For the first time in nearly two decades, the University of British Columbia’s football team is heading to the national championship game.
The UBC Thunderbirds dominated the Atlantic Canada champion St. Francis Xavier X-Men 36-9 in the Uteck Bowl, the national semifinals in Canadian university football, to advance to the Vanier Cup.
After giving up a single point three minutes into the first quarter, UBC was near perfect the rest of the game. Quarterback Michael O’Connor completed 21 of 31 passes for 272 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, while Brandon Deschamps added 128 and a touchdown on the ground.
St. FX scored their only touchdown with 73 seconds left in the game.
The Thunderbirds will now face the Montreal Carabins, who defeated the Ontario champion Guelph Gryphons in the other semifinal, in the Vanier Cup.
UBC has won three Vanier Cups, most recently in 1997. But the program was in jeopardy less than two years ago due to a controversial review of their athletic programs.
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UBC advanced to the Uteck Bowl after defeating the Calgary Dinos in the Canada West championships last weekend.
The Vanier Cup takes place next Saturday in Quebec City, at 1 p.m. eastern time.
(Photo: UBC Thunderbirds celebrate after defeating the St. Francis Xavier X-Men 36-9 to win the Uteck Bowl in Antigonish, N.S., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. UBC will face the Montreal Carabins for the Vanier Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)