The first Shrum Bowl in 12 years had one of the best finishes in the history of the event.
UBC Thunderbirds quarterback Derek Engel spearheaded a 12-play, 65-yard drive in 71 seconds and bashed his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds remaining to secure his squad an 18-17 win over the SFU Red Leafs Friday before a sellout crowd of 2,922 at SFU.
The football rivals first contested the Shrum Bowl in 1967, but the series has taken multiple breaks over the years, with scheduling snafus usually cited as why. SFU now holds a 17-16-1 edge in the crosstown showdown.
SFU and UBC announced over the summer a two-year agreement to resurrect the game and the B.C. Lions were named as a sponsor. Since the game was played at SFU it was under American football rules.
SFU took a 17-12 lead Friday with 1:36 to go on two-yard touchdown run by Mason Glover and the extra point kick from Kristie Elliott that followed it.
Engel took over from there. The second-year pivot from Grapevine, Texas, became UBC’s starter five games ago when fellow Texas product Garrett Rooker was injured.
The key plays of the final UBC drive Friday included Engel calling his own number on a 12-yard run and later hitting receiver Lliam Wishart over the middle on a fourth-and-10 for a 14-yard gain that took the ball to the SFU one-yard line. Engel found the end zone on the next play and UBC would then fail on a Dane Kapler rush on a two-point convert bid.
SFU got the ball to their own 36-yard line on the final series but stalled at that point. The game ended when UBC linebacker Ryan Baker sacked SFU pivot Justin Seiber. It was the T-Birds’ 11th sack of the game and the third for Baker.
“It came all the way down to fourth down and they just made a big play,” said SFU coach Mike Rigell told reporters afterwards, pointing to to the Wishart reception. “At the end of the day, it’s a game about making plays, and they earned the win.”
Rigell also admitted: “They physically dominated us up front. They were bigger, stronger and physically dominant in the trenches. If you can’t win up front, you can’t sustain drives. We tried different things but we didn’t have an answer for them up front.”
This latest Shrum Bowl hiatus coincided with SFU joining the NCAA Div. II in 2010. They had been a UBC conference rival in U Sports’ Canada West for eight years prior to that.
SFU has struggled against the American competition. They went 1-8 this season prior to the UBC matchup, and they’re 4-33 in the regular season over the past four years. They’re bound to cite this close call against UBC in their player recruiting for this coming off-season.
The Red Leafs had been sitting idle since beating West Texas A&M at home 46-14 on Nov. 12. UBC (7-5) hadn’t played since that day as well. They lost 23-8 to the Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon in the Canada West Hardy Cup final then.
Engel was 20-of-36 for 211 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Kapler carried 15 times for 85 with one touchdown.
Seiber was 18-of-25 for 261 yards with one touchdown.
It was the second one-point game in the past 10 Shrum Bowls, following the 2008 contest that SFU won 20-19. Three of the past six games were decided by 29 or more points and five of the past 10 were decided by at least 18 points.
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