Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rams Look To Finish First in CanWest

• After clinching a home date in the Canada West semifinals with last week’s win over UBC, the Rams have an even loftier goal in mind this week – a win will secure a first-place finish in the Canada West standings for the first time in program history.

• Rams QB Noah Picton has two U Sports single-season records in his sights. He needs 436 passing yards to surpass the national record of 3162 set last year by Calgary’s Andrew Buckley, and 36 completions to break the new U Sports record of 232 set just last week by Ottawa’s Derek Wendel.

• These two teams met earlier this season, with the Rams recording a wild 41-38 come-from-behind win over Manitoba back in Week 2 at Mosaic Stadium.

LOOKING FOR A FIRST: For the Rams, it’s simple – win on Saturday and finish in first place in the Canada West standings. That would be a first for the program as they’ve finished in second on three occasions (2001, 2007, and 2012) since moving up to U Sports football in 1999, but have never finished the eight-game conference schedule in first. The Rams could also finish first even with a loss to the Bisons, though that would require a UBC win over Calgary in a game that kicks off at Thunderbird Stadium an hour before the Regina/Manitoba game starts.

NOAH’S NUMBERS: The statistics that QB Noah Picton have put up so far through seven games are nothing short of spectacular. We’ll do our best here to break it all down, and have a full records section on Page 3 of this version of Game Notes.
Completions - 197 (U of R record, Canada West record, 35 short of CIS record)
Passing Yards - 2727 (U of R record, 435 short of Canada West and CIS record)
TD Passes - 22 (4 short of U of R and Canada West record)
Completion Rate - 69.4% (U of R record, 2.6% short of Canada West record)

ALSO CHASING HISTORY: Since his mammoth game against Calgary which saw him pile up 13 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, SB Mitchell Picton has had several records in sight. He broke Addison Richards’ school single-seasons receptions record with his 70-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown last week against UBC.
Receptions - 56 (U of R record, 10 short of Canada West record)
Receiving Yards - 815 (108 short of U of R record, 297 short of Canada West record)
TD Catches - 11 (tied for U of R record, 4 short of Canada West record)

NATIONAL LEADERS: One of only a handful of U Sports teams to average over 500 offensive yards per game this season, the Rams have a few players among the national leaders. Noah Picton leads the country in passing yards per game (389.6) and touchdown passes (22), Mitchell Picton is the U Sports leader in touchdown catches (11) and second in receiving yards per game (116.4), and Ryan Schienbein is fourth in the country in touchdown receptions (7) and sixth in receiving yards per game (92.3).

DHEILLY CHASING CONFERENCE SACKS LEAD: Rookie DL Nicholas Dheilly has been held without a sack for two consecutive weeks now, but is still tied for second in Canada West with four on the season. He’s tied with Manitoba’s Evan Foster, while Calgary’s Jack McEwen is the conference leader with 4½. No first-year player has ever led the conference in sacks since Canada West began tracking the statistic in 1978.

CLOSE SHAVES: The Rams set an obscure school record in last week’s win over UBC, which marked the sixth conference game they’ve played in this year that was settled by eight points or fewer. By that definition, the previous school mark was set in 2000 and matched in 2003, as five of the team’s eight Canada West games were one-possession affairs in both of those years. Both of those teams continued that trend in the postseason, including the 2000 squad which won 33-32 and 25-22 over Calgary and Manitoba in the Canada West playoffs and defeated Saint Mary’s 40-36 in the Atlantic Bowl before suffering a 42-39 loss to Ottawa in the Vanier Cup.

IN THE FAMILY: Three players on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams are first cousins – RB Blake Anaka, SB Mitchell Picton, and QB Noah Picton - while K/WR Daniel Scraper and WR Michael Scraper are brothers. LB Danny Nesbitt is the son of defensive line coach Greg Nesbitt.

No comments: