In the end, the underdog just wasn’t meant to have its day, as the University of Manitoba Bisons football squad dropped the Canada West championship 43-28 to the dominant Calgary Dinos, thus ending their Vanier Cup dreams.
The game, held at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium, played out as the stats might have predicted: though both teams brandished their offensive weapons, the Bisons struggled to shut down the Dinos’ running and passing game. Calgary’s star running back — and Canada West player of the year — Mercer Timmis alone rushed for three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Bisons did battle without their own best ground weapon, as running back Anthony Coombs left the game limping on Manitoba’s first drive. Kienan LaFrance took over his duties, and made some beauty plays, including scoring the Bisons’ first touchdown with just seconds left in the first quarter on a pass from pivot Jordan Yantz.
But the Bisons just couldn’t hang with the Dinos, who busted through holes and ran circles around the Manitoba defence to score two touchdowns and a field goal to finish off the first half. The Bisons attempted to launch a comeback in the third quarter, as they capitalized on a Calgary fumble and turned the resulting drive into a touchdown throw to Anthony Smith to narrow the score to 26-14.
The Dinos responded almost immediately, as Timmis broke out a huge touchdown run to suck the wind from the Bisons’ sails. Calgary held the lead through to the end of the game.