UBC football advances to Canada West final with 28-14 win over Regina

The Thunderbirds advanced to the Canada West Hardy Cup semifinals on Saturday with a win over the Regina Rams on big plays.

The odds were against the Thunderbirds at Mosaic Stadium. In order to qualify for the conference championships, UBC would need to defeat a team they lost to earlier this season on the road in snowy conditions led by backup QB Derek Engel in their first playoff start. Despite the adversity, the Thunderbirds prevailed 28-14.

The start of the semi-final did not bode well for the Thunderbirds. Regina scored a red on the first kickoff, which UBC followed up with two outs. The Rams then threw a successful field goal in their first practice, making it 4-0.

The Thunderbirds were obviously not demoralized as, on their second offensive drive, Engel connected with receiver Shemar McBean for an impressive 46-yard touchdown pass. Later in the first quarter, the T-Birds were able to recover their own punt on the Rams’ 26 after UBC’s Skyler Griffith forced a fumble. Although they did not find the end zone, UBC kicker Owen Brown netted a 26-yard field goal, extending UBC’s lead to 10–4.

Regina closed the gap with another field goal early in the second quarter but then took an intentional safety, making it 12-7.

Weather became a big factor during the second quarter, with heavy snowfall lasting most of the game. Shortly after it started snowing, UBC’s Lliam Wishart fumbled a 34-yard field goal attempt. As the Rams players closed in, Brown quickly picked up the ball and tried to fend it off, but Regina’s Donovin Small blocked the punt and drove it 58 yards to the house, giving Regina a 14-12 lead with less than three minutes left. the half.

After kick six, both offenses effectively stalled. The only points scored in the third quarter came from another willing safety taken by the Rams, tying the score at 14–14.

Errors, apparently weather-related, continued to plague both teams. The ball came loose several times and several Thunderbirds dropped passes that hit their hands. Both quarterbacks have made less than 50% of their shots.

With less than eight minutes on the clock, UBC’s Keijuan Johnson intercepted Rams QB Noah Pelletier’s pass to the Rams’ 50 to return the ball 46 yards before Pelletier could get it out of bounds, setting the T- Birds in the red zone for the first time. time in the game. Given great field position, RB Lucas Mastrodomenico pushed into the end zone, putting UBC ahead at 21-14.

In the final minute of regulation, UBC found themselves in a position to end the game – all they needed was to convert a third-and-one of the Rams’ 27. With the season on the line, Engel handed the ball to RB Dan Kapler. Kapler got the first down and more, breaking through the Regina defense for UBC’s third touchdown of the game, securing a Thunderbirds victory.

With the win, UBC advances to the Hardy Cup final – a remarkable comeback after starting the season 1–3. Next Saturday, they will face the conference-leading Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon in a fight for the Canada West title.

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