Bisons football look to lock down playoff spot vs. No. 4 Calgary

WINNIPEG – With one playoff spot left up for grabs in Canada West, the Manitoba Bisons (3-3) will fight to clinch it as they face the No. 4 ranked Calgary Dinos (5-1) on Saturday, October 19 at IG Field.

Kickoff will be 2 p.m. CDT and fans in Manitoba can watch the game on CanadaWest.TV (fee required) or listen on 101.5 UMFM. Tickets are available to purchase online.

Two games ahead of Regina (1-5) and UBC (1-5) with two games left in the regular season, Manitoba would clinch a playoff spot this weekend with either a win or a Regina loss. The Bisons already have the tiebreaker over the Thunderbirds courtesy of their Sep. 21 win at IG Field.

To take matters into their own hands, they’ll have to break some history against the nationally ranked Calgary Dinos, a team that Manitoba has lost their last eight games against dating back to 2014. That includes a game at McMahon Stadium this season, when the Dinos won 24-10 on Sep. 6.

In that game, Manitoba’s defence played great, holding Calgary to their first scoreless half in three seasons. All season, fifth-year defensive end Derek Dufault has anchored the Bisons’ defensive unit, as he sits third in the nation with six sacks. Dufault was named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Week following a Week 1 win over Saskatchewan. Nick Thomas has also come on strong in the linebacker corps, amassing a team-high 31 tackles (5.2 per game) with 28 of those coming solo.

The Bisons will look to offset another strong defensive game with production from their offence, who were held without a touchdown in that Sep. 6 loss. The ground game, led by starter and fourth-year back Michael Ritchott, seek a bounce back performance after two straight games with their quarterback as the leading rusher. Ritchott is averaging 61.8 yards per game and 10.6 yards per carry, while third-year Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette has received the most carries — 48 and averaging 6.3 per touch.

A win on Saturday would also secure Manitoba their first 4-0 season at home since 2014 and only their second overall at IG Field. The team began play at the new stadium in 2013.

At Saturday’s game, the Bisons will be honouring the career of famed alumnus Israel Idonije, who was inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame earlier this week. Idonije will receive his award at halftime as the team celebrates his career and community work.

In addition, it’s the last regular season home game for Manitoba’s senior student-athletes: DL Jeremie Drouin, DL Derek Dufault, REC Trysten Dyce, DL Kent Hicks, OL Reid McMorris, K/P Matt Riley, and OL Ryan Wengelinski.

Manitoba’s final regular season game will be on the road, as they face the Regina Rams on Friday, October 25 at 8 p.m. CDT.

MATCHUP HEADLINES

  • With a record of 5-1, the Dinos lead Canada West in the standings but are ranked lower than the No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies (4-2) who won a head-to-head matchup with Calgary in Week 5.
  • The Bisons no longer have a chance at a home playoff game, as Saskatchewan and Alberta both hold the tiebreaker over them. Manitoba can vault into the third seed, though, if they win out and either the Huskies or Golden Bears lose both their last two games.

HOOFPRINTS: MANITOBA BISONS (3-3)

LAST WEEK: L 21-49, Oct. 4 at Saskatchewan
NEXT WEEK: @ Regina, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. CDT

  • Sack Specialist: Fifth-year defensive end Derek Dufault is putting together one of his best campaigns in brown and gold, tallying 6 sacks through six games this season (3rd in U SPORTS). If he were to continue the trend and finish the season with 8 sacks, it would be the most by a Bison since Israel Idonije in 2002 (9).
  • Des in the Books: After cementing his starter status, QB Des Catellier is making his mark in the program record books. He’s currently 5th all time in passing yards at 4,708, 565 behind John Makie (2005-080 and is 4th in pass completions (406), five behind Brett Watt (1990-94).

HOOFPRINTS: CALGARY DINOS (5-1)

LAST WEEK: W 34-16, Oct. 5 vs. Alberta
NEXT WEEK: vs. UBC, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. MT

  • Passing Attack: As many expected before the season, the Dinos’ passing game under fifth-year quarterback Adam Sinagra has been a deadly weapon. Calgary is 3rd in the nation in passing yards per game (304.7), 4th in passing first downs (93), and 4th in touchdowns through the air (14).
  • Sophomore Impact on the Line: Leading the Dinos’ defence in a couple statistical categories is second-year lineman J-Min Pelley. The Calgary native has 2.5 sacks for 19 yards along with four tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

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