It wasn’t everything I was hoping it would be but there was more suspense and excitement than the typical exhibition game. I mean how many exhibition games come down to a last play field goal to tie them. There was no OT period. This game was long enough with a pre-game storm delay and a 45-minute “halftime” necessitated by lightning.
The fact the teams were so well matched and the game was so close only makes the August 2016 re-match in Guelph look more appealing.
This 27-yard touchdown strike from freshman QB Theo Landers to SB Colin Booth was just one of the big plays:
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This game story from GOBISONS.CA, the Official Website of the University of Manitoba Bisons: Bison Football ends pre-season game in 33-33 tie against Guelph
WINNIPEG – If this is the way the 2015 Canada West football season starts than this should be quite the ride for the Manitoba Bisons.
The Bisons, 2014 Canada West champion, hosted the first-ever pre-season game at Investors Group Field against Guelph Gryphons, 2014 OUA finalist, and the result ended in a 33-33 tie after a long day of waiting for weather delays as it took over five hours to complete from the scheduled 1 p.m. CT start time.
The game was delayed for over an hour and 15 minutes as a wicked weather system blew through the city of Winnipeg but the Bisons did not let the interruption stop them from putting the first points of the 2015 campaign on the scoreboard with a 39 yard field goal by second year kicker Ryan Jones in the first. The home side continued to extend the lead in the second quarter as starting Bison quarterback Theo Deezar found fourth year slotback Alex Vitt for a three yard TD throw and then added another Jones field goal from 41 yards plus a safety for a 15-0 lead before halftime came at 1:19 left in the first half with another weather delay ahead.
After a lengthy halftime of about 45 minutes due to the conditions, both teams finished the second quarter and continued right into the second half to try and finish the game before more bad weather was due in the region for the evening. Almost 450 hearty souls continued to cheer on the home team as they pushed the lead to 18-0 on the third field goal (22 yards) by Jones before Guelph scored.
By the second half, the majority of the starters on both team had departed and the game become real interesting as the visitors mounted a spirited comeback in a hard fought contest, despite in only being pre-season. After a 15 year field goal by Guelph’s Gabriel Ferraro, James Roberts found A’dre Fraser for a seven yard pass and it was now Manitoba 18-11 only five minutes into the third quarter.
The Herd responded with a safety and then backup QB Billy Hart found Stephen Ugbah on a three yard pass to push the lead back to a 16 point margin (27-11).
The Gryphons found a spark at the start of the fourth as Job Reinhart returned a pick six for 53 yard TD and then Theo Landers found Colin Booth for 34 yard TD strike and after a missed two point attempt were only down 27-25. Jones booted another FG from 31 yards and then Guelph’s Elijah Walker grabbed an 45 yard interception return for the Gryphons’ first lead at 32-30 with only 3:29 left in the game.
Guelph had a chance to salt away the contest as they marched down the field deep in the Bisons territory but a potential touchdown was wiped out by a penalty and then a missed field goal brought the score to only a three point advantage with 1:30 left.
The pre-season game, after five hours, ended on the last play as Jones kicked his fifth field goal of the game from 22 yards out and the game was called due to more impending weather and both teams walked away with a tie and a start of intense rivalry.
For Guelph, Roberts finished 14-27 for 147 yards and Brandon Gordon rushed for 40 yards on five carries plus Fraser had six grabs for 79 yards. Luke Korol had nine total tackles.
Deezar led the Bisons as he went 14-25 for 179 yards and rookie Jamel Lyles had 12 carries for 96 yards while Vitt finished with six catches for 102 yards. Evan Foster led the defence with five tackles.
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Full Game Stats Package from GOBISONS.CA:
My Quick Gryphon Stats Summary
Leading Gryphon Tacklers – Solo – Assists – Total
Luke Korol 6 6 12
Job Reinhart 3 4 7
Reza Shayani 1 5 6
John Rush – 6 6
Patrick McGrath 3 2 5
Tristan Doughlin 2 3 5
D. Drouillard 1 3 4
Nick Parisotto 1 3 4
Leading Gryphon Recievers
Leading Gryphon Rushers