Third time’s a charm
Rams travel to Calgary for a conference semifinal
The University of Regina Rams’ playoff fate was decided on Friday night when they took on their provincial rivals, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, to finish up each team’s Canada West regular season. The Huskies defeated the Rams by a score of 52-29, which gave Saskatchewan first place in the conference and bumped Regina down to third.
As a result, the Huskies (6-2) will host the fourth place Alberta Golden Bears (3-5) on Saturday in a conference semifinal. The Rams (5-3) have a harder test in their semifinal, as they will be forced to take on the University of Calgary Dinos, a team that has seemed to have the Rams’ number all season.
The first matchup between the Dinos and Rams came in just the second game of the season in September. The Rams were handed their first loss of the season, as the Dinos topped them 24-21. During the game, the Rams were able to hold a two-point lead in what looked to be a low scoring affair at 9-7 through the first half. However, Calgary was able to pull ahead by scoring back-to-back touchdowns in the second half, which left the Rams scrambling for some last minute offence. The Rams were able to inch closer on the scoreboard when running back Adrian Charles took it to the house, but a last-minute interception in the end zone lead to the Dinos walking away with the victory.
The next meeting between the two teams happened on Oct. 22 in Regina, but the Rams were unable to use their home field advantage and once again fell to Calgary, this time by a score of 35-27. The Rams found themselves in quite a hole during this contest as they were down by 21 points going into the half. Although the Rams were able to generate a comeback and register two majors in the fourth, they were still down by eight with three minutes left, and needed a minor miracle to pull this one off. The Rams were able to get back to the doorstep but a pass from Marc Mueller to Connor Haas fell incomplete in the end zone and the Rams were consequently awarded their second loss of the season, both coming courtesy of the Dinos.
There is no question that the Huskies have the easier path to travel on in order to get to the conference final, but the Rams definitely have the skill needed to reach it as well. Although Calgary seems to have a handle on the Rams this season, perhaps the third time will be the charm and the Rams will be able to knock off the team that was projected to be number one coming into the season. If the Rams are able to bypass the Dinos, it should set up an interesting battle between provincial rivals once again, if the Huskies are able to beat the Golden Bears. It would be shocking if the Huskies did not end up in the final, as they dominated the Bears to a 33-9 victory during the regular season.
The Rams and Huskies met last year in the first round of playoffs, when the Rams received a playoff spot after the Manitoba Bisons were forced to forfeit all of their wins, moving the Rams into playoff contention. However, the Huskies quickly ended the Rams’ underdog story as they waltzed to a 53-23 victory. Although it is hard to look past Calgary at the moment, as this will be the biggest test for the Rams and a provincial showdown would be an ideal conference final.