Thunderbirds need a win this weekend to keep playoff hopes alive

Marcus Davis

Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds (1-4) return to action after a conference bye last weekend. Playoffs are still a possibility for the ‘Birds but a win this weekend against Regina (1-4) is a must. Kickoff is set for 2:00 pm at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium. The game will also be shown live on Shaw TV.

With three weeks remaining in the Canada West regular season, the UBC Thunderbirds need wins and they need them now. Starting with Regina this weekend, the Thunderbirds will also face Calgary and Saskatchewan down the stretch. With Manitoba currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the conference with a 2-3 record and UBC and Regina both a game back at 1-4, this could be the first post season since 2010 where a team with just three wins makes the playoffs.

Saturday will mark the second meeting of the season between the Thunderbirds and Rams. Regina defeated UBC 33-23 back on the opening weekend of the season. Quarterback Cayman Shutter threw for 430 yards and two touchdowns, while Addison Richards racked up 133 yards receiving and caught two touchdown passes in the victory. 

UBC is coming off a disappointing 31-25 loss to Saskatchewan two weeks ago. The Thunderbirds had their chance to come away with a victory, but sloppy mistakes, mental miscues, and untimely penalties cost them.The highlight was once again the play of rookie returner/receiver Marcus Davis. He finished the night with over 300 all-purpose yards, including a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The first-year player from Victoria leads the Canada West in all-purpose yards with 924 on the season (102 rushing yards, 124 receiving yards, 367 kickoff return yards, and 331 punt returns yard). He also has four touchdowns on the year.

Offensively the Thunderbirds have been inconsistent this season, however, the breakout performance of Brandon Deschamps two weeks ago against Saskatchewan has to be a major positive. The fourth-year back ran for over 100 yards for the first time this season, finishing with 129 yards on the ground.

Meanwhile, the defence continues to improve. They lead the league in forced turnovers (14) and Chris Adams has led the charge, leading the team in tackles (26.5) and interceptions (2).

After defeating the Thunderbirds in the first week of the season, the Rams have lost four straight games, including a 59-7 loss at the hands of the Calgary Dinos in their last game two weeks ago. The Rams are expected to welcome Shutter back to the starting line up after missing the previous two games due to injury. He no doubt will be looking to the Canada West’s leading receiver Addison Richards. He leads the league in receptions, yards and yards per game.

Other games this week across the conference will see Manitoba play host to Saskatchewan Friday night, while Calgary heads to Edmonton to take on the University of Alberta on Saturday.

The game will be broadcast live by Shaw TV. Kickoff is 2:00 pm Saturday, October 18th at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium.