KICKOFF: Friday, Oct. 12 (7:00 PM)
SITE: Mosaic Stadium (Regina, Sask.)
RANKINGS: Alberta NR, Regina NR
TELEVISION: Canada West Football Showcase on SaskTel maxTV 48/348 & TELUS Optik TV (Dustin Nielson/PxP, Justin Dunk/CC, Darren Dupont/host)
REGINA RADIO: 620 CKRM (Michael Ball/PxP, Addison Richards/CC)
LIVE VIDEO: www.canadawest.tv ($)
• Canada West announced Friday that the Rams would have to forfeit their three wins because of an administration oversight that resulted in the team dressing an ineligible player for the first five conference games.
• The Rams are down, but they’re not out. They need to win their last three games of the year and get a bit of help along the way, but could still qualify for the Canada West playoffs.
• If the Rams defeat Alberta, they’ll stay in the playoff hunt regardless of the results of this week’s Manitoba/Calgary or Saskatchewan/UBC games.
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: The Calgary/Manitoba game is fairly inconsequential as far as the Rams are concerned, as the Dinos have first place all wrapped up and any playoff scenario that includes the Rams would also include the Bisons. The same can’t be said for the UBC/Saskatchewan game, as the Rams will need the loser of that contest to also lose their Week 7 and Week 8 games. UBC has Alberta at home and Manitoba away in the last two weeks of the conference schedule, while Saskatchewan has Manitoba at home and the Rams in Regina. The Rams will also require some assistance from teams playing Alberta, but that will become more clear after Friday’s game in Vancouver.
PICTON BECOMES ALL-TIME PASSING YARDS KING: Somewhat lost in the hullabaloo of the last week were the accomplishments of QB Noah Picton, who surpassed Jérémi Roch as the all-time passing yards leader in U SPORTS history during the Manitoba game. Picton broke the record in dramatic fashion, connecting with RB Kyle Borsa for a 35-yard touchdown in overtime to put him over Roch’s mark. Picton, who now has 11,494 passing yards in his career, could also become the national all-time leader in completions. Roch holds the record with 866, while Picton currently sits with 835.
INJURY REPORT: RB Atlee Simon has been out for the last three games and DL Ryan Warner has missed the last two, but both fifth-year veterans have practiced all week and are considered probable for Friday’s game.
BORSA STEPS UP: With Simon out, Borsa had three stellar outings for the Rams. He rushed 19 times for 119 yards and a touchdown against UBC, 17 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns at Saskatchewan, and 16 times for 129 yards and a touchdown at Manitoba. Borsa is Canada West’s leader in rushing yards (466), rushing touchdowns (5), and all-purpose yards (898). Offensive coordinator Mark McConkey said Thursday that his plan is to utilize both Borsa and Simon out of the backfield in the Alberta game.
SCHIENBEIN MOVING UP: SB Ryan Schienbein is having another solid season for the Rams. He’s second in the conference with 37 receptions, third in Canada West with 476 receiving yards, and tied for second in the league with five touchdown catches. He’s also seventh in U of R history in career receptions (134), eighth in career receiving yards (1780), and tied for fifth in touchdown catches (16).
FORCING THE ISSUE: Only three players in all of Canada West have multiple forced fumbles this season, and two of those three players are Rams. LB Cole Benkic had both of his forced fumbles just last game, as he joins Craig Zimmer, Aadon Fieger, and Connor Ketchen as the only U of R players ever to have two forced fumbles in a single game. DL Blake Turner is the other player to have forced a pair of fumbles this year, getting credit for one against Calgary in the season opener and again last game at Manitoba.
DEFENSIVE NOTES: As a team, the Rams lead Canada West with 11 sacks and rank second in the conference in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (133.4). They’re also tied for second in fewest total yards allowed per game - both the U of R and Manitoba come into Week 6 averaging 465.4 yards against per contest.
RAMS IN THE PROS: The Rams currently have six players on active professional rosters, including two in the NFL – Akiem Hicks (Chicago) and Brett Jones (Minnesota). Four U of R alumni are in the CFL, including Tevaughn Campbell (Montreal), Jorgen Hus (Saskatchewan), Brendon LaBatte (Saskatchewan), and Richard Sindani (Calgary). Receivers Andrew Bennett (Montreal) and Mitchell Picton (Saskatchewan) are both currently on practice rosters.
(Braden Konschuh/UofR Athletics)