By University of Regina Athletics
The University of Regina Rams made history on Saturday with a 34-21 victory over the No. 1 ranked University of Calgary Dinos in a Canada West Conference game at Mosaic Stadium.
It’s not only the first win for Rams interim head coach Mark McConkey, but also the U of R’s first win in history over a team rated No. 1 in the nation.
“It was just a great team win today and a huge win for the group,” McConkey said. “They played well in all three phases of the game and we had so many guys step up to make plays for us.”
Gowrishan Aravinthan enjoyed a breakout game for the Rams as the second-year defensive back became the first U of R player in nearly three years to record two interceptions in a game. He ran the first one back 58 yards, while the second one all but sealed the win as he wrestled the ball away from a Calgary receiver Jalen Philpot in the end zone with one minute and a half remaining.
“I talked to the guys before the game and told them just to take it one play at a time, but you know in Canada West football there’s usually four or five plays that can swing a game either way,” McConkey said. “And Aravinthan had two of those big plays for us today.”
The story going into the game was on the offensive line, where injuries to Week 1 starters Maguire Abell and Austin Van De Sype forced a complete overhaul of the interior. The Rams started first-year players at all three of those positions as Connor Taylor and Sean Usselman made their first career starts while Apete Tuiloma slid over from right guard to centre.
The revamped line helped star running back Kyle Borsa record 100 yards on just 11 carries — 9.1 yards per attempt. He added two receptions for 24 yards and had a 28-yard catch-and-run touchdown call back due to a holding penalty.
“Those guys were the players of the game for us,” McConkey said. “To have an inexperienced line like that against the best team in the country and still be able to establish a run game was simply outstanding. They worked hard all week, seized the opportunity, and I couldn’t be prouder of those guys right now.”
The Rams now have a Canada West-leading nine sacks on the season after Chopper Hippe, Tanner Schmekel, and Ryder Varga each got through to takedown Calgary pivot Josiah Joseph. Jaxon Ford also had an interception for the Rams, while Josh White had another pair of tackles for loss and already has 4.5 through the first two games of the season.
Rams quarterback Josh Donnelly threw three touchdowns, two of which went to D’Sean Mimbs and the other a 48-yard connection to Riley Boersma. Sawyer Buettner had the other major for the Rams on a one-yard plunge just before halftime.
Jalen and Tyson Philpot combined for 260 receiving yards, a chunk of which came on a 107-yard completion to Jalen early in the game. Joseph completed 16-of-28 passes for Calgary, finishing with 289 yards and one touchdown before exiting the game midway through the fourth quarter after absorbing a big hit from Rams linebacker Tanner Smith. Matteo Spoletini finished the game at pivot for Calgary. Matthew Lucyshyn led Calgary with 6.5 tackles and also broke up a pass.
Both teams move to 1-1 with the result as they join Alberta and Saskatchewan in a four-way knot for second place in the Canada West standings. Both teams will have next weekend off before returning to action Saturday, October 16 as the Rams will host UBC (0-2) and Calgary will travel to Manitoba (2-0) to face the lone remaining undefeated team in the conference.