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Canada West: #16 Manitoba Bisons (0-2) at #8 UBC Thunderbirds (2-0) Preview, Players to Watch, Prediction, U Sports Football

The Manitoba Bisons head to Vancouver to take on the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday. The Thunderbirds aim to go 3 and 0 while the Bisons are looking for their first win. Last year the Bisons and the Thunderbirds played twice with each game being won by the home team in a close game.

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#16 Manitoba Bisons (0-2): The Bisons began the season ranked #10 in the country but have had some adversity early. In their first game, they lost 27-30 despite leading at one point by a score of 25-7. Their second loss came to Alberta on the road losing by 21 points in a game Alberta seemed to have full control of before Manitoba’s starting quarterback Jackson Tachinski left the game due to an injury late in the 2nd half.

#8 UBC Thunderbirds (2-0): UBC defeated Regina in their first game 25-10 and in their second game beat Calgary 45-15. UBC was tied for most points scored in the conference over the first 2 games with Alberta and Saskatchewan with 70 points for. UBC is also tied for the least points allowed with Alberta both teams allowing just 25 points over their first 2 games.

Bisons to Watch

QB Jackson Tachinski

Tachinski had a tough game last week before leaving near halftime completing 4 of his 14 passes for 63 yards. He also rushed 5 times for 19 yards. Tachinksi is a shifty player who can escape pressure such as on a play last week in which he rolled out to make a 14-yard pass to Brendt Adams.

RB Vaughan Lloyd

Lloyd rushed 5 times for 53 yards and a touchdown last week. He had a 15-yard run up the middle and a 33-yard outside run into a lot of space for a touchdown.

RB Breydon Stubbs

Stubbs rushed 7 times last week for 32 yards. He broke a tackle on his way to a 13 yard run last week.

WR AK Gassama

Gassama had 3 catches last week for 41 yards and another 17 yards rushing on 2 carries. He made a man miss last week on a sweep.

WR Michael O’Shea Jr.

O’Shea Jr. had his first catch of the season for 8 yards last week. He has been good in the return game and nearly had a 103-yard touchdown last week returning a missed field goal last week but it was negated by an unnecessary roughness penalty.

DT Collin Kornelson

Kornelson pressured the quarterback 6 times in Manitoba’s season opener and on 3 of those an Amundrud threw an interception. Last week he made 6 tackles, 4 of which were run stops.

DL Jordan Friesen

Had 3 quarterback hurries last week and a run stop for a loss. On one of his hurries, the quarterback threw an interception last week.

LB Markos Bockru

Had a key play punching the ball out of Jonathan Rosery’s hands in the red zone causing a turnover last week.

DL Kaleb Mackie-Mcleod

Had 8 solo tackles last week, 3 of which constituted run stops and a QB hurry.

Thunderbirds to Watch

QB Garrett Rooker

Rooker has been the most efficient quarterback in the conference through 2 games completing 44 of his 55 passes (80%) for 656 yards and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception. Last week he completed 25 of his 30 passes for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception.

RB Isaiah Knight

Knight struggled to get the ground game going last week against Calgary rushing 7 times for 12 yards but did have 38 yards receiving and a touchdown on 3 catches. In his first game he rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries and broke a tackle on a pass play and a run play.

WR Sam Davenport

In week 1 Davenport caught a short pass that he took for a 61-yard touchdown. Last week he led the team again in receiving yards catching 5 passes for 91 yards. He has 171 yards on the season so far. The SFU transfer has been highly productive for the T-Birds so far.

WR Shemar McBean

Had 3 catches for 87 yards last week and a touchdown last week. He has 138 yards receiving so far this season.

OL Theo Benedet

Benedet is ranked 3rd on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s 2024 draft prospect ranking. Benedet was a Canada West All-Star last year at tackle.

OL Giovanni Manu

Manu is ranked 8th on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s 2024 draft prospect ranking. Manu was a Conference All-Star last year at guard.

LB Maka Bangura

Last week Bangura had 5 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, and a sack. In week 1 he shared a sack and a runstop, had a solo run stop, and a knockdown, and pressured the quarterback 4 times.

LB Ryan Baker

Last week Baker had 2 solo tackles, an assisted tackle, a fumble recovery, and an interception. In the first game of the season, he made a good solo tackle against the run and shared a run stop.

DT Kyle Samson

In the first game of the season, he had 4 QB hurries, a sack, a run stop, and another shared run stop. Last week he had a solo tackle and an assisted tackle.

CB Jerrell Cummings

Cummings was another SFU transfer to UBC this offseason. In the season opener he had a forced fumble he recovered as well as breaking up 2 passes and did not allow any big plays his way.

Prediction

So far this season we have seen a consistently high level of play from the Thunderbirds. From Manitoba, we saw them play extremely well in the first 3 quarters against Saskatchewan but they have struggled in their last 5 quarters of football.

I predict the Thunderbirds to win 27-20.

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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