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Saturday, September 17, 2016

CIS PREVIEW: RAMS AT THUNDERBIRDS

REGINA RAMS (1-1) AT UBC THUNDERBIRDS (1-1)

KICKOFF: Saturday, Sept. 17, 6:00 pm Sask Time
SITE: Thunderbird Stadium
CAPACITY: 3,500
RANKINGS: Regina NR, UBC #6
REGINA RADIO: 620 CKRM
(Mitchell Blair/PxP, Braden Konschuh/CC)
LIVE VIDEO: www.canadawest.tv

• This game is part of a pivotal Week 3 in the Canada West schedule with the two 2-0 teams, the two 1-1 teams, and the two 0-2 teams all squaring off against each other.
• The first two Rams games of the season have been decided by almost identical scores. Regina suffered a 41-39 overtime road loss to Saskatchewan in Week 1 before rebounding for a 41-38 win over Manitoba last week.
• Rams QB Noah Picton has been named both the Canada West and the CIS Offensive Player of the Week following both of the team’s games this season.

PICTON NAMED CIS PLAYER OF THE WEEK (AGAIN): Two games, two CIS Offensive Player of the Week awards for QB Noah Picton. As good as his numbers were in the Week 1 game at Saskatchewan, they were even better in last week’s win over Manitoba. He set school records in completions (40) and attempts (60), set a new career high in passing yards (499), and matched his career high with four touchdown passes. If that wasn’t enough, he also rushed for 21 yards including a one-yard touchdown plunge as part of the team’s late comeback.

FOUR IN TRIPLE DIGITS: Off all the gaudy offensive statistics the Rams have put up through the quarter mark of the Canada West schedule, this one might be the most impressive. Entering the week, 14 players in the entire nation are averaging triple digits in receiving yards – and four of those 14 are Rams. Leading the way are Khalid Kornegay and Ryan Schienbein, both with 226 receiving yards, with Riley Wilson (206) and Mitchell Picton (203) not far behind. No other CIS team has more than two players averaging over 100 receiving yards per game.

HUGGINS TO MAKE DEBUT: DL Kerrick Huggins, who signed with the University of Oklahoma as a four-star prospect out of Skyline HS in Dallas, returns to football after two seasons off. He last played for Trinity Valley CC (Athens, Texas) in 2013, ending up with 26 tackles including six tackles for loss and three sacks for the Cardinals. He’s expected to suit up for the Rams for the first time on Saturday, playing defensive tackle and wearing No. 93.

END OF A STREAK: The Rams will see Matt Degelman’s streak of consecutive games started at right tackle come to an end on Saturday. He had started a total of 26 games in a row dating back to the second week of his rookie season, but was injured against Manitoba. Andre Smith filled in for Degelman and performed admirably, and is expected to get his first career start against UBC.

NEW GUYS, BOTH LINES: Last game saw a new face in the starting lineup for both the offensive and defensive lines due to injuries. On the offensive side of the ball, Thomas Stanton – a transfer from Riverside City College – got the start in place of Lyndon Smith at left tackle. And second-year defensive lineman Matt Moore got his first career start due to Eric Wicijowski’s season-ending injury in Week 1. Both Stanton and Moore are expected to again start for the Rams at UBC.

END OF A STREAK, VER. 2: Entering last Thursday’s win, the Rams had gone 11 consecutive games without an interception. That all ended late in the third quarter when DB Braedy Will picked off an errant Theo Deezar pass in the end zone, and LB Joey Dwyer added another one for good measure on a heave to the end zone on the final play of the game to seal the win for the Rams. The two interceptions were the first picks for the Rams since Dwyer and Patrick MacDonald both intercepted Deezar in a 56-41 win over Manitoba on Oct. 25, 2014.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Rams hold a 13-11 all-time advantage over UBC in the 24 Canada West games between the two teams, though UBC has won four of the past five meetings. The Rams are technically 5-8 on the road against UBC, though one of the wins was originally a Thunderbirds victory in 2011 before being overturned due to their use of an ineligible player.

(Courtesy Braden Konschuh)

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