For the second consecutive game, the 10th-ranked Manitoba Bison football team found themselves on the verge of a tremendous comeback. Unfortunately, just like last week, they couldn’t get it done in the dying seconds, suffering a 38-31 loss to the underdog Alberta Golden Bears.
Despite Manitoba holding Alberta quarterback Curtis Dell to a measly 104 yards passing, the Golden Bears still walked out of Foote Field with a victory, thanks largely to running back Ed Ilnicki, who churned out 192 yards on the ground, and three touchdowns in the win.
Manitoba couldn’t have dreamt up a better start, as Alberta fumbled the opening kickoff, and DJ Lalama recovered for the Bisons at the Golden Bears 45-yard line. Manitoba moved the ball into the Alberta red zone, utilizing the legs of Kienan LaFrance, who started the game off with four straight carries for 40 yards.
The Bisons were stymied from there, but able to pick up the game’s first points, on a 12-yard chip shot from kicker Ryan Jones, to make the score 3-0.
After both defences stood tall, Alberta would seize the momentum just over five minutes in, as Ryan Migadel intercepted a Jordan Yantz pass. The ensuing drive didn’t result in any points, but it certainly woke up the Golden Bears. They scored just over two minutes later on their very next possession, and never gave up the lead after that.
Levon Hawreliak put the first points on the board for Alberta, scoring a 10-yard rushing touchdown, and Tyler Henry added to the lead with a 15-yard receiving touchdown on the next offensive drive.
The Bisons answered back with a big defensive play of their own in the second quarter, as Lalama intercepted a Dell pass, taking it 26 yards to the house. The jubilation was short-lived for the Bisons, as Ilnicki capped off a 77-yard drive on the ensuing Alberta possession, making the score 21-10 at the half.
Ilnicki continued his offensive output in the second half, scoring once in the third and once in the fourth quarter. The touchdown runs were from five and 11 yards out, respectively. Alberta kicker Stephen Fabian also added a single, after missing a 33-yard field goal.
Manitoba quarterback Jordan Yantz battled back, throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Matt Sawyer, as well as scampering in twice himself, but also faced a stingy Golden Bears defence, which forced two fumbles in the fourth quarter, including a safety.
Yantz had the offence in a position to tie the game with under a minute left to go in regulation, driving all the way down to the Alberta 23-yard line. It wasn’t meant to be on this night, though, as defensive back Tak Landry knocked down a pass intended for receiver Dustin Pedersen on a second down play.
All of the Canada West will go on a bye for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Manitoba’s next action will be Oct. 17 at home against Saskatchewan.