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.
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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