For a second consecutive season, the University of Manitoba Bisons will take on the Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada West semi-final action. This year, however, Manitoba will be on the road. The Bisons haven’t had any luck away from Investors Group Field this season, posting an 0-4 record, and will look to change their fate this weekend.
With the much-anticipated rematch from last year looming, the Manitoban decided to take a look at how the two teams stack up against each other, in a number of categories.
Both teams have firepower, with a slight advantage going to Manitoba. The Bisons ranked in the top 10 in the CIS in both total points (sixth), and total yards (10th), while the Huskies ranked 12th, and 17th in those same categories.
Individually, Manitoba has the edge at the running back position. They boasted the second leading rusher in the Canada West, in Kienan Lafrance (785 yards). His 132 carries also led the conference, while his 98.1 yards per game ranked second overall.
The Bisons also have the advantage in receiving, where Nic Demski was third in the conference in yards (589), yards per game (98.2), and touchdowns (five). This is all the more impressive, considering he only played in six regular season games.
Saskatchewan bests the Bisons statistically at the QB position, where Drew Burko led the conference in passing yards, with 2256. His 21 touchdowns were also tops in the Canada West.
The cross province rivals are almost identical defensively. Saskatchewan was 15th in the CIS, with 28.2 points per game allowed, while Manitoba was right behind them, at 30.9, good for 16th. The Bisons allowed 438.1 yards per game, which is 16th overall, while Saskatchewan was 17th, at 474.1.
Saskatchewan had a huge leg up in interceptions, with 15 overall, good for third in the CIS. Manitoba was 10th in that category, with nine. The Bisons, however, pull away in sacks, with 18 (11th overall). Saskatchewan was tied for the lowest in that area, with eight.
Both teams are close in leading individual stats as well. Mark Ingram of Saskatchewan was second in total tackles, with 42, while DJ Lalama was third, with 40. Ingram led the conference in interceptions, with six, while Jayden McKoy of Manitoba was right behind him, with five.
The major difference in individual stats was in sacks, where Evan Foster of Manitoba led the conference, with five and a half. The closest Huskie was Timi Agbaje, who was seventh, with two and a half.
Home field advantage
The Huskies were 3-1 at home this year, including a 44-24 victory over Manitoba in the regular season opener. The crowd could play a big factor in this game, as the Huskies look to avenge last season’s semi-final loss.
With that being said, Manitoba is coming off of a huge win over the number two nationally ranked Calgary Dinos last week, and that momentum could be enough to propel the team to a second consecutive Hardy Cup berth.