UBC's young defence, including (left to right) Emmanuel Traore, Ryan Baker and Eric Dika-Balotoken attempt to close the gap on Saskatchewan running back Adam Machart on Saturday in the Hardy Cup semifinal at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon. (Photo by Josh Schaefer property of Saskatchewan Huskies athletics/GetMyPhoto.ca2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Gutted by playoff loss to Huskies, Birds’ coach Nill won’t skip steps that turns young team’s cache of promise & talent into its fully-realized potential!

The 2021 Canada West football season revealed a level of promise within the ranks of the UBC Thunderbirds that is darn near impossible to ignore.Yet in the immediate aftermath of a season-ending 39-17 loss Saturday afternoon in the Canada West’s Hardy Cup semifinals to the host Saskatchewan Huskies, ‘Birds head coach Blake Nill wasn’t about […]

Back on Oct. 1 at Thunderbird Stadium, running back Adam Machart and the Saskatchewan Huskies topped the UBC Thunderbirds by a decisive 43-15 score. On Saturday, linebacker Ryan Baker (14) and the rest of the UBC defence travel to Saskatoon for another chance at the Huskies in the Hardy Cup semifinals. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC and the Hardy Cup playoffs: Despite its role as big road underdogs vs. No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies, opportunity knocks Saturday for these young, untethered Thunderbirds!

VANCOUVER — With the ink still just five days dry on a what has been for them a revelatory regular season, the UBC Thunderbirds are being talked about in Canada West football circles as a team of tomorrow.Yet for a 3-3 team which was a fourth-quarter away from opening its six-game conference slate at 0-3, […]

Not a whole lot went right for the UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday during a lopsided loss to the host Calgary Dinos, yet rookie running back Dane Kapler announced himself as a force, rushing for 161 yards on just 11 carries. (Photo by David Moll property of Calgary Dinos athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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Playoffs hang in the balance! After horrific start in Calgary dooms ‘Birds in 53-14 loss, UBC needs a home finale win vs. Alberta, and likely a little help!

It didn’t take too long to reason on Saturday that the same youthful UBC Thunderbirds football team which had so convincingly flipped the fortunes of its 2021 Canada West campaign over a rags-to-riches two-week span, was perhaps suffering from a kind of collective swoon, the kind most commonly associated with too rapid a rise in […]

UBC receiver Trey Kellogg, carpeted at the edge of the goal line by Manitoba defensive halfback Jarrett Alcaraz, extends to break the plane and score one of his three touchdowns Saturday at the stadium. (Photo by Bob Frid property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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More drama, more lessons learned, more proof, following 26-24 upset of No. 4 Manitoba, that UBC Thunderbirds football is once again a program on the rise!

VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds looked so good off the opening kick-off Saturday at home to the Manitoba Bisons that it appeared like the young team’s continued resurgence was going to be high-pointed with a blow-out victory.Alas, along the way to what was nonetheless a milestone 26-24 win over the No. 4 nationally-ranked Bisons (3-1), […]

UBC quarterback Garrett Rooker continued to thrive in the pivot, engineering his team's comeback from a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit for a huge overtime win Saturday in Regina. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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A SUNDAY READ: After his young ‘Birds complete miracle rally from 23-0 down in fourth for a 31-30 OT win over Regina, UBC head coach Nill says “Maybe now the dam will break”

He is nearing a quarter of a century as a head coach in the U SPORTS football world, and along that journey, UBC’s Blake Nill has seen his share of comeback victories.Yet ask him to find something comparable to Saturday afternoon’s stunning rally from a 23-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to a 31-30 overtime […]

UBC's Texas Tornado, freshman quarterback Garrett Rooker, gets his first home start under true Friday Night Lights conditions when the Blue and Gold pay host to the Saskatchewan Huskies. (Photo by Don Voklander property of U of Alberta athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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Ahead of Friday’s UBC home opener, Saskatchewan head coach Scott Flory tips his cap to a gutsy debut by ‘Birds rookie QB Garrett Rooker!

VANCOUVER — Last Saturday, there was a moment when UBC rookie Garrett Rooker showed us all both the kind of quarterback he already is and the kind of leader he is surely set to become.Rooker, in what may well be one of the best-ever statistical debuts by a ‘Birds freshman quarterback, went 32-of-45 for 372 […]

UBC rookie quarterback Garrett Rooker is a harbinger for the future of UBC Thunderbirds football. (Photo by Don Voaklander property of U of Alberta athletics 2021. All rights reserved)
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UBC takes one on the chin in season-opening setback in Alberta, yet the freshman QB-to-WR duo of Rooker and Soriano keeps fires of hope burning!

Garrett Rooker and Jason Soriano are going to put up some big numbers over their five seasons together with the UBC Thunderbirds.It’s a fact which was borne out on the turf at the University of Alberta’s Foote Field Turf on Saturday, where the 1-2 freshman punch of the Texas-raised quarterback Rooker and the former Vancouver […]

Prized UBC quarterback recruit Garrett Rooker eyes the scene downfield during throwing drills at UBC's 2021 fall training camp at Thunderbird Stadium. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Postmarked ‘Texas’, Garrett Rooker emerges from ‘Birds deep talent pool to be named starting quarterback ahead of Saturday’s opener at Alberta!

VANCOUVER — Sometimes, stuff happens that makes you want to thank your lucky stars.For UBC Thunderbirds head football coach Blake Nill, one of those days was May 8 of 2020.“Some days are better than others,” wrote Nill that day on his official Twitter account in announcing that quarterback Garrett Rooker, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback out […]

UBC freshman receiver Jason Soriano spent the lost 2020 season honing his skills as a full-time pass-catcher for the Birds. Now, the ex-Vancouver College star is part of three-man receiving core head coach Blake Nill has nicknamed The Smurfs. Soriano digs in on a route during a fall camp session last week. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football 2021: Thunderbirds’ head coach Blake Nill dubs his diminutive, speedy receiver trio of Soriano, Phillips, Williams as ‘The Smurfs’ ahead of Saturday opener at Alberta!

VANCOUVER — As children of the 2000’s, you couldn’t blame a certain trio of UBC Thunderbirds’ receivers for being a little perplexed last week when head coach Blake Nill announced during a team gathering that he had discovered their perfect nickname.“I have these three guys who are all around 5-10 and they have burners,” explained […]

Seeing the forest through the football trees of the UBC offensive line, freshman running back Dane Kapler celebrates a big-picture focus which has brought him to Vancouver to both carry the pigskin and major in forestry. Oh yeah, he's also keeping an eye on dad Gabe's San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC’s Dane Kapler: How the ‘Birds freshman running back and son of San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler found the vision to blaze a football path to Vancouver!

VANCOUVER — Dane Kapler has always been able to see the forest for the trees.In an allegorical sense, there he was Tuesday, the UBC freshman running back and forestry major taking a hand-off at the team’s fall camp and bursting through a seam from behind the Thunderbirds’ thick-stumped offensive line.And, of course, in a twist […]