No lead was safe Saturday as the U of M Bisons football team and University of Regina Rams went back and forth in an offensive battle.
Manitoba had the lead at halftime and Regina clawed back to take the lead late, but Matt Riley played the hero in a 27-26 win. The fifth-year kicker knocked down the game winning field goal with no time on the clock and gained huge praise from Bisons head coach Brian Dobie.
“Riley stepping up, and well, I mean, he won it,” he said.
“He went out and won it, and he’s just getting better every week, it feels like.”
It only took Regina 32 seconds to get itself on the board, as Josh Donnelly found Kyle Moortgat standing without a Bisons defender in sight. Moortgat picked up a short pass and was off to the races for the touchdown and 7-0 Rams lead.
“I saw an aggressive player, who’s a very good player — he’s extremely aggressive — play very aggressively, and get beat on a double move,” Dobie said.
Manitoba responded on the next drive, working its way down the field and into scoring position. Logan Fischer sliced through the Regina defence with a five-yard run for the score.
Matt Riley had a successful convert to tie the game 7-7 early in the first quarter.
The next Bisons possession ended the same way, as Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette capped off the drive with a five-yard run up the gut to give Manitoba a 14-7 lead.
This Manitoba lead did not last long into the second quarter, as a Riley kick was blocked, recovered by Brandon Gandire and taken to the house for the touchdown. Aldo Galvan added the convert to tie the game back up, this time at 14-14 in the second quarter.
The two sides battled to a stalemate throughout the remainder of the second quarter, until a late fumble gave Regina a boost.
St. Pierre-Laviolette dropped the ball on a run and the ball was knocked out of bounds by a Rams defender, giving the Rams possession. Regina moved into scoring position but could not convert and settled for a field goal and 17-14 lead.
Again, this lead did not last long.
Reilly Gordon intercepted a Regina pass and Manitoba got into scoring position, setting Trysten Dyce up for some heroics. Des Catellier took the snap and unleashed a long-bomb to Dyce deep in the end zone.
Dyce fought off a Regina defender for the catch and Riley picked up the convert for a 21-17 Manitoba lead at halftime.
Regina picked up a rouge on the opening kickoff of the second half and the Rams again took the lead with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter. Donnelly found Daniel Scraper with a 15-yard pass and he drove right, edging his way into the end zone for the touchdown.
Galvan added the convert to make it 25-21 Regina.
Riley knocked down a 13-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to bring the Bisons within one point and Galvan picked up a late rouge to push the Regina lead to two, but Riley came back with a walk-off field goal for the 27-26 Manitoba win.
With the win Manitoba sits 3-2 on the year, tied with Saskatchewan for third in the Canada West standings.
The Bisons will head back out on the road next week for a date with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. CDT.