Connor Hood, Golden Bears & Pandas Athletics
EDMONTON - The Regina Rams defence was stellar in week two against the Alberta Golden Bears, allowing just 244 yards of total offence in a convincing 51-13 win, Friday night at Foote Field.
Fifth-year Rams quarterback Noah Picton overcame a sloppy first half for Regina, finishing with 449 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing TD in the Rams (1-1) first win of the season. Receiver Ryan Schienbein was his primary target on Friday, as he hauled in three touchdown passes (one from backup QB Seb Britton) to go along with 176 receiving yards.
"I thought Alberta played very hard in the first half. They were very aggressive early on, and their crowd was fantastic tonight." said Rams head coach Steve Bryce. "I think we gave them a little bit of hope in the first half, and we had some mistakes they took advantage of. But I think we calmed down in the second half and sorted some stuff out in the locker room."
The loss drops Alberta to 0-2 in conference play, as they have mustered just 13 points and 480 yards of offence in two weeks.
Brad Baker completed just 12-of-29 passes for the Golden Bears, finishing another subpar performance with 176 passing yards and one touchdown.
Regina held a slim 21-13 lead at the half, thanks in part to a pair of interceptions thrown from Picton, including one inside the Alberta five. He did, however, toss a pair of majors, including a 10-yard strike to Bennett Stusek late in the second quarter.
The Golden Bears took advantage of each of their two first half turnovers, as Brent Arthur connected on both 21 and 22 yard field goals, combined with a four-yard TD pass from Baker to Ben Kopczynski in the second. That was the only offence Alberta could manage across the first two quarters, however, as they finished the first half with just 26 rushing yards and 124 of total offence.
Picton found his stride in the second half, as he added another 222 yards passing, and a short TD run on the Rams first possession. Regina also added a pair of field goals and a safety in an impressive second half.
"You're right. I think Picton was a little sloppy in the first half. He forced some things he didn't need to, instead of letting the game happen and let it develop." continued Bryce. "But he calmed down in the second half, saw some things he wasn't seeing in the first, and able to play a bit better because of that."
The Golden Bears sputtering offence came to complete halt in the second, as they managed just 10 first downs and 128 yards. 82 of those yards game in garbage time late in the fourth quarter, as backup QB Brad Launhardt completed 7/11 passes in his lone offensive drive.
Regina will return home next weekend, as they host the 1-1 UBC Thunderbirds at Mosaic Field. Alberta will face off against the 0-2 Manitoba Bisons in a home-and-home series, beginning next weekend in Winnipeg.