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September 16, 2017

Bisons Fall 76-17 to Dinos

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Manitoba Bison Football vs Calgary Dinos September 16 _D4S5383.JPG

Say this about the University of Manitoba Bisons homecoming game Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field:

The new all-black uniforms – commemorating the Bisons 2007 Vanier Cup championship – sure looked spiffy.

Other than that, the rest of the occasion was nothing but a complete nightmare for the home side as the powerhouse Calgary Dinos – ranked third in the country – absolutely devoured the Bisons in a 76-17 romp in front of 1,640 that was as one-sided as the score would indicate.

In fact, the 76 points surrendered was second most in school history, just shy of the 78 against in a 2012 loss to the same Dinos.

“We didn’t talk about football the entire time,” said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie of his post-game speech. “We talked about life. We talked about their futures. Calgary is a very, very good football team and they look mature. They’re extremely well coached, they’ve got really good athletes. But they look mature. They know how to win. And we looked immature.

“I said to our guys that this, today, is a watershed moment. It will be a defining moment for your part in the program. We’ve been there before. Our national championship team sucked two years in a row, the nucleus of it, before they started to win. And then they became a machine. I’m not saying this is a magic formula. I’m saying they’ve got a lot to learn that it’s not just about football, it’s about handling adversity, it’s about trust, it’s about self-discipline, it’s about responsibility, accountability… all those things.

“Watershed moment. Things will evolve from this. They just will, if we’re doing a decent job coaching and they’re doing a decent job responding.”

The Bisons, if you can believe it, actually led 3-2 late in the first quarter before the Dinos scored two touchdowns in a span of 32 seconds – the second as a Theo Deezar fumble was returned 11 yards by Boston Rowe – en route to a 46-3 lead at the intermission.

Calgary QB Adam Sinagra led the Dinos, completing 15 of 23 passes for 264 yards and three TDs, while Josiah Joseph completed four of nine for 58 yards and another score. Joseph, Robert Stewart and Alessandro Molnar all rushed for a TD while Michael Klukas finished with two receiving touchdowns and 129 yards. Hunter Karl and Joel Van Pelt also found the end zone through the air for the Dinos.

If there was one bright spot for the Bisons, it was the play of running back Jamel Lyles, who rushed for 179 yards and had both Manitoba touchdowns – including a 75 yarder – while finishing the day with 321 all-purpose yards (179 rushing, six receiving, 119 in kickoff returns and 17 in punt returns).

“The stats don’t matter to me at this point,” said Lyles. “The score speaks for itself. I’m always a guy that’s always going to believe in second chances and coming back because there’s been multiple times where I’ve been down before in different seasons and came back on top. It’s just going to come down to the hard work we put in at practice in the upcoming weeks.”

Asked about the team’s chemistry – an especially-important factor given Dobie’s reference to immaturity – Lyles stressed it could be key in keeping this crew together after an 0-3 start.

“Team chemistry right now is super important,” said Lyles. “It’s definitely a thing we need to work on as a team. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all boys. But on every team there are a few guys that butt heads. That’s just how it is.

“But to evolve and take our game to the next level and be able to bounce back from this, we need to come together as one unit, one heart, one soul and figure out what we have to do to start winning the games.”


NEW HERD MEMBERS

The Bisons announced during the game the commitment of five high school recruits for the 2018 season.

Coming aboard are O-linemen Brock Gutowksi, Kyle Wilfer, receiver Michael Goldenstein, defensive end Mitchell Morgan and defensive lineman Tyson Spence.

  • Gutowski, 17, Sturgeon Heights, was the Huskies Rookie of the Year in 2014 and Lineman of the Year in 2015 and 2016. The 6-2, 300-pounder has also been a part of Team Manitoba U18 in 2016 and 2017.
  • Wilfer, 17, St. Paul’s, was the AAA Crusaders Rookie of the Year in 2015, is a team captain and earned Winnipeg High School Football League honour roll in 2014 and 2016. He stands 6-4, weighs 300 and was part of the Crusaders championship team last season.
  • Goldenstein, 17, Kildonan East, was the Reivers MVP in 2015 and 2016 and is a team captain both at high school and with the provincial team. The 6-4, 190 pound receiver had 30 catches for 696 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016.
  • Morgan, 17, Kelowna, is a 6-5, 250-pound defensive end who led the team in sacks and tackles last year, and was MVP with the B.C. provincial team in 2017.
  • Spence, 17, Grant Park, is 6-3, 250 and had seven tackles and 32 tackles last year while serving as a captain with the Pirates and the Manitoba provincial team.