WINNIPEG — The University of Manitoba Bisons football team saw its season come to an end on a losing note Saturday in the final game of the 2011 Canada West conference season and the last game to be played in the University Stadium.
The Bisons were defeated 31-22 by the University of Regina Rams before a crowd that numbered at least half from Saskatchewan.
Next season, the new stadium being built on the U of M campus is expected to be operational with both the Bisons and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League moving there.
"It feels real bad (to lost the last game in the U of M Stadium)," said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie, whose team who trailed 22-17 at halftime and did not score any third-quarter points on Saturday. The Bisons had the wind in the fourth quarter but recorded only a punt single and received four points from two safeties conceded by Regina.
"We wanted to represent everyone who played (for the Bisons) before and we wanted to do it in the appropriate way and it didn’t happen,"Dobie said. "Bison teams have lost many, many game on this field and this is another loss. But Bison teams have won many, many games on this field but unfortunately today, it was a loss. Game One next year now becomes it (new tradition)."
Manitoba ended the season with a record of 3-5 while Regina, which also ended with a 3-5 record but beat Manitoba in both regular-season meetings, advances to next week’s semifinal against the No. 1-ranked Calgary Dinos. The Saskatchewan Huskies and the UBC Thunderbirds will meet in the other semifinal. Manitoba and the Alberta Golden Bears failed to qualify for the post-season.
The Bisons have not made the playoffs since 2007 when the U of M won the Vanier Cup national championship.
Manitoba Bisons football teams played 44 years at University Stadium, from 1967-2011, with three teams winning the Vanier Cup and six teams winning the conference title.