Rams travel to Edmonton for Week 3 tilt with Alberta

DATE: Saturday, Sept. 14

TIME: 5:00 pm

LOCATION: Edmonton, Alta.

VENUE: Foote Field

TV: Canada West Football on Shaw (Access7 in Regina and area)

RADIO: 620 CKRM (Regina)

The Rams square off with Alberta on Saturday in a Week 3 matchup that features a pair of teams battling for their first win of the Canada West schedule. The game will be on Canada West Football on Shaw, with Access7 in Regina and canadawest.tv picking up the feed live. Phil Andrews will make his Rams play-by-play debut for 620 CKRM in Regina, while canadawest.tv will have live stats running.

AGAINST ALBERTA: The Rams come into Saturday’s game having won four consecutive games over Alberta and nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams. The teams met twice last season, with the Rams coming away with a 31-17 road win in Week 3 and pitching the first shutout in school history with a 19-0 win in Week 8. Regina and Alberta will also meet twice in the conference schedule this season, as they’ll also play on Oct. 5 in Regina. Overall, the Rams have a 15-5 record against Alberta.

LAST WEEK: The Rams suffered their second consecutive seven-point loss last Friday, losing a tough 34-27 decision to No. 5 Calgary. The U of R had a last-minute drive down to the Dinos’ 30-yard line, but on the last play of the game Cayman Shutter’s pass to Addison Richards in the end zone fell incomplete to seal the victory for Calgary. Shutter was 27-for-58 and had 404 passing yards, setting a new school record for pass attempts in a game and becoming the first Ram to throw for over 400 yards since the 2010 season.

NEXT WEEK: The Rams will return to the field on Saturday, Sept. 21 with a home game against UBC (1-1). Next Saturday’s game will mark the only time during the conference schedule that these two teams will meet.

McCONKEY CHASING HISTORY: Mark McConkey added two more receptions last week against Calgary, giving the fifth-year slotback a total of 162 for his career. He’s now tied with former UBC receiver Brad Coutts for second place on Canada West’s all-time list and can overtake former teammate Chad Goldie as the conference’s all-time leader with 12 more catches. The CIS career record is held by former McGill University receiver Charles-Antoine Sinotte (251).

RANKINGS: For the third time in three polls, three Canada West teams are ranked in this week’s edition of the CIS Top Ten. Calgary stayed at No. 5 after the Dinos’ win over the Rams last week, while Saskatchewan jumped up two spots to No. 6 after its win over Manitoba. Despite the home loss to the Huskies, the Bisons also moved up a spot in the ranks and sit at No. 8 this week. After snagging a single vote in both of the first two polls, the Rams checked in with three votes this week.

RETURN FIREWORKS: Second-year DB Tevaughn Campbell not only starts for the Rams on the defensive side of the ball, but has also been among the top returners in the CIS this season. He reeled off a 75-yard punt return last week against Calgary and had a 71-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return in Week 1 at Saskatchewan. Through the first two weeks of the season, he has 179 yards on 11 punt returns for an average of 16.3 yards per return – the most of any CIS player with at least 10 returns this year. He also averages 34.7 yards per kickoff return (three returns for 104 yards). Also a member of the U of R’s men’s track & field team, Campbell won a Canada West gold medal in the 60-metre dash in 2012.

AIR ATTACK: Though he’s only started two CIS games after transferring from Hawaii, the Rams’ coaching staff sure isn’t afraid to give Cayman Shutter the green light to throw the ball. Shutter was 27-for-58 and had 404 passing yards last week against Calgary, setting a new school record for pass attempts in a game and becoming the first Ram to throw for over 400 yards since the 2010 season. Shutter enters the weekend leading Canada West and ranking fourth in the CIS with an average of 361.5 passing yards per game.

RAMS IN THE NFL: Though Stefan Charles was waived by Tennessee two weeks ago, he was immediately signed to the Titans’ practice squad so the U of R still boasts three former players in the NFL including Charles, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (New Orleans) and punter Jon Ryan (Seattle). Only eight non-NCAA Div. I schools have at least three current NFLers, led by five each from the California University of Pennsylvania and Grand Valley State. Mount Union (NCAA Div. III) and NCAA Div. II schools Midwestern State, Missouri Western, Valdosta State, and Washburn join the U of R with three players apiece.

