Sometimes you finish the season on a high, other times a non-playoff team comes to slap you in the face.
For the U of M Bisons football team, the club now needs to decide if this dose of reality was what it needed heading into the post-season.
Following a dominant 43-29 win over the conference-leading University of Calgary Dinos on Oct. 19, the Bisons were crushed 47-14 in Regina against the University of Regina Rams.
Manitoba jumped out to an early 3-0 lead off the foot of its kicker Matt Riley, who knocked down a 12-yard field goal in the opening quarter. Unfortunately, this was the only lead the herd enjoyed in the contest, as Regina’s Daniel Scraper tied the game 3-3 minutes later and the Rams took over.
With just over a minute left in the first quarter, Josh Donnelly found Kyle Moortgat with a 52-yard bomb. The fifth-year receiver rumbled into the end zone for the score, and Aldo Galvan picked up a rouge to close the opening quarter 11-3 Regina.
Riley Boersma had a second quarter to remember.
First, he brought down an 18-yard pass from Donnelly early in the quarter.
Then, after Riley picked up another field goal for Manitoba, Boersma scored his second touchdown off a 15-yard pass from the Regina quarterback.
Heading into halftime, the Rams had a massive 25-6 lead, and it only got worse from there for Manitoba.
Ryan Schienbein snagged a seven-yard dart from Donnelly for the score and the Rams picked up a safety to make it 34-6 Regina. Then, in the fourth quarter, Donnelly went with the run option, handed it off to Kyler Mosley in the red zone and the fourth-year converted for a 41-6 Regina lead.
Scraper knocked down a 26-yard field goal to make it 44-6 Rams before Manitoba got its first touchdown of the game. Quarterback Des Catellier found Abdul-Karim Gassama with a 20-yard pass and the score, followed by a two-point convert from Macho Bockru to make it 44-14 Regina late.
Scraper picked up yet another field goal with just under two minutes to play, and Regina walked off the field with the 47-14 win.
The loss drops Manitoba to 4-4 to close the season, with a playoff date with the Dinos set.
What was a less than stellar showing for the Bisons on offence masked a great defensive outing for the herd. Rookie defensive back Austin Balan led Manitoba with 12 tackles — six solo and six assisted — followed closely behind by Kyle Gordon with 11 — two solo and nine assisted.
Catellier went 10 for 19 passing, throwing for 124 yards on the day. Meanwhile on the ground game Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette led the herd with 72 yards on 10 attempts, followed by Logan Fischer who had 42 yards on six runs.
The Bisons will be back on the field Nov. 2 to take on the Calgary Dinos in the first round of the Hardy Cup playoffs. Time is to be determined.