SASKATOON – The No. 9 ranked UBC Thunderbirds and their big play offense outlasted the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 41-36 Friday night at Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park.
UBC had scoring plays of 47 and 89 yards in the first half and a number of others in the win, helping them improve their record to 5-2. Saskatchewan is dealt a blow to their playoff hopes with the loss as they drop to 2-5.
The Huskies had help on Friday night from the Manitoba Bisons who knocked off the Alberta Golden Bears 29-7 to keep Saskatchewan tied with Alberta, battling for the final Canada West playoff spot.
UBC returns home for a meeting with the Manitoba Bisons next weekend. The winner of that game will host a Canada West semifinal as the conference’s second seed. Saskatchewan will travel to face Regina next weekend where a win and an Alberta loss would slot the Huskies into the fourth and final playoff spot.
Huskie quarterback Kyle Siemens in his first CIS start posted historic results. Siemens threw for 520 yards, the fourth highest single game total by a Huskie. His 44 completions and 67 attempts both set Huskie single game records.
Thunderbird quarterback Michael O’Connor was also impressive on Friday night going 20-of-31 for 449 yards and three touchdowns.
A close back-and-forth game nearly ended in spectacular fashion. With the Huskies down 14 points with less than four minutes to go, a forced fumble by the Saskatchewan defense gave the Huskies late life. Siemens threw one of three touchdown passes on the night to John Trumpy to cut the deficit in half.
A pair of unnecessary roughness penalties on Siemens’ touchdown pass gave the Huskies the chance for a short kick in T-Bird territory. While the green and white recovered, an illegal touching penalty gave the ball back to UBC who expired the clock.
Mitch Hillis was the game’s leading receiver hauling in 12 passes for 154 yards and a pair of scores. Julan Lynch also reached double digits in receptions with 10 for 111 yards.
Ben Cummings caught three passes for 123 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown. Will Watson surpassed the 100-yard mark with 108 yards on six catches.
Neither running back hit their season averages as both teams relied on the aerial attack. Tyler Chow finished with 52 yards on 10 carries for the Huskies, while Brandon Deschamps carried the ball 14 times for 85 yards.
1st Quarter Summary
Saskatchewan started the game off on the right foot with a touchdown on their first drive. Quarterback Kyle Siemens went 8-for-9 on the drive capping it off with a five-yard pass to Mitch Hillis.
It took UBC just two plays to answer 70 yards and tie the game at seven. Michael O’Connor hit Alex Morrison for the 47-yard catch and run after Morrison beat his defender down the sideline.
After a long Huskie drive stalled, the quick strike T-Birds offense was at it again. O’Connor needed just one play this time, an 89-yard strike to Ben Cummings.
UBC had the ball for five plays gaining 178 yards in just 2:25 time of possession. The Huskies had the ball for 12:35 in the first quarter running 25 plays for 169 yards.
UBC 14 – Saskatchewan 7
2nd Quarter Summary
The Huskies would tie it up early in the second quarter. Tyler Chow plunged in from two yards out for the score after a 49-yard completion from Siemens to Hillis who stumbled at the two while making the grab.
After starting the subsequent drive with good field position, the T-Birds jumped in front again. Trevor Casey kept the ball on a quarterback option for the three-yard score.
Saskatchewan answered with a long 11 play drive cutting into the UBC lead with a Sean Stenger 30-yard field goal.
Back came the T-Birds on the very next drive. After the Huskie defense held for a field goal attempt, an unnecessary roughness penalty on the kick extended the UBC drive. O’Connor made the home team pay with a 15-yard scramble for a touchdown.
A 46-yard pass to John Trumpy sparked the next drive for the Huskies. Siemens would finish it off with his second touchdown pass to Hillis, this time 14 yards.
UBC 28 – Saskatchewan 24
3rd Quarter Summary
Quinn van Gylswyk connected from 47 yards out.
Both teams had missed field goals run out of the end zone in the quarter.
UBC 31 – Saskatchewan 24
4th Quarter Summary
The Huskies got into the end zone on third down on their opening drive of the fourth, but a holding call forced Saskatchewan to settle for a 29-yard Stenger field goal.
UBC came right back down the field and hit a 36-yard field goal to restore the seven point lead.
Trivel Pinto provided the dagger with an 18-yard touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone to increase the lead to 14.
After the Huskies recovered a fumble, Kyle Siemens led Saskatchewan to a score. John Trumpy caught a 12-yard pass to cut the deficit in half.
The T-Birds would give up a safety on the final play of the game as time expired.
UBC 41 – Saskatchewan 36