Saturday, September 28, 2019

Rams Look To Start Second Half of Season With A "W"

KICKOFF: Saturday, Sept. 28 (2:00 PM)
SITE: Investors Group Field (Winnipeg, Man.)
CAPACITY: 33,500
RANKINGS: Regina NR, Manitoba NR
TELEVISION: SaskTel maxTV 48/348 (Mike Still, Kito Poblah)
REGINA RADIO: 620 CKRM (Mark Harrison, Matt Rollason)

• Now at the halfway point of the Canada West schedule, these two teams are separated by just one win in the conference standings and will face each other twice over the next four games.

• Though they've now lost three straight after a 20-7 setback to Calgary last Friday, a Rams win would move them up into a tie for a playoff spot. They'd be deadlocked at 2-3 with Manitoba, and possibly with Saskatchewan as well if the Huskies lose at home to conference-leading Calgary on Friday night.

• The Rams made a change at quarterback last week after starter Josh Donnelly was banged up in the Week 3 game against Saskatchewan. Seb Britton started at pivot against the Dinos with Donnelly serving as his backup.

MOORE BACK: It's been a long road back for DL Matt Moore, who missed half of 2016, almost all of 2017, and all of 2018 due to injury. But he's back to full strength and has re-emerged as a key part of the rotation for the Rams on the defensive line. Through the first four games of the season, Moore has four tackles (2 solo and 4 assisted), two tackles for loss including 1½ sacks, and a fumble recovery.

VARGA STEPPING UP: LB Ryder Varga had seven tackles including a sack last week at Calgary. Despite only being in his second season of eligibility, Varga is now second on the team in tackles (20½), is the U of R's outright leader with five tackles for loss, and is tied with Eric Wicijowski for the team lead with two sacks.

TURNOVER TRACKER: DB Jaxon Ford collected the defence's seventh turnover of the season after picking off an Adam Sinagra pass in the third quarter of last week's game at Calgary. The U of R defence has collected three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and two turnovers on downs through four games this season.

300 CLUB: Only three Canada West players have put up in excess of 300 receiving yards this season, and two of them are Rams. SB Bennett Stusek has caught a team-leading 21 passes and is second in the conference with 313 receiving yards, while Riley Boersma has 13 catches for 306 yards so far this year. Boersma's 23.5 yards per catch is the highest average in school single-season history, topping the previous mark of 22.5 yards per reception set by Jason Clermont back during the 2000 campaign.

DONNELLY NOTES: QB Josh Donnelly had thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the team's first three games of the season, but backed up Seb Britton in the Dinos game after getting banged up the previous week against the Huskies. Still in his first season of eligibility after redshirting last year, Donnelly ranks third in Canada West with 1034 passing yards despite not attempting a single pass in last week's game at Calgary.

RECORD BOOK: SB Ryan Schienbein continues his ascent up the school’s record book in all major career receiving categories. He's in fourth place in receiving yards (2181), tied with Mitchell Picton for fourth in receptions (169), and tied with Mike Thomas for fourth in school history with 17 touchdown catches.

VARAO UPDATE: After rumbling his way to three one-yard touchdowns in the first half of the season opener at UBC, RB Sam Varao is still tied for second in Canada West this year in touchdown runs. He’s also tied for fifth in all of U SPORTS in that category.

ON THE LINE: The Rams went with a different look at three of the offensive line positions against Calgary. Andrew Becker slid over to centre from right guard, Joel Braden got the start at left tackle, and Parker Hodel got his first career start as he suited up at right guard. Liam Jensen (LG) and Theren Churchill (RT) have both started all four games for the Rams this season.

AGAINST MANITOBA: The Rams are 13-19 lifetime against Manitoba in the 32 Canada West games played between the two teams. The Bisons are 12-4 against the Rams in Winnipeg, which includes last year's game which was originally an overtime win for Regina before the result was overturned due to a U of R ineligible player.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R Athletics) 

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