The Manitoba Bisons secured a home playoff game for next weekend and finished second in the Canada West conference after a 60-18 thumping of the Alberta Golden Bears on Oct. 26.
Bison quarterback Jordan Yantz was brilliant all night long, and got the scoring started on Manitoba’s first drive of the game, hitting receiver Andrew Smith on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The Bisons cracked the scoreboard again with 3:42 left in the opening frame, as Yantz connected with running back Anthony Coombs on a 38-yard touchdown pass. Alberta was not going down easily, though, as returner Tylor Henry took the ensuing Manitoba punt, burst things wide open, and never looked back – running it 106 yards to the house for the TD. Heading into the second, this one was close at 14-7.
After a Stephen Fabian field goal for Alberta, Manitoba scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter. Yantz tallied up two more first half touchdowns with throws of 60 yards to Matt Sawyer and 22 yards to Nic Demski. The final touchdown of the first half by Manitoba was the most exciting play of the game, as Anthony Coombs blazed all the way down Alberta’s Foote Field for a 107-yard touchdown. His phenomenal touchdown broke the Canada West record for longest rush and was just one yard short of the CIS record, set in 1967 and tied in 2004.
The Bisons picked up where they left off to start the second half. Yantz orchestrated another scoring drive, connecting with Nic Demski from 15 yards out. The passing touchdown was Yantz’s fifth of the game, a career high for himself. After a team safety given up by the Golden Bears, the Bisons found the end zone again, this time on a three-yard touchdown run by backup running back Alex Christie, who had a strong game in just over a quarter and a half, tallying 111 yards on 11 carries.
The Golden Bears put their first points of the second half on the board in the last play of the third quarter, as fifth-year running back Smith Wright punched it in from one yard out.
Manitoba kept pouring it on with their backups in the game. After a Fabian missed field goal resulted in an Alberta rouge, Alex Christie bolted 34 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Nick Boyd rounded out the scoring for Manitoba on a 29-yard field goal with 2:26 left in the fourth.
The Bison offence was electric all night long, putting up 790 yards on the evening. Jordan Yantz had one of his best games of the season, going 17 of 22 for 370 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception, as well as seven carries for 51 yards in just over three quarters of play. Yantz finished the season with a phenomenal 2,474 yards passing, and a CIS-leading 25 passing touchdowns.
Anthony Coombs led all players in rushing on the night, with 13 carries for 175 yards and one touchdown, along with five receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown. He put up an eye-popping 1,015 rushing yards in just eight games this season, with a total of five rushing touchdowns to go with over 500 receiving yards, and six touchdowns.
With the win, the Bisons finish the regular season with a 5-3 record and Alberta falls to 0-8. The Bisons will host Saskatchewan Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the first Canada West playoff game at Investors Group Field. The two teams split their regular season series, with Saskatchewan winning the first game 36-34, and Manitoba responding in the second, with a 33-26 victory.