The loss was a heartbreaking one for the Rams, who were playing their first Canada West game under the guidance of first-year head coach Steve Bryce.
"Overall, I thought we played well for 90% of the game but 10% of bad play will kill you and that's what happened to us tonight," Bryce said. "There were a whole lot of mistakes, a whole lot of penalties, way too many dropped balls, and some blown coverages when it mattered the most. Noah (Picton) was awesome tonight and is delivering the ball exactly where he needs to, and moving forward we'll build on what did work and try to eliminate some of those mistakes."
Picton was brilliant in Friday's game, becoming just the second player in Rams history to throw for at least 400 yards and rush for more than 100. He completed 29 of his 41 pass attempts and set career highs with 471 passing yards, four touchdown passes, and 108 rushing yards.
But it wasn't enough to put one in the win column for the Rams (0-1). After the Rams went ahead 31-28 with 1:36 to go following a four-play, 75-yard drive that featured a 56-yard completion to Mitchell Picton up the left sideline and a completed two-point convert, they had a chance to win the ball game after Saskatchewan (1-0) had a third-and-20 situation from their own 20-yard line. But Saskatchewan quarterback Kyle Siemens found Yol Piok for a 35-yard completion to midfield, and Stenger's 20-yard field goal on the last play of regulation sent the Rams into their first overtime game in nearly 11 years.
The teams traded touchdowns on the first possession of overtime, but the Rams had to settle for a rouge on the second possession after a 37-yard field goal attempt was pulled left. That set the stage for Saskatchewan's game-winning drive, which was aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty that brought the Huskies down to the 12-yard line.
Siemens finished 28-for-42 for Saskatchewan and threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Mitch Hillis, Yol Piok, Colton Klassen, and Chad Braun each had at least five receptions for the Huskies, with Piok catching seven for a team-high 105 yards and Hillis finishing with a team-leading eight catches for 78 yards including a touchdown. Tyler Chow was credited with 23 rushes for a game-high 147 yards.
Rams second-year slotback Ryan Schienbein was the game's top receiver, finishing with career highs of eight catches and 151 receiving yards as well as catching the second and third touchdowns of his career. Khalid Kornegay had four catches for 132 yards in his Rams debut, including an 85-yard touchdown on the team's first drive of the second half. Riley Wilson (eight catches for 79 yards) and Mitchell Picton (six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown) also had big games for Regina.
For the Rams defensively, Braedy Will had six solo and two assisted tackles in his first game as a Ram. Danny Nesbitt had five solo tackles, four assisted tackles, and forced a fumble, while Cord Delinte had the team's lone sack of the contest.
The Rams will now prepare for their home opener, set for next Thursday against Manitoba (0-1) at Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Leason is the only other Rams quarterback to throw for over 400 yards and run for at least 100, collecting 416 and 121 in the team's Hardy Cup win over Manitoba in 2000 … Picton's 471 passing yards is the third-highest total in a CIS game in Rams history, trailing only Teale Orban (548 at UBC, 9/29/2006) and Cayman Shutter (484 at Alberta, 9/14/2013) ... Picton joins Leason, Orban, Shutter, Mark Anderson, and Zach Oleynik as Rams quarterbacks to throw at least four touchdown passes in one CIS game ... Schienbein had a game-high 205 all-purpose yards, adding 47 kick return yards and seven punt return yards to his 151 receiving yards ... the Rams lost running back Atlee Simon to a lower-body injury in the second quarter … the team also lost defensive lineman Eric Wicijowski, who was injured in the second half and did not return ... the Rams now hold a 1-2 record in three overtime games at the CIS level.