Jerit Lambert's untimely fumble helped Manitoba defeat Saskatchewan 26-16
The wind got the best of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Sept. 17 as the Manitoba Bisons handed them their first loss of the season.
While gusts up to 35 km/h made things difficult for both teams, they eventually cost Saskatchewan its lead after Jerit Lambert couldn’t handle a Manitoba punt and fumbled the ball into his own end zone early in the fourth quarter. Grayson Wells of the Bisons pounced on the loose ball to give Manitoba a 19-16 lead.
The Bisons defence was then able to keep the Dogs off the scoreboard for the rest of the game, sealing a 26-16 Bisons’ victory in what was Manitoba’s second win of the season.
“Manitoba was solid,” said Huskies head coach Brian Towriss. “They did a better job because they play in the wind all the time.”
The Huskies had a 12-0 lead after the first quarter, but were unable to keep the momentum going for all 60 minutes of play.
“We regressed in all aspects of our game — offence, defence, special teams,” said Towriss. “We didn’t play as well as we should have.”
Saskatchewan’s defence started the scoring when defensive lineman David Rybinski recovered a fumble and brought it back 68 yards for the touchdown.
After the following kick-off, the defence held the Bisons offence deep in their own territory and forced Manitoba head coach Brian Dobie to take the safety rather than punt the ball into the heavy wind.
Huskies kicker Denton Kolodzinski added a field goal to end the quarter.
A slow second quarter from the Huskies gave Manitoba some life, however, as the Bisons put up five special teams points to get back into the game.
Manitoba tied the game midway through the third quarter by being the first offence to score a touchdown on Saskatchewan’s defence this season. They managed to move the ball 90 yards downfield and capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Khaleal Williams to Tyson Takasaki.
The Huskies regained the lead with a field goal but were swiftly answered by Wells’s touchdown fumble recovery off Lambert’s botched punt return. Two more field goals and a single-pointer by Nick Boyd put the finishing touches on the Bison’s win.
After the final whistle, Manitoba had topped Saskatchewan in almost every team statistic. Williams, the Bisons’ quarterback, had 280 yards passing and no interceptions. Huskies quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren completed only 9 of 23 pass attempts, was picked off twice and was sacked three times. He was even kept on the sidelines for some of the third quarter in exchange for back-up Trent Peterson. Manitoba also led in turnover ratios, receiving yards, time of possession, first downs and total offence.
The Huskies will be on the road again Sept. 23 to face the undefeated Calgary Dinos.
photo: Curtis Bouvier/The Manitoban