EDMONTON - First-year Golden Bear Jordy Kibamba broke up a pass in the endzone on the final play of regulation, sealing a thrilling 26-21 win for the Alberta Golden Bears over UBC Thunderbirds, Friday night at Foote Field.
The win is the first on the season for Alberta (1-4), and comes in a game that featured fantastic offensive performances, key defensive stops, and a phantom catch late in the fourth quarter. With the victory, Alberta moved past UBC in the standings, as the T-Birds lost their fourth-straight game to fall to 1-4 in conference play.
Jonathan Rosery paced the offence for the Golden Bears, rushing for 161 yards on 23 carries, including his second touchdown of the season early in the fourth quarter. His major score would hold up as the difference, as the Bears stopped UBC's final drive with no time left on the clock.
"I felt there were three skilled guys in Western Canada in last years recruiting class who I thought were absolutely special, and Rosery was one of them." said Golden Bears head coach Chris Morris. "He's a little guy who can make people miss, and has those nifty plays in him. And thats a hard combination to find. A guy who is electric, and who is also a hard-nosed blue collar kid. For an 18-year old to come out and do what he did tonight is special."
Alberta starting quarterback Brad Baker also had his best performance of the season, tossing 250 yards and one touchdown. UBC starter Michael O'Connor threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns himself, but was haunted by 17 incompletions and a handful of dropped passes.
Forcing those incompletions was a rejuvenated Golden Bears defence, who easily put forth their best performance of the season. O'Connor was sacked twice, while the Bears D also forced three fumbles and finished with three pass-breakups, including the Kimbamba stop.
"The defence has played well all year, but we have had them on the field way too much." continued Morris. "Tonight is the first night we actually made some big plays on defence"
UBC opened the game with a TD drive, capped off by a O'Connor pass to Trey Kellogg from five yards out. A 33-yard field goal late in the first quarter gave the Thunderbirds a 10-0 lead.
The Bears slowly started to chip into their opponents lead, as Brent Arthur made three-straight field goals to open the second quarter. Baker gave Alberta their first lead with a 38-yard TD bomb to Daniel Bubelenyi, as Alberta took a 16-10 lead into the half.
A 45-yard catch and run touchdown from O'Connor to Ben Cummings restored the UBC lead at 17-16, on an impressive drive to start the third quarter. Another Arthur field goal restored Alberta's slim lead, before Rosery's TD plunge gave the Bears a 26-17 fourth-quarter edge.
UBC was able to manage two drives late in the fourth quarter, in their comeback bid. UBC's first late-game drive led to a 30-yard Greg Hutchins field goal. The second drive was aided by a O'Connor incompletion, that was discussed by officials before being called a catch deep inside Alberta territory. The catch gave UBC three late shots at the endzone to take the lead, all of which fell incomplete.
"They played their hearts out tonight. At the end of the game their was some things that happened that were a little funky. I'm really happy we pulled that win out." finished Morris. "Now we get the bye week, which gives us a chance to go over the details. And if we keep getting better a little every game, we will be fine."
The two teams will now enjoy the conference's annual Thanksgiving week break, before returning to Canada West action on October 12th.