The U of M Bisons football team entered Saturday’s action with a chance to clinch a playoff spot in style, but instead a second half collapse sent the herd limping home with a 27-4 loss and a playoff berth for its troubles.
With the loss, Manitoba falls to 3-4 on the year and fourth in the conference. However, a silver lining remains, as after Alberta lost 30-11 against UBC, Manitoba officially clinched a playoff berth.
With only a single game remaining for the two clubs, the best the 2-5 Alberta Golden Bears can do is tie Manitoba. As the herd hold the edge in the season series — beating Alberta in back-to-back contests — they hold the tiebreaker.
Manitoba got on the board first on Saturday as Brad Mikoluff snagged a field goal with 4:16 remaining in the opening quarter. The Huskies only mustered a safety in response, ending the quarter with the Bisons up 3-2.
Mikoluff added a single in the second quarter, but Saskatchewan nabbed another safety, sending the teams into halftime knotted up at 4-4.
The first half was a defensive battle for both teams. The herd staged a goal-line stand in the second quarter, turning the ball over on downs, while the Huskies pushed Manitoba all the way back into their own end zone to snag their safeties.
It was in the second half where it all went wrong for Manitoba.
With 5:22 left in the third quarter, Saskatchewan quarterback Kyle Siemens found Tyler Chow in the end zone with an eight-yard bullet for the touchdown. Sean Stenger added the convert and the Huskies had an 11-4 lead.
Stenger added a single in the fourth quarter and Chow went to work again. The Huskies lined up on the Manitoba three-yard-line, Siemens handed it off to Chow and he broke through the Bisons defensive line for the score.
Stenger added yet another single, giving Saskatchewan a 20-4 lead in the fourth quarter.
Then, as has happened all year for Manitoba, a mistake put the game out of reach. Tristian Koronkiewicz recovered a Manitoba fumble and carried it 38 yards to the house for a 27-4 win.
The Bisons will be back at IGF to close out the regular season against the UBC Thunderbirds on Oct. 27. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. CDT.