It wasn't the ending SFU and its fans were hoping for on Friday night (Dec. 2) at the first Shrum Bowl in 12 years.
After a quiet first half that saw SFU take a 3-0 lead into halftime against crosstown rival UBC, the 34th Shrum Bowl became alive in the second half, particularly the fourth quarter.
With 96 seconds left in the game on a frigid evening at SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field, the Red Leafs took the lead when running back Mason Glover reached the endzone with a two-yard run to put SFU up 17-12, capping a 91-yard drive.
But UBC and quarterback Derek Engel had other ideas.
Engel led the Thunderbirds down the field before punching the ball in from the one-yard line with 25 seconds left to give UBC a thrilling 18-17 victory, ending SFU's three-game Shrum Bowl win streak.
The game was played by American rules, meaning there were four downs.
"It came all the way down to fourth down and they just made a big play," Red Leafs head coach Mike Rigell said in a postgame news release.
"At the end of the day, it's a game about making plays, and they earned the win."
SFU and UBC had announced in June the Shrum Bowl would be returning after more than a decade on pause, with the BC Lions being revealed as the presenting sponsor.
"We're proud to host Shrum Bowl in SFU’s new stadium atop Burnaby Mountain, and reignite the rivalry between the only two university football programs in the province," said Theresa Hanson, SFU senior director of athletics and recreation, in a news release during the summer.
"We're looking forward to capping off our seasons with a full house and a great game!"
Before Friday, the two schools had not played each other on the gridiron since SFU was promoted to NCAA Div. II in 2010. The UBC Thunderbirds currently compete in U-SPORTS as a member of Canada West.
Since the inaugural meeting on Oct. 16, 1967, which saw SFU beat UBC 32-13 at Vancouver's Empire Stadium, SFU now holds a series edge of 17-16-1.