Ben Matchett, Dinos Communications
REGINA, Sask. – The University of Regina Rams came back from a big early deficit but couldn't get over the hump against the No. 2 team in the nation as the University of Calgary Dinos improved to 7-0 with a 42-30 win Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium.
In a game that looked like it was over when the Dinos stormed out to a 24-3 lead after the opening quarter, the eighth-ranked Rams (4-3) chipped away at the lead and came within five points on three occasions. Calgary was able to keep the home side at arm's length and, while the Dinos offence sputtered at times, managed to score when it was most important to do so.
Regina quarterback Noah Picton became the all-time leading passer in Canada West history, surpassing former Ram Teale Orban's career total of 9,449 yards early in the contest. He finished the game with 299 passing yards, bringing his career total to 9,736 with one game left in the 2017 season.
Calgary stormed out of the gates, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first six minutes thanks to a 20-yard Adam Sinagra pass to Hunter Karl, whose toe drag in the end zone gave the Dinos their first major of the day. The momentum swung further to Calgary on the ensuing Regina drive when, on the play immediately following Picton's record-breaking completion, Matthew Lucyshyn picked off the Hec Crighton winner and ran it back 73 yards for the major.
Jeshrun Antwi added a 6-yard touchdown run just over two minutes later to make it 24-0 before the Rams finally got on the board with a Daniel Scraper field goal.
With the wind in the second quarter, the Rams ate into the deficit, taking advantage of their field position. The Rams benefitted from a pair of conceded safeties by the Dinos, and added an eight-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with Mitchell Picton's 7-yard touchdown grab. Calgary led 26-14 at the half.
The Dinos elected to take the wind in the third quarter, but the Rams still managed to claw closer when Thomas Huber caught a five-yard Picton TD toss early in the period. Calgary's only points came courtesy a conceded safety as the Dinos receivers had trouble hanging onto the football and Calgary picked up just three first downs in the quarter.
The Dinos conceded a safety – the sixth of the game given up by the two teams – to start the fourth before the offence finally broke through with a five-play, 63-yard drive capped off by a 21 yard touchdown catch by former Ram Richard Sindani. That made it 35-23 for the Dinos.
Regina made a game of it with another Picton-to-Picton touchdown with just over two minutes to play, then got the ball back with a chance to win, but a Cory Robinson sack snuffed out the Rams' last hope. Antwi's second major of the game iced it on a 21-yard run in the final minute.
Sinagra completed 25 of 42 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns or the Dinos, while Picton went 21-for-43 for 299 yards and three majors in the quarterback battle. The Calgary defence recorded six sacks on the Regina pivot.
Hunter Karl's 119 receiving yards led the way for Calgary, while Mitchell Picton had another monster day with 177 yards and two majors on 10 catches. Atlee Simon carried the ball 27 times for 181 yards in a losing cause for the Rams.
Calgary closes the regular season next weekend by hosting the Alberta Golden Bears, looking to put the finishing touches on an undefeated season. Regina, meanwhile, will battle it out in Vancouver with the UBC Thunderbirds for second place. The scenario is simple: a Regina win clinches second place and home field for the Rams, while a UBC victory would do the same for the Thunderbirds. Either way, the Rams and UBC will meet in the postseason for the right to play for the Hardy Cup.