It was only fitting the first dark weekend for Hugh Boyd Football saw the program’s legacy in the spotlight at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.
Former Boyd standout Kory Nagata produced 229 all purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Thunderbirds to a season-opening 30-20 win over the Manitoba Bisons on Saturday night.
The third-year running back hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Michael O’Connor and then sealed the victory with a 10-yard TD run with 1:20 remaining after the Bisons had climbed within a field goal.
Nagata graduated from Boyd and took his career to B.C. Football Conference of the Canadian Junior Football League where he played two seasons with the Okanagan Sun before heading to the Point Grey campus and UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
He averaged just over five yards per carry in 2017 as UBC’s second leading rusher. His 136-yard performance on just 13 carries on Saturday night puts him well on his way to surpassing last year’s totals.
Nagata also added five receptions for 93 more yards.
“We've only played at practice speed until tonight and we needed this," said UBC head coach Blake Nill who didn't have a preseason contest for the first time in his four seasons at the helm of the Thunderbirds. “We're fortunate to come out with the win and now we find a way to win next week. We knew there'd be some rust, and at times we looked very good but at time we made mistakes. Penalties hurt us, hopefully we got that out of our system.”
Nagata and the T-Birds return to action on Friday when they visit the University of Calgary Dinosaurs in a rematch of last year’s thrilling Hardy Cup final that saw the Dinos prevail 44-43.