|Photo by Michael Ball|
Three second-quarter touchdowns by Manitoba (3-2) proved to be the difference.
The two teams were tied 3-3 after the first quarter, but Manitoba outscored the Rams by a 21-7 margin in the second to take a 24-10 lead at the break. The Bisons’ lead reached as much as 24 during the second half, and though the Rams cut that lead down to 15 late in the third they were never able to break through to make it a one-possession game.
The loss by the Rams (0-5) overshadowed a career night for third-year receiver Davin Johnston, who came into the game with two career receptions but got the start with Mitch Thompson injured and exploded for 13 catches for 203 receiving yards to lead all players in both categories.
Johnston’s 13 catches stand as the second-highest total in U of R history, tied with current offensive coordinator Mark McConkey’s mark of 13 set against Saskatchewan on Sept. 18, 2010 but short of the Canada West record of 15 shared by Chad Goldie (Regina) and Jake Harty (Calgary).
Noah Picton completed 35 of his 49 pass attempts for 456 yards and threw a touchdown pass to rookie Ryan Schienbein in the third quarter. Atlee Simon had 79 rushing yards on 16 carries, including a 30-yard touchdown run in the second for his team’s first major of the game. Mitchell Picton and Richard Sindani each had six catches, with Picton finishing with 70 receiving yards and Sindani ending up with 59.
Ryan Serbu led the Rams in tackles (5 solo, 1 assisted) while rookie defensive back Polis Koko recovered a fumble on the last play of the third quarter to give the Rams some life heading into the fourth.
The entire conference will now break for a bye week before returning to action in two weekends. It’ll be these two same teams meeting again in Regina, with the Rams and Bisons set to kick off at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 17 with a 4 p.m. start time.
(Courtesy Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics)