Adrian Charles had two touchdown runs and Mark McConkey had career highs in both catches (13) and receiving yards (154) as the University of Regina Rams registered a 37-26 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday night in a Canada West game at Mosaic Stadium.
Charles also rushed for 152 yards, while Marc Mueller was 25-for-33 with two touchdown passes and racked up 353 passing yards. The win improves Regina's record to 2-1 on the season, as the Rams sit tied with both Alberta and Calgary for first place in the conference.
Matt Yausie led the Rams defence with 7.5 tackles, two pass breakups, and a sack, while Chris Sciog had six tackles and a pair of sacks. Jamir Walker had a huge 87-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Steve Famulak and Mike Kerr both had six total tackles in the secondary for Regina.
For Saskatchewan, Ben Coakwell had 17 carries for an even 100 yards as the third-year back hit triple digits in rushing for the third consecutive contest. Laurence Nixon completed 21 of his 31 passes, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jade Etienne in the second quarter. Tony Michalchuk had two solo and 12 assisted tackles to lead the Huskies' defence, as Saskatchewan (1-2) drops into a three-way tie for fourth in Canada West.
The Huskies opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, capping a nice 11-play, 69-yard drive with a 29-yard Stephen McDonald field goal.
The Rams looked like they were going to score the game's first major on the ensuing possession after they drove from their own 35-yard line to the Huskies' one-yard line in just five plays, but the Saskatchewan defence stopped the Rams on all three of their attempts to get into the end zone. The momentum shift was short lived, however, as a fumble by the Huskies gave Regina the ball back on the three yard line. The Rams immediately took advantage, as a three-yard touchdown run by Charles put the Rams up 6-3.
Regina scored again five minutes into the second quarter after a 41-yard pass from Mueller to Brenden Owens set the table for a six-yard touchdown pass to McConkey, extending the Rams' lead to 10. The Huskies then scored nine points in the next 27 seconds to cut the deficit to one, as a conceded safety by the Rams was immediately followed by the 76-yard touchdown bomb Etienne. The Rams had a reply on the next possession, as Mueller fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jason Price, who caught it despite heavy pressure from the Saskatchewan defender.
Chris Bodnar kicked a 15-yard field goal in the final minute of the half, and a Saskatchewan rouge following a missed McDonald field goal put the Regina lead at 23-13 at halftime and capped off a second quarter that saw both teams combine for 27 points scored.
The third quarter was all Rams. They started out with an impressive eight-play, 70-yard scoring drive that was finished off by another three-yard touchdown run by Charles. Jamir Walker then broke into the University of Regina record books and put the Rams up 37-13 with an 87-yard pick six, the longest interception return in school history.
The Huskies tried to make it interesting in the fourth quarter, as a McDonald field goal was followed by an interception return touchdown by Nico Higgs with six minutes left and another McDonald field goal with 2:25 left to pull within 11, but that was as close as Saskatchewan would get. With the Rams threatening to score another touchdown in the final seconds of the game to increase the scoring margin for the head-to-head series, the Huskies were able to come up with their second goal-line stand of the game to keep the lead at 11.
The Rams piled up 493 yards of total offence, but were penalized 13 times for a total of 140 yards. Saskatchewan had 362 yards of total offence and had just five penalties.
Both teams will be back in action next Friday. Saskatchewan will travel to Alberta (2-1), while the Rams will hit the road for a game at UBC (1-2).