For the second time in as many meetings, the No. 10 ranked University of Manitoba Bisons left Saskatoon's Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park victorious Friday night after defeating the No. 8 University of Saskatchewan Huskies 34-28.
Manitoba made it two straight wins in Saskatoon after defeating the Huskies 47-39 in the 2014 Canada West semifinal. For Saskatchewan, it is the first loss to open the Canada West season since 2002.
Freshman running back Jamel Lyles erupted for 250 all-purpose yards. Lyles rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries on the night for the Bisons in front of 6,457 fans at Saskatchewan's Homecoming Game.
Manitoba forced four Huskie turnovers, three of those in the second half en route to the win. Saskatchewan converted only 3-of-6 red zone opportunities into points as the Manitoba defence stiffened near their goal line.
Huskie pivot Drew Burko finished the night 24-of-46 for 318 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions. Mitch Hillis was Burko's top target hauling in seven passes for 91 yards. Tyler Chow handled the bulk of the work on the ground racking up 107 yards on 17 carries.
Manitoba quarterback Theo Deezar went 17-of-28 for 218 yards including a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Bryden Bone was the Bisons' leading receiver catching five passes for 103 yards.
Saskatchewan will visit Alberta (1-0) next Friday night, while Manitoba returns to Winnipeg to host the Calgary Dinos (1-0).
Quarterback Drew Burko got the Huskies off to a good start completing a pass to John Trumpy for 30 yards on the game's opening play. After Burko found Mitch Hillis for another 41 yards down to the Manitoba one-yard line, Kyle Siemens plunged into the end zone to open the scoring.
After forcing Manitoba to a two-and-out Saskatchewan benefited from good field position at the Manitoba 35 yard line. Sean Stenger would miss a 35-yard field goal managing just a single point.
The Huskies special teams got in to block a Manitoba punt leading to a Sean Stenger field goal.
It only took Manitoba three plays to march down to the Huskies goal line trying to answer with points of their own. Cameron Fox plunged in from a yard out to get the Bisons on the board.
Yol Piok gained major ground on a punt return setting the Huskies up at the Manitoba 26 yard line. Saskatchewan would march to the goal line only to come up short on third down. On the first play of Manitoba's ensuing drive the Huskies defensive line forced a Theo Deezar intentional grounding penalty in the end zone leading to a safety.
A Jamel Lyles 58-yard run set the Bisons up for an Alex Vitt 27-yard touchdown reception.
The Huskies looked like they might return to the scoreboard after Lance Bashutsky's kick return gave Saskatchewan the ball on the Bison side of half. On first-and-goal Tyler Fong intercepted Burko's pass at the four-yard line.
Like they did in the first quarter, the Huskie defence came up with a key play after a turnover. Donavon Dale sacked Bison quarterback Theo Deezar in the Manitoba end zone for the second safety of the game for the Saskatchewan defence.
Manitoba's offence rebounded with an impressive 58-yard touchdown run by Jamel Lyles. Lyles helped the Bisons add another three points to the scoreboard on later in the quarter setting his squad up on the Huskie side of half with a 38-yard punt return. Ryan Jones would hit from 29-yards out.
Saskatchewan went on another march late in the half before it was abruptly ended by an Eric Plett interception of Drew Burko.
Brett Boechler intercepted Theo Deezar on the Bisons opening drive of the second half. Sean Stenger would connect on a 17-yard field goal.
Stenger would add a 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Huskies a 28-24 lead.
A Theo Deezar pass that deflected off a receiver and a defender's hands landed in the arms of Lerenzo Ihanza who walked into the end zone untouched for the 58-yard major.
Manitoba marched again in the middle of the fourth quarter, just missing on a touchdown instead settling for a 10-yard Ryan Jones field goal.
Saskatchewan intercepted Deezar twice in the closing minutes, but failed to convert the turnovers to points.