On Friday, the Manitoba Bison football team played the Alberta Golden Bears. Both teams entered this contest 0-2, desperately needing a win to turn things around. The Bisons cruised to victory, capturing their first win of the season by a score of 42-12.
Jesse Walker fumbled on the Bisons’ first drive and Griffin Dear recovered and returned it for a touchdown, leading to an early 10-0 lead for the Bears. Walker redeemed himself with a 45-yard reception later in the quarter.
Despite the early deficit, the herd was able to turn it around. Riley Harrison caught a 45-yard bomb for a touchdown from quarterback Theo Deezar, which started a 23-0 run for the Bisons closing out the first half. The herd continued that run into the fourth quarter, scoring 42 unanswered points.
Deezar had an outstanding first half, as he completed 15 of 19 passes for 247 yards and threw for two touchdowns, as well as rushing one in from the one yard line himself. He continued that in the second half, finishing the game having completed 21 of 27 passes for 345 yards and four passing touchdowns. He was safe with the ball and did not turn it over once.
When asked, Deezar stated he was more satisfied with his play.
“I was more efficient. I was happy I only had six incompletions,” he said. “There’s a difference between big numbers and good numbers – I had lots of yards last week but more incompletions.”
Harrison said post game that finishing drives was the difference this week.
“Last week we would get in the red zone and get penalties or drop balls. I know I dropped a ball last week and wasn’t happy.”
Receivers Shai Ross and Harrison both had outstanding games, each catching two touchdowns. Ross caught five receptions for 104 yards, while Harrison received six receptions for 103 yards.
As good as the Bison offense was, the defence stepped up in a big way as well. They held the Alberta offence to a total of 132 yards in the first half. In the second quarter, the defence stopped the Golden Bears in their end zone twice, putting four points on the board for the herd.
The defence continued where it left off when the second half began. Their first time on the field resulted in one of the Bisons’ three interceptions of the half, this one by cornerback Tristen O’Meara, which led to a Ryan Jones 22-yard field goal. Late in the third quarter with the Golden Bears in the red zone, Bison defensive back Evinn Lyons-Keely came up with a timely interception, returning it for 75 yards. Jayden McKoy added yet another interception for the home team in the fourth quarter.
The defence finished a strong game, allowing only 251 yards and not giving up a single offensive touchdown.
When asked postgame about the play of his defence, head coach Brian Dobie said that the defence did a good job to set up the offence.
“The defence just kept feeding us field position, and the offence capitalized,” he said. “That was the main difference tonight.”
Next Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., the Bisons will host the Saskatchewan Huskies at Investors Group Field.