Rams victory in close battle against Manitoba
author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
U of S, U of M, what’s in a letter / Nathan McCarville
Rams survive another close game against the Bisons
Peeping at the premium feed that Canada West Provided via SaskTel channel 348 for fans and Carillon sports correspondents unable to travel to Winnipeg to watch the Rams play in the Bisons homecoming game, I was able to watch the Rams (figuratively) bring home a victory against the Manitoba Bisons. The game seemed to a case of Déjà Vu, repeating close to the same results seen in the preseason game the Rams played against the Bisons earlier this year on Libel Field.
It was an early 2 p.m. game that the Rams played on the Investors Group field. The Rams were the first to put points on the scoreboard with Kyle Borsa’s 4-yard run 5 minutes into the first quarter, accompanied by Aldo Galvan’s always welcome convert kick. Eight minutes later, Manitoba followed suit when they put four points on the scoreboard with Brad Mikoluff’s field goal. The score remained at 8-4 for the Rams for the duration of the moment-long pause between quarters. Other than a 2-point safety that the Bisons got late in the 2nd quarter, the game didn’t pick up in the slightest until halfway through the 3rd. In the 3rd quarter, Galvan put three more points on the board with a field goal for the Rams, and shortly after in the same quarter, Seb Britton ran the ball 1 yard for a touchdown, putting the Rams up to 18-11 against the Bisons.
The game seemed to be settled as the Rams were in a comfortable position in the game, though that false sense of security could have proved to be the downfall of Regina’s own if they had begun to relent on their momentary Manitoban rivals. The Rams put 7 more points on the scoreboard with Noah Picton’s 46-yard pass to Ryan Shienbein. At this point, the Rams had been in a good position at 17 points ahead. However, what happened next conceptualizes the surprising nature of Canada West football. Shai Ross of the Bisons caught a 6-yard pass from quarterback Des Catellier. To me, it seemed like Ross’ celebratory backflip was a bit much for the occasion after the 7-point gain, seeing as the Bisons were still down 10 points. Though, two and a half minutes later, Brad Mikoluff’s field goal put the Bisons the equivalent of just a touchdown behind the Rams, bringing real excitement to the game rather than the happiness one feels at putting another easy win under the Rams’ belt.
Though the difference between the games could be reflected only by being there, or rather, watching it on MaxTV from a distance. The game was the first of this season where the Rams had to go into overtime. The Bisons tied off the game with 48 seconds left with a long pass to Machu Bockru in the regular play time. The remainder of the regularly scheduled broadcasting had enough time for a close call when Garuda-Welch of the Bisons made a run with the ball intent on making it to the end zone, though luckily Ram Josh White caught Garuda-Welch by the ankle, taking him down at the Regina 45-yard line. And at 35 seconds, Borsa made an attempt when he rushed the ball through the thick of the play running through the Bisons defenses, making it to the Bisons 41-yard line.
The Bisons, winning the coin toss at the start of overtime, kicked the ball to the Rams. In these defining moments of the game, Picton made a long pass to Borsa in the end zone, getting the points that would win the game for the Rams, as well as the final passing yards that would push Picton past the overall passing yards record for all U SPORTS. The passing yards record is currently defined by the Official Rams Social media pages as 11,478+ yards before the official statistics are released, coming out ahead of former record holder Québecois Jérémi Roch from l’Université de Sherbrooke, who held the record with 11,477 passing yards over his USPORTS football career between 2011-2015. After a successful one-point convert by Galvan’s golden foot, the Rams now sat at a score of 32-25.
Though now it was the Bisons turn to face off against the Rams and see if they could get past the Regina defences to get a final touchdown of the game. Unluckily, I could not see it with my own eyes, seeing as the overtime feed turned to a technicolour out-of-service screen. Though the moments before the crash in service, the ball was flying courtesy of Bison quarterback, Des Catellier, going right into the hands of Shai Ross for his second touchdown of the game.
I could only see the replay and the subsequent celebrations, the Bisons had put themselves up to 31 points in the game. Using logical foresight, I saw that the game would be tied up again right after the easy 1-point convert. Foolish in hindsight, though seeming strategically brilliant at the time, the Bisons went for the two-point convert instead of the kick, in an attempt to come out one point ahead of the Rams. Though the ball was miraculously blocked by a well-placed Ram, number 46 Cole Benkic, who rushed quarterback, Des Catellier, and smacked the flying ball out of the air less than a yard into its trajectory.
A win is always a team effort, as every player is bound to say during an interview, though this quick thinking by Benkic substantially improved the chances of the Rams taking the win. Alas, the convert failed, and the Rams won the game. The Rams will be enjoying a week-long break with a much needed bye-week. Their next game will be played on Mosaic field against the Alberta Golden Bears on Oct. 12.