August 27, 2016 (ISN) – It will be a game to remember for both football fans and players as history was made in the first ever CIS football game played on Vancouver Island came to Westhills Stadium in Langford Friday night where the Manitoba Bison would shut down the defending Vanier Cup champion UBC T-Birds 50-7 in their first game of 2016-17 preseason.
The last time these two teams met, UBC had their way with the Bison’s in a 52-10 drubbing that saw Manitoba’s aspirations of Vanier Cup playoffs end, and the T-Birds eventually completing the dream season with a last second championship win on the boot of Quinn Van Gylswyk with a winning field goal.
This preseason matchup would take place on the same home field as the now Saskatchewan kicker Van Gylswyk honed his craft as a British Columbia Football Conference Westshore Rebel.
In bringing his team, comprised in part of a small contingent of island players, to the Victoria, Coach Blake Nill would comment, “ It means a lot from player perspective to get the chance to play in front of family and friends for the small group of players we have from Vancouver Island. The growth of Island football is great for UBC football as a lot of good players come from there and I’d like to see the day where I’m recruiting four to five Vancouver Island student-athletes a year.”
Defensively, keeping the potent T-Bird offense off the field would be a key factor in securing the victory. Despite a 2 pm arrival at Victoria International airport, the Bison looked fresh on the field as Manitoba’s defense would play havoc with a UBC offense, rocking the T-Birds for uncharacteristic four sacks, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries in front of a packed stadium of “near-home” supporters.
The Manitoba tandem of QB Theo Deezar and Des Catellier would prove the sharper side this go around as the Bison’s would outpace the T-Birds QB core in Micheal O’Connor and Cole Meyer, passing for 389 yards on 25-38 attempts in contrast to the T-Birds meager 187 yards through the air.
Manitoba would command the scoring through 3 quarters of play on touchdown strikes to Jesse Walker, Shai Ross, Cam Fox, and Trysten Dyce. M. Arruda-Welch would run back a pick six thirty four yards to the house with a minute and a half remaining in the second quarter of play to add to the Bison lead.
The T-Birds would finally erase the donut late in the fourth quarter after back up QB Cole Meyer would march his offensive line 75 yards down field, finding receiver Marshall Cook in the end zone for the sole UBC touchdown of the game.
With the lead well in hand, the Bison would add two field goals to round out the 50-7 win. Despite the loss, the T-Birds are sure to be contenders again this year with their depth and championship experience. As the CIS season begins to unfold, these two teams are sure to be two teams to keep a close watch of.
UBC will next take on Alberta September 3rd in a home game in Vancouver, while Manitoba will sit game-idle until September 8th when they will travel to Regina to take on the Rams.