Around U Sports: Manitoba Bisons down Regina Rams in double overtime for first win of season

Photo courtesy: Dave Mahussier/Manitoba Bisons

It was a busy weekend of U Sports football as a player on the Manitoba Bisons made history to help the team get its first win of the season, Wilfrid Laurier overcame an early scare, St. FX and UBC kept their perfect records intact, Laval won without their star receiver, Carleton’s defence dominated, and Windsor improved to 5-0 for the first time in almost 50 years.

Around U Sports is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that takes readers across the country to summarize collegiate football action, highlighting standout performances and tracking possible playoff matchups. It will run for the full season through the Vanier Cup in Kingston, Ont. on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Saint Mary’s Huskies, 21 — St. FX X-Men, 51

The Huskies opened the scoring with a touchdown run from A’dre Simmonds but the undefeated X-Men dominated from there on out, scoring 51 unanswered points. Zachary Houde caught five passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, while star running back Malcolm Bussey ripped off 178 yards along the ground. St. FX also got two defensive touchdowns as Brandyn Martin and Thomas Bentley returned interceptions for touchdowns.

Saskatchewan Huskies, 28 — Calgary Dinos, 12

The heavily-favoured Huskies pulled away late after Calgary kicked a field goal to get within two points near the start of the fourth quarter. Anton Amundrud had a miserable day under centre for Saskatchewan as he threw four interceptions, three of which were picked off by Nate Beauchemin. The Dinos managed only 124 yards of offence and Nathan Jule was a big reason why as he made two sacks and four tackles for loss along the line of scrimmage.

Alberta Golden Bears, 37 — UBC Thunderbirds, 54

This battle of undefeated, nationally-ranked opponents lived up to the hype as the teams combined for 91 points and 1,152 yards of offence. Garrett Rooker threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns for UBC, while Isaiah Knight ran for 185 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Peterson, the reigning U Sports offensive player of the week, had another monster performance for the Golden Bears as he ran for 192 yards and a touchdown.

McMaster Marauders, 9 — Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, 36

The Marauders held a two-point lead at halftime before Laurier ripped off 29 unanswered points to improve to 5-0. Taylor Elgersma continued his campaign for the Hec Crighton Trophy with 430 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception as Ethan Jordan, Raidan Thorne, and Jesulayomi Oiutalayo each had 100-plus receiving yards. Ife Onyemenam, a sixth-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft, was a force on defence for the Golden Hawks as he made 5.5 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, one sack, and one forced fumble.

York Lions, 7 — Guelph Gryphons, 88

No, this scoreline is not a typo. Guelph put up 88 points and 728 yards of offence on Saturday as Tristan Aboud completed all 16 of his pass attempts for 384 yards and six touchdowns and Donavin Milloy carried the ball eight times for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Anakin Guthrie also chipped in a score on special teams, returning a punt 74 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Melchis Ilunga scored the lone touchdown for York on a 10-yard run as the Lions have now been outscored 347-39 amid an 0-5 start.

Ottawa Gee-Gees, 17 — Western Mustangs, 50

The Mustangs got back to their dominant ways after three relatively close wins over McMaster, Carleton, and Queen’s. Evan Hillock completed 23-of-27 pass attempts for 318 yards and three touchdowns, while Keon Edwards ran for 126 yards and two scores. Amlicar Polk was the biggest bright spot for Ottawa as he put forth yet another impressive performance along the ground, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Toronto Varsity Blues, 7 — Carleton Ravens, 46

Carleton had one of the most dominant defensive performances in OUA history on Saturday as they limited the Varsity Blues to 20 yards of offence and made 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, five pass knockdowns, and four takeaways. Frederik Hachey caught three touchdown passes for the Ravens, while Tristan Lefebvre threw for 329 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Toronto’s lone score came on a one-yard touchdown run from Adam Williams, which was set-up by an interception by Devon Crenshaw.

Sherbrooke Vert et Or, 13 — Montreal Carabins, 59

Sherbrooke held the lead early in the second quarter before the Carabins completely took over this game en route to a fourth straight win. Jonathan Sénécal continued his bid for the Hec Crighton Trophy as he threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 40 yards and two scores, while Jeremiah Ojo was dominant on defence with four tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble. Marc-Andre Shaw had the play of the game for the Vert et Or as he caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Antony Robichaud.

Bishops’ Gaiters, 18 — Mount Allison Mounties, 10

The defences ruled in Sackville, N.B. as linebacker Ben Michel recorded a 27-yard pick-six for the Mounties and defensive back Yani Gouadfel returned a fumble 43 yards for a Bishop’s touchdown. The Gaiters have won three straight games since their season-opening loss to the undefeated X-Men, while Mount Allison is one of three teams at the bottom of the AUS standings at 1-3. Bishop’s will host St. FX next week for a chance to hand them their first loss of the year.

Laval Rouge et Or, 31 — Concordia Stingers, 14

Arnaud Desjardins completed 86 percent of his passes and threw touchdowns to Isaac Gaillardetz and Enzo Dihoulou to get the Rouge et Or back in the win column. Concordia’s defence proved to be a challenge for Laval’s offensive line as the unit recorded six tackles for loss and four sacks on the day, led by linebacker William Castonguay. Star receiver Kevin Mital didn’t play for the Rouge et Or after battling through an ankle injury against the Montreal Carabins last week.

Regina Rams, 24 — Manitoba Bisons, 27

Jackson Tachinski had a splashy performance in his return from injury, throwing for 323 yards and one touchdown and rushing nine times for 79 yards and two scores. Regina’s defence was fierce, making eight tackles for loss and five sacks, while six-foot-seven, 315-pound offensive lineman Ethan Graham caught a late touchdown pass. Manitoba kicker Maya Turner made history at IG Field as she became the first woman to score points in a U Sports regular season game, making three converts and two field goals, including what proved to be the game-winning points in double overtime.

Queen’s Golden Gaels, 5 — Windsor Lancers, 29

This just in: the Lancers are for real. Windsor is 5-0 for the first time since 1975 and won this contest on the strength of their defence as linebacker Devin Veresuk and defensive lineman Muftah Ageli returned interceptions for touchdowns. Queen’s was without starting quarterback Alex Vreeken and it showed as Russell Weir and Anthony Lio combined for four interceptions. The Lancers’ ground game also slowed down without Joey Zorn as Weabge Mombo and Christopher John combined for 14 carries for 60 yards.

The Waterloo Warriors (OUA), McGill Redbirds (RSEQ), and Acadia Axemen (AUS) were on a bye this past week.

U Sports standings

Canada West (CW)

No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds 4-0
No. 9 Alberta Golden Bears 3-1
No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies 3-1
Manitoba Bisons 1-3

Regina Rams 1-3
Calgary Dinos 0-4

Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

No. 1 Western Mustangs 5-0
No. 6 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 5-0
No. 8 Windsor Lancers 5-0
Guelph Gryphons 3-2

Ottawa Gee-Gees 2-2

Carleton Ravens 2-2
No. 10 Queen’s Golden Gaels 1-3
Waterloo Warriors 1-3
McMaster Marauders 1-4
Toronto Varsity Blues 0-4
York Lions 0-5

Réseau du Sport Etudiant (RSEQ)

No. 2 Montreal Carabins 4-0
No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or 3-1
Concordia Stingers 2-2
McGill Redbirds 1-3
Sherbrooke Vert et Or 0-4

Atlantic University Sport (AUS)

No. 4 St. FX X-Men 4-0
Bishop’s Gaiters 3-1
Acadia Axemen 1-3
Mount Allison Mounties 1-3
Saint Mary’s Huskies 1-3

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.