Rams win in bizarre finish
by Chris Jaster
The University of Regina Rams visited the University of Calgary Dinos this weekend in a game that did not have the final score decided until Tuesday afternoon.
The Rams defeated the Dinos by a score of 37-35 when Calgary placekicker Matt Nimik missed a 32-yard field goal wide right with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
However, a whistle was blown as the kick was in the air. The officials gathered together to decide whether or not the kick should count due to the whistle. The decision was that the kick did not count and Nimik got a second chance.
After Nimik made the field goal, the officials gathered again and realized that they made a mistake with the ruling and that the second kick should not have counted and the single the Rams gave up on the missed field goal counted.
The Dinos challenged the ruling on the field after the game to Canada West, but the committee of Canada West Executive Director Val Schneider, Football Convenor Jim Donlevy and Canada West Executive Member Murray Hall unanimously agreed that the ruling on the field was correct.
The rule states that if a whistle is blown while a ball is in flight and the ball goes for a single point, then the receiving team has the option to allow a re-kick or take possession of the ball and give up the single point.
The win improves the Rams’s record to 2-2-0-1 while the Dinos drop to 3-2. With the Rams only one point back of the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser and the University of Calgary with each team having three games left in the regular season, the jockeying for a home playoff game could not be much tighter.
Neither the Dinos nor the Rams could get anything going in the first quarter until Drew Carpenter returned a Jon Ryan punt 75 yards to the Regina 19-yard line. The Dinos punched it in the end zone three plays later.
Chris Ashman sparked the Rams with a 31-yard kickoff return to the Regina 43-yard line early in the second quarter after the Dinos scored their second touchdown of the game. Anderson completed three consecutive passes to three different receivers covering 67 yards and putting the Rams on the board.
The Rams continued to fall behind by allowing two field goals before the end of the half and a touchdown early in the third quarter.
The Rams came to life with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter when Chris Ashman returned a 32-yard punt by Nimik 31 yards to the Calgary 26-yard line.
The Rams drove down to punch the ball in the endzone with a 22-yard pass from Anderson to Shane Ostapowich. Four plays later had Craig Zimmer intercept a Charles Guedo pass and return it 27 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead down to 27-20.
The Rams drove 51 yards on 10 plays for a 27-yard Jon Ryan field goal, but the Dinos went up 34-23 after Jeff Williams ran the ball in from three yards out after Dan Zubkowski intercepted an Anderson pass.
The offence clicked two drives later with two completions from Anderson and four rushes drove the ball down into the endzone. Jon Ryan’s ensuing kickoff went into the endzone for a single, cutting the lead to 34-30.
Regina drove down the field and a one-yard touchdown plunge from Anderson with 1:24 remaining in the game put the Rams up 37-34.
The Dinos drove down against the Rams defence, but the drive ended in the controversial missed field goal.
“We were not executing in the first half,” explains Rams head coach Frank McCrystal. “But we kept to the game plan and things will eventually go your way when you stick to the game plan.”
Mark Anderson, who was named Canada West football’s offensive player of the week, explains the turnaround with the offence, “We had mental breakdowns and too many penalties in the first half. When we eliminate errors, we put up big numbers