By: Chris Zuk, Bison Sports
WINNIPEG – It was not the Homecoming game the host Manitoba Bisons wanted as the #3 Calgary Dinos continued to steamroll opponents as they won going away by a 76-17 score in week three of Canada West football on Saturday, September 16 in front of 1,640 spectators at Investors Group Field.
With the road win, Calgary improves to a perfect 3-0 in the 2017 season and remains in first place in the conference while Manitoba drops to 0-3 and tied for fifth in CW.
In a game with over 90 points scored it was early in the contest when the floodgates opened up. After Manitoba had a 3-2 lead in the first, there seemed to be no indication that a lopsided win was going to happen until a stretch of just under five minutes to close to quarter and open up the second.
The Dinos notched their first major after taking advantage of six penalties on a drive that culminated with a one yard run by Calgary's Josiah Joseph and a two point conversion made it 10-3 with 1:14 left in the first. Then the Dinos pounced on a strip sack by Brett Wade on Bisons' quarterback Theo Deezar as Boston Rowe recovered the fumble and ran it back 11 yards for another touchdown – only 32 second after the first score and it was now 17-3 after 15 minutes of play. Then after a blocked punt, Calgary quickly struck again with a short six play, 39 yard drive and Robert Stewart scored from five yards out for a 24-3 lead with still 12:12 left in the first half.
The third ranked team in the country poured in on with 29 unanswered points in the quarter with an Adam Singara 30 yard strike to Michael Klukas less than a minute and half later, after a Bison fumble. After a two-point conversion, Calgary went for the jugular with an on-side kick that was successful and parlayed that into another TD score when Joseph found defensive lineman Joel Van Pelt from two yards out and it was 39-3 and not in even halfway through the second. The Dinos finished off the impressive quarter with their six consecutive touchdowns in successive drives as Singara found Hunter Karl for 13 yards TD pass and Calgary led 46-3 at half.
After a halftime that celebrated the Bisons' 10th anniversary of the 2007 Vanier Cup championship and having five recruits sign their Letter of Intent for the 2018 season, this year's edition of the Bisons returned to the home field and put up some points in the second half. Jamel Lyles broke away for an 18 yard TD run before Singara answered with a 50 yard pass play to Klukas for a 53-9 score after three.
In the fourth, the 2016 Canada West champs and 2016 Vanier Cup finalist did not let up on the scoreboard as they added two more touchdowns (62 yard interception return by Nick Statz and Alessandro Molnar with one yard plunge) and three field goals by Nike DiFonte (40, 44, 48). Lyles had a nice 75 yard run for his second major of the day and a team safety for Manitoba ending the scoring and produce the second worst loss in Bison football history with the 76-17 result.
"I think Calgary has maturity and they know how to win," stated Bison Football head coach Brian Dobie after the loss. "We looked immature and I don't question our effort as we looked reasonable against one of the best teams in the country but lack discipline…and self-destructed with penalties and turnovers. This is a watershed moment."
Individually for the Dinos, Singara had went 15-23 for 263 passing yards and 3 TD passes while only playing three quarters. Stewart had 87 rushing yards on 12 carries while Molnar added 68 rushing yards on 11 carries and both had touchdowns. Klukas registered a game-high 129 receiving yards on four catches and 2 TDs. DiFonte went 3-4 on field goals and the team scored nine touchdowns. On defence, Micah Teltz had seven total tackles while Jack McEwan added 4.5 tackles plus three sacks. Calgary added two interceptions, five break-ups and eight sacks in the dominating victory.
For Manitoba, Deezar was 11-30 for 141 yards and 1 TD and 2 INTs while Lyles churned up a game-high 179 rushing yards on 15 carries with two rush TDs. Jesse Walker led the way with three receptions for 38 yards. Lyles also amassed a whopping 321 all-purpose yards total (rush: 178; kick return: 119; punt return: 17; receiving: 6). James Mau was team leader with six total tackles and followed by Shae Weekes with five tackles with Marcel Arruda-Welch with four tackles and three break-ups.
For team stats, Calgary led 25-20 in first downs, 456-301 in total offence, points off turnovers was 29-0, sacks 8-1, forced turnovers 3-0. Both teams saw lots of flag as each racked up 18 penalties each for 158 yards for Calgary and 157 yards for Manitoba.
In week four, Calgary returns home to host #7 Saskatchewan with 4 p.m. MT kickoff on Saturday, September 23 while on the same day, Manitoba travel to play at #6 Regina (2-1) at 2 p.m. MT.
Game Notes: Manitoba allowed the second most points in the program history (most allowed at home) while also second largest margin in team history (largest margin at home) with this defeat. The 46 points by Calgary in a half and 29 points scored in a quarter were also the second most by opponent against a Bison football team.