Down 22-0 in the third quarter, the University of Manitoba Bisons football club scored 36 points in the final 15 minutes to beat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 36-32 on Saturday.
With the University of Alberta upsetting the first ranked University of Calgary 53-3 earlier on Saturday, the Huskies needed to better the Bisons by 36 points to earn a playoff spot.
Manitoba finishes the year dead last in the Canada West with a 2-6 record and misses the playoffs for the second straight year. The Bisons will quickly look to put this year behind them, as they finished dead last in every team statistic, including attendance.
The Huskies will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001, while Manitoba’s fate was sealed last week after a loss to the University of British Columbia.
Jamel Lyles was dominant on the ground for Manitoba, racking up 169 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Lyles also had two catches for 26 yards. The second year runningback from Surrey, B.C., finished the year with 691 yards rushing, good enough for fourth in the Canada West.
Saskatchewan carried a 22-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, after a Shakur Harris six-yard run, and things look good for the Huskies’ playoff hopes. Marcel Arruda-Welch then took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to the house. Manitoba got a rogue point and Lyles dived for a one-yard score before the end of the third quarter.
Harris added another touchdown for Saskatchewan and a Sean Stenger field goal made the score 32-15 for the Huskies with 11:40 remaining in the game.
Bison quarterback Des Catellier took over from there, throwing three touchdown passes to give Manitoba the win. Catellier hooked up with Trysten Dyce with three minutes remaining, then completed a 31-yard pass to Mathias Bockru 17 seconds later.
With 16 seconds remaining, Catellier and Kyle Patchell connected for a four-yard touchdown. Catellier finished the day with 24 completions on 32 attempts, for a total of 277 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
After taking over the starting job from Theo Deezar, Catellier finished the year with five touchdowns with 1,142 total yards, averaging 228.4 a game.
The herd started the year ranked 10th in the country, mainly due to a number of returning players. There will be a fair amount of returnees again next season, hungry to forget the pain of this campaign.