Bisons stomp Dinos

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

For Khari Joseph, it was all about making a statement.

For Brian Dobie, it was about getting off to a good start.

And for quarterback Ryan Zahara, it was about taking control of the offence and making it his.

When you add it all up, you come up with a start for the Manitoba Bisons football team that not even Dobie dreamed of.

BISONS 51 DINOS 10

"It absolutely feels good, but I did not for a million years have this score in my pool," said Dobie, shortly after the Bisons secured a convincing 51-10 triumph over the Calgary Dinos before a crowd of roughly 1,100 fans at University Stadium to open the eight-game football season. "You know what I'm saying? I did not expect anything like this today."

Zahara, who made the third consecutive start of his college career but only officially became the starting pivot when Shane Munson decided not to return for his final season of eligibility last week, was a stabilizing force at the controls for the Herd.

Zahara was 15 of 26 for 217 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and added an impressive 75-yard touchdown scamper with 8:40 left in the third quarter.

"I took off and was hoping to get a first down but when you see green in front of you, you just keep going," said Zahara. "When you're as old as me, you get pretty tired when you get down to that end zone. I was wheezing pretty hard."

Joseph, who returned to the Bisons secondary after taking last year off, got things going for the Bisons by picking off a pass and running it back 40 yards for a major with 3:34 left in the first quarter.

"We were totally sending a message, we want to prove that we're better than 3-5," said Joseph, referring to the Bisons record last season. "We have a lot of talent here, we believe in each other and we want to prove to the country that we're for real."

Turnovers were a big factor in the contest as the Dinos coughed up four fumbles, threw a pair of interceptions and turned the ball over three times on downs. The Bisons produced 424 yards of total offence, while the defence held the Dinos to 221 yards.

"We gave up one big play that I can remember and it happened when we were up by 40 points," said Dobie, referring to the 47-yard touchdown strike by Dinos backup quarterback Mike McPherson to Scott McKenna with 7:09 left to play in the game. "The biggest area of concern for us, by a mile, was the secondary and I'll tell you what, hopefully it's going to keep getting better because that was a really good start."

Running back Darwin Thompson rushed for 85 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.

Terry Firr led all receivers with four catches for 73 yards, which included a 23-yard reception for a touchdown with 1:56 left in the first half.

Blair Atkinson had the other major for the Bisons on a five-yard touchdown strike from Zahara.

Kicker Peter Scouras had a solid day for the Herd, going four of six on his field goal attempts and adding a pair of singles.

Each team conceded a safety when going against the wind.

The Bisons welcome the Saskatchewan Huskies, who captured the Canada West title and lost in the Vanier Cup last season, to University Stadium next Saturday at 1 p.m.


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