It was a tale of two halves on Wednesday night in Kamloops, as the UBC Thunderbirds mounted a 30-point lead at halftime en route to a slim 33-30 victory over the Alberta Golden Bears in Canada West preseason football.
T-Birds offence electric in first half
Both teams utilized their starters for the opening two quarters, with the T-Birds putting on a dominating display through the air. Third-year UBC pivot Michael O’Connor was near perfect, going 23-of-25 for 280 yards, as well as three touchdowns. His lone mistake was a first quarter interception courtesy of Alberta veteran Tak Landry on a pass that was deflected.
O’Connor did a tremendous job distributing the ball to his offensive arseanl, as six different receivers recorded a grab in the first half, led by Trivel Pinto. The versatile receiver had eight receptions for 116 yards, as well as two touchdown grabs on perfectly executed corner routes. UBC’s boundary receivers — Will Watson and Alex Morrison — were also effective, hauling in a combined 11 catches for over 120 yards and a touchdown.
Kopczynski keeps things interesting
The second half was a different story, as Alberta’s second team offence, led by 2016 starting quarterback Ben Kopczynski, produced 22 unanswered points against UBC’s defensive reserves.
Kopczynski’s first drive under centre began with an impressive 109-yard touchdown pass to receiver Nathan Rowe, who out-muscled his defender down the sideline. Both defences stood firm for the remainder of the third quarter, before Kopczynski went back to work in the fourth, utilizing his athleticism to score a ten yard rushing touchdown.
A late Greg Hutchins field goal would ultimately ice the contest for the Thunderbirds, but not before Kopczynski would deliver one more passing touchdown to keep things interesting in the final minute of play.