The University of Regina Rams never recovered from a second-quarter outburst by UBC, ending up on the losing end of a 44-15 score on Saturday afternoon as both teams closed out the Canada West schedule at Thunderbird Stadium.
The victory gives UBC second place in the Canada West standings, and the right to host the Rams next Saturday, Nov. 4 (3:00 PM PDT) in the conference semifinals.
The Rams led 5-0 after the opening quarter, but UBC turned the tide before halftime – and in a big way. After a Ben Cummings touchdown gave the Thunderbirds the lead, UBC scored two more majors in the span of 31 seconds. UBC took advantage of starting on Regina’s 39-yard line and finished off a short drive with a Michael O’Connor pass to Alex Morrison from 10 yards out. The Rams fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return, and the Thunderbirds were back in the end zone on the very next play when O’Connor hit Trivel Pinto for a 30-yard touchdown.
UBC added two more touchdowns in the final minute of the second quarter, including a 62-yard pass from O’Connor to Morrison and a one-yard plunge by backup pivot Cole Meyer on the final play of the half. All told, UBC scored 35 points in that second quarter and ended any chance of a Rams comeback with another Meyer touchdown midway through the third.
The loss overshadowed a monumental accomplishment by Rams running back Atlee Simon, who became the University of Regina’s all-time leader in rushing yards. Simon finished the game with 115 yards, enough for him to pass Neal Hughes’ career total of 2934 yards which had stood as the school record since Hughes’ last game in a U of R uniform in 2003.
O’Connor completed 14 of his 19 passes for an even 200 yards and three touchdowns, while Cummings rushed for 125 yards. Pinto and Morrison were UBC’s top receivers, with Pinto catching six balls for 67 yards and Morrison ending up with four catches for 90 yards. UBC’s defence registered five sacks in the win, two of which went to Connor Griffiths. Parker Simson also had an interception for the Thunderbirds, while Evan Horton recovered the fumble on the kickoff return that led directly to UBC’s third touchdown of the game.
Noah Picton completed 13 of his 18 passes for 106 yards, but gave way to redshirt freshman Seb Britton for almost the entire second half. Britton was 8-for-15, finishing with 100 yards including a five-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Huber for his first career touchdown and what would be the only major of the game for the U of R. Huber finished as the U of R’s top receiver, registering career highs in both catches (7) and receiving yards (71).
Nicholas Dheilly led the Rams defensively with two sacks, which came on back-to-back UBC possessions in the first quarter. Dheilly, who also had a pass breakup, ties the school single-season sacks record of 6½ set by Akiem Hicks back in 2011.
NOTES: Simon ends the season with 914 rushing yards, the fourth most by a Rams player in the program’s 19 years at the university level ... with one season of eligibility still remaining, Simon has 2943 career rushing yards ... fifth-year slotback Mitchell Picton caught four passes for 23 yards in the final conference game of his career ... Picton finishes as the U of R’s all-time leader in touchdown catches (24), third in school history in career receiving yards (2341), and fourth in career receptions (169).
(U of R Athletics)