No. 6 Bisons football visit No. 4 Calgary for rematch of 2018 Hardy Cup semi-final

WINNIPEG – If the first week of Manitoba Bisons football action was any indicator, the team may be ready to surprise opponents in 2019. After beating the defending Hardy Cup champion Saskatchewan Huskies 43-19, another test is on tap in Week 2, as the No. 6 Bisons (1-0) travel to Calgary to face the No. 4 ranked Dinos (1-0) at McMahon Stadium.

Kickoff time is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT, with fans able to watch the game on CanadaWest.TV (fee required).

This early season matchup also serves as a rematch for Manitoba, with Calgary the team that bounced them from the post-season in 2018, winning 37-13 at home in the Hardy Cup semi-final last November. Though the makeup of both teams has changed since, both the Bisons and Dinos have predictability under centre, with Manitoba sending out fourth-year quarterback Des Catellier and Calgary suiting fifth-year and defending Hec Crighton winner Adam Sinagra.

Catellier — who threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 — offers continuity at the position, but a batch of new running backs also turned heads in Manitoba’s win over Saskatchewan last Friday. Recruits Michael Ritchott and Logan Fischer, along with third-year Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette, combined for 177 yards out of the backfield against the Huskies, with Ritchott leading the group with 70 yards on four attempts and a touchdown. Ritchott was also excellent in the return game, adding 101 yards on kick returns and 10 on punts.

Manitoba was paid off for their Week 1 performance with both the Canada West Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, with fourth-year wideout Macho Bockru (99 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns) and fifth-year defensive end Derek Dufault (three tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble) honoured, respectively.

Head coach Brian Dobie has been quick to compliment his team for their work to improve over the summer.

“I think it goes back to the players’ credit,” said Dobie. “I formed a leadership group through the spring and the summer and they took the bull by the horns. They created their culture, they created their dynamics, they created their mode of operation and they’ve taken no prisoners.”

After this week, the Bisons are on the road for another week, playing the Alberta Golden Bears on September 13 (8 p.m. CDT). They’re back home for the annual Homecoming Game on Saturday, September 21 at 2 p.m. as they take on the UBC Thunderbirds.

MATCHUP HEADLINES

  • Ranked as the nation’s No. 6 team this week, the Bisons achieve their highest U SPORTS Top 10 ranking since Aug. 30 of 2016, when they opened the season at No. 5.
  • Calgary has dominated this matchup in recent history, with an 8-2 record over the last ten games. The last Bisons win over the Dinos was in 2014, when the Herd won 37-15 to notch their 11th Hardy Cup in program history. Right now the streak sits at seven losses, counting both regular season and playoffs.

The Dinos and Bisons meet one more time this season at IG Field on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m.