RAMS IN THE CFL: In addition to their three NFL players, the Rams also have seven players currently on CFL rosters. That list is highlighted by Chris Getzlaf and Brendon LaBatte – who both play key roles for the 8-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders – and Brett Jones, who’s starting at centre for the Calgary Stampeders as a rookie. The list of 10 former Rams in the professional ranks doesn’t include talented long snapper Jorgen Hus, who was waived by St. Louis (NFL) in August and could end up with former teammate Chris Mercer in Edmonton if he doesn’t get another NFL offer.

CANADA WEST PRESEASON POLL: Five-time defending Canada West champion Calgary was again picked as the favourite after receiving four out of a possible five first-place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll. Both Saskatchewan and Manitoba also received a first-place vote, with the Huskies finishing second in the poll with 38 points and the Bisons in third place with 32 points. The Rams and UBC tied for fourth place in the poll with 17 points.

JANOTTA MOVING UP THE CHARTS: With a full season of CIS eligibility remaining after this year, fourth-year slotback Jared Janotta is moving up the U of R’s all-time lists in several receiving categories. Janotta became the eighth player in U of R history to collect 100 career receptions last week and also moved past Chris Getzlaf into 10th place in U of R history with 1315 career receiving yards. He now needs 174 more yards to pass Cory Olynick for ninth.

SMITH MAKES CIS DEBUT: The U of R landed heralded defensive tackle Calvin Smith in the offseason, bolstering a defensive line that has been extremely strong for the Rams over the past few seasons. Smith missed much of the Week 1 game after being injured, but had two solo and four assisted tackles last week including a half sack. This is his first action since 2010, when he played at the NCAA Div. I level with the University of New Mexico. Coming out of Hialeah HS in Hialeah, Fla., Smith was listed as a four-star prospect by both Rivals.com and ESPN.

NEW LINE: The Rams graduated 20 fifth-year players from last season’s roster and lost two players early to professional football, and no position got hit harder than the offensive line where the team lost four starters and two key reserves. And the Rams lost both Aaron Picton and Nathan Cugnet in Week 1 against Saskatchewan, so last week they started three first-year players and a pair of first-year starters in their third season of eligibility – Jeremy Zver, Kyle Paterson, Bryce McKinnon, Lyndon Smith, and Matt Degelman.

SACK WATCH: The Rams might have former defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and Stefan Charles in the NFL right now, but it’s Logan Brooks that has a chance to take over as the school’s all-time sacks leader. Brooks has 11 sacks in his career with the Rams, which put him into a tie with Sean Brimacombe for second place in U of R history. He needs three more sacks to pass Stan Van Sichem for first.

SWITCHING SPORTS – TAKE 1: Followers of U of R sports might see a familiar name starting on the offensive line, as Jeremy Zver has been a key reserve for the men’s basketball team over the last two years and returns to football for the first time since starring for Balfour Collegiate in 2010. Zver has appeared in 36 Canada West hoops games in his career.

SWITCHING SPORTS – TAKE 2: Running back Jens Johnson is in his first year with the Rams after playing a Junior A career that spanned three full seasons in the SJHL. Johnson spent two years with the Weyburn Red Wings before splitting the 2012-13 season between Weyburn and Notre Dame. A defenceman, Johnson collected 48 points in 150 career regular season SJHL games.

SWITCHING SPORTS – TAKE 3: Defensive back Jeff Propp made his Canada West debut last week against Calgary and should be on the roster again this week. Propp, who was a multi-sport standout for Balfour Collegiate in Regina, redshirted last season with the U of R’s men’s basketball team and is in his first season with the Rams.

TRIPLE DIGITS TIMES TWO: Both Addison Richards and Kolten Solomon piled up 105 receiving yards in Week 1 at Saskatchewan. It was the first time two different U of R players hit triple digits in the same game since Oct. 29, 2010 at Saskatchewan when Brenden Owens ended up with 110 yards and Jared Janotta had 107. Current quarterbacks coach Marc Mueller was under centre that game for the Rams.

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