SASKATOON, Sask. – The UBC Thunderbirds (4-2) held off a furious, fourth quarter comeback attempt from the Saskatchewan Huskies (2-4) to take a 29-24 victory at Griffith Stadium in Saskatoon on Saturday night.
UBC quarterback Michael O’Connor completed 37 passes, breaking Billy Greene’s previous mark of 36 from 2010, but also threw three interceptions to go along with his three touchdowns, 466 yards and one more rushing touchdown. UBC wide receiver Alex Morrison caught two long touchdown passes and also had an interception, while Trivel Pinto had 13 receptions for 156 yards on the evening.
Saskatchewan quarterback Kyle Siemens was 26-47, for 310 yards with three scores of his own. Siemens did much of his damage in the game’s fourth quarter, erasing a 29-9 UBC deficit, only to fall short on the game’s final play when his hail mary pass was intercepted by Morrison, who had come onto the field as a defensive back.
Penalties were once again a major concern for the UBC coaching staff, as the ‘Birds were flagged 15 times for 154 yards. Saskatchewan was also in the referee’s cross hairs on the evening, committing 13 infractions for 110 yards.
“We came into a situation where we got the ‘W’ and we’re four and two,” said UBC head coach Blake Nill. “That’s the important thing. Can we play better? Of course. Did we play well at times? Of course.”
“The problem with our team that we have to rectify is our discipline and penalties,” explained Nill. “In my opinion, the only way that you do that is appeal to the common sense of the athlete and we’re doing that. They know when they make mistakes and take foolish penalties. They know that.”