The boys of fall fell again
Thunderbirds rushing game proved just too much for Rams defence
Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer
The last day of the 2013 summer proved to be most sad for the University of Regina football team.
Not because they realized hand warmers will likely become an essential part of their uniform, but instead because the Rams once again fell short of a comeback this season. The culprit this time around: tackling.
“We didn’t defend the run and ultimately that’s what did us in,” admitted head coach Frank McCrystal after the 27-37 loss to the now 2-2 UBC Thunderbirds.
The Rams (1-3) now sit one spot above the last place U of A Golden Bears in the Canada West division.
Despite the standing, rookie quarterback Cayman Shutter is convinced otherwise. “We’re a good team,” he said. “I think we have a good chance of saving the season but it’s going to have to be a complete team effort.”
But there was one man who proved to be too much for the home team. Third-year running back No.33 Brandon Deschamps for the Thunderbirds rushed 35 times for a total of 230 yards. The Rams had only five rushing plays for 16 yards.
Rams’ standout and last week’s Canada West Defensive Player of the Week, Michael Stefanovic, led both teams with 13 total tackles. But McCrystal might have understood what type of force Deschamps was a little bit more than his players did.
“We didn’t tackle 33. And 33 is a real big problem,” he said.
The story of the first half was all about exchanging field goals. And although the Rams offense wasn’t able to touch the end zone, their defence did only allow one UBC touchdown either.
Things were looking up when the Rams were able to claim the only points scored in the third quarter.
Within the first seven minutes of the second half Regina took the lead with two Shutter-Buch touchdown connections.
The first came from an 87-yard drive, which was topped off with a 31-yard pass to fourth-year slotback Landon Buch, leaving Regina only trailing by three points.
The next Rams drive was a 27-yard pass to fourth-year slotback Jared Janotta, who led the team with 121 receiving yards. This prompted the second Buch touchdown, this time for 59 yards.
“It played out as you would want it to play out,” stated McCrystal. “But you got to defend the run, that’s it.”
A Deschamps-dominated drive just after two minutes into the last quarter let UBC retrieve the stolen lead with the first of two Deschamps rushes into the end zone in the fourth.
But with just over five minutes left in the game, the Rams were given new light. An 80-yard drive, capped off with Shutter finding Janotta for an easy run into the end zone tied the game 27-27.
But that would be where Regina’s points would retire. A huge punt return by UBC’s Alex Morrison and another Deschamps touchdown would be the final nail in the coffin.
Although the CIS’ leading quarterback – with an average of 416.5 passing yards per game – was able to pull out 459 passing yards for the Rams, UBC managed to still hand Regina their third loss of the season.
“I think everybody’s at that point where they’re asking what else do we need to do,” said Shutter after the game.
While fans may feel that external elements are to blame for the teams less than pleasant record, Shutter feels the team’s struggles are coming internally.
“Our team has always inflicted our own problems. We’ve stopped ourselves, we’ve had bad penalties, we’ve committed mistakes that only just shoot us in the foot. That’s kind of been the story of our team this far,” admitted the last week’s Canada West Offensive Player of the Week.
“We’ve just got to find that little extra spark; it’s going to be something small, a bunch of small things that add up.”
The team travels to Winnipeg on the weekend to take on the Manitoba Bison (2-2) this Saturday.