remember as much of that last game as you can.’”

While Manitoba won’t be making any drastic changes to the line up, they will be dressing a few players for the first time, such as defensive tackle Chibukem Orajekwe, a redshirt freshman from Nigeria.

“[Chibukem] has done his work. He put in a great offseason in the weight room and did all the right things,” Dobie said. “He’s a kid that shows promise and is an example of a guy that we’re going to bring [to Saskatchewan].”

Regardless as to who suits up for the Bisons, the aim is obvious: finish on a high note and look ahead to 2018.

“We’re going to play this thing out the way our players deserve and our program deserves for it to be played: through to the finish,” Dobie said. “We’re going in there to win, and we expect all of our guys to play their best.”