Sunday, September 18, 2016
REGINA RAMS 20 UBC THUNDERBIRDS 10
The Rams defence didn't allow a single offensive touchdown to UBC, as the Thunderbirds' lone major of the game came off a blocked punt.
"Our defence was outstanding tonight and especially when it counted the most," Rams head coach Steve Bryce said following the win. "They bent between the 20-yard lines and gave up some yards and first downs but they were lights out in the red zone. It was a frustrating first half, but we got back into a rhythm after halftime and started to execute and it paid off for us."
UBC made four trips into the red zone but only scored on one of them, a short field goal midway through the second quarter. The U of R forced turnovers on UBC's other three opportunities deep in Rams territory, starting with a Danny Nesbitt fumble recovery on a botched snap on the first drive of the game. Jeff Propp's first career interception put an end to a UBC drive late in the first half, and UBC's fourth and final trip to the red zone was ended after the Rams made a huge goal-line stand with the game tied midway through the third.
And that goal-line stand led to the Rams taking their first lead of the game, as Noah Picton engineered a seven-play, 108-yard drive capped by a five-yard touchdown to Mitchell Picton - his second touchdown reception of the game - to put the U of R up 17-10. The Rams added a field goal to go up 20-10 with a little over four minutes to go, and those turned out to be the final points of the game. Braedy Will's second interception in as many games stopped UBC on their next possession, and the Thunderbirds' final drive of the game was put to an end after Korey Greene tackled Trivel Pinto inches short of the first-down marker on a third-down gamble to seal the win for the Rams.
Noah Picton finished 24-for-33 with 268 passing yards and two touchdowns. The usual suspects were the leading receivers, including Khalid Kornegay with just three catches but for a game-high 109 yards. Riley Wilson added six catches for 69 yards, while Mitchell Picton had seven catches for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Ryan Schienbein finished with five receptions for 26 yards. Atlee Simon missed last week and most of Week 1 due to injury, but returned to the lineup on Saturday and rushed 16 times for a game-high 75 yards.
Greene led the Rams defence in tackles, finishing with seven solo and four assisted. Michael Stefanovic added three solo tackles and six assisted, with his fellow linebackers Nesbitt and Zack McEachern each collecting four solo and four assisted. The picks by Propp and Will gave the Rams two interceptions for the second consecutive week.
UBC quarterback Michael O'Connor finished 32-for-48 and had 337 passing yards, but was intercepted twice and was also charged with a fumble on the game's opening drive. Will Watson (eight catches for 85 yards) and Marcus Davis (six for 82) were the leading receivers for the Thunderbirds, who fall to 1-2 with the loss.
Now tied for second in the Canada West standings, the Rams (2-1) will likely break into the CIS Top Ten ranking next week and now prepare for a home game next Friday night against unbeaten Calgary (3-0).
UBC will look to get back up to the .500 mark next weekend with a road game at winless Alberta (0-3).