Rams, Huskies battle in Saskatoon [1]

KICKOFF: Friday, Sept. 2 (7:00 PM)
SITE: Griffiths Stadium (Saskatoon, Sask.)
RANKINGS: Regina NR, Saskatchewan NR
TELEVISION: Canada West Football on Shaw – Access7 in Regina (Jim Mullin/PxP, Wray Morrison/CC)
REGINA RADIO: 620 CKRM (Michael Ball/PxP)
SASKATOON RADIO: 600 CJWW (Dave Thomas/PxP, Barclay Schlosser/CC)
LIVE VIDEO: www.canadawest.tv ($)
• Friday’s game ushers in a new era in Rams history as former player Steve Bryce will coach his first CIS game. Bryce’s most recent head coaching experience was a seven-year stint at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
• This year marks the fourth time the Rams have opened the Canada West schedule against Saskatchewan. The two teams also faced each other to start the season in 2003 (Regina), 2005 (Saskatoon), and 2013 (Saskatoon).
• The Rams will have a similar look to last year with eight starters returning on both sides of the ball, but have made key additions on both offence and defence.
THE ATLEE FILE: He’s only about to start his third season of CIS eligibility, and already Atlee Simon has made his mark on the U of R’s record book. Last year’s Canada West leader in rushing yards, Simon has a good shot at becoming the school’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns this season. He enters the year tied with Adrian Charles for second place with 13, and needs just four more to match former Rams great Neal Hughes’ career total of 17. Simon is also the school’s leader in average yards per rush (6.19) and is fourth in Rams history with 1462 rushing yards in his CIS career.
TONS OF YARDS: A pair of Rams slotbacks are closing in on 1000 receiving yards for their careers, and it would be three of them if Mitch Thompson wasn’t set to miss this upcoming season due to injury. Fifth-year veteran Riley Wilson comes into the year with 862 receiving yards, while fourth-year receiver Mitchell Picton is close behind with 836. A total of 14 players in the Rams’ history at the CIS level have registered at least 1000 yards, with four of them – Jared Janotta, Chad Goldie, Jason Clermont, and Jordan Sisco – breaking the 2000-yard mark.
LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT: Friday’s projected game-day lineup has nine players new to the program, five of which could very well get the start for the Rams. Those five include WR Khalid Kornegay (Northeast Mississippi CC), OL Jamie Wandell (Langley Rams), LB Cord Delinte (Okanagan Sun), DB Ben Sharpe (Langley Rams), and DB Braedy Will (Winnipeg Rifles). Also expected to dress against Saskatchewan are OL Andrew Becker (Rutland Senior Secondary), DL Nicholas Dheilly (Dr. Martin LeBoldus HS), K William McGee (Regina Thunder), and LB Travis Semenok (Edmonton Wildcats).
DIFFERENT LOOK ON DEFENCE: The Rams will move to a 30-front defence under new coordinator Sheldon Gray. Expected to start on the defensive line are returners Bryce McKinnon, Grey McKen, and Eric Wicijowski, while a quartet of returning players – Joey Dwyer, Zack McEachern, Danny Nesbitt, and Michael Stefanovic – entered camp as the projected starters at the linebacker position.
ASSUMING NEW ROLES: Five Rams are projected to start on Friday against Saskatchewan after not starting on a full-time basis last season. That list includes WR Brady Eurich, SB Ryan Schienbein, and OL Lyndon Smith on the offensive side of the ball and DB Dilan Elgert and DL Grey McKen on defence. Of the five, McKen and Schienbein contributed the most last season – McKen started three games while now-graduated Tyler Perkins was out with an injury, while Schienbein was the team’s primary return man as a rookie out of Balfour Collegiate.
ALL-TIME SERIES: It’s been all Saskatchewan in this matchup for the last three seasons, with the Huskies winning five straight over the Rams including a 38-37 victory at Mosaic Stadium last year in the final week of the conference schedule. The Rams are looking for their first win over Saskatchewan since the 2012 season, when they beat the Huskies twice – 35-26 in a Week 4 road game, then a 31-9 home win in the Canada West semifinals. Saskatchewan holds a 22-6 advantage in Canada West games, though the Rams do have a 3-2 edge in the teams’ five postseason meetings.
-University of Regina Rams Football club

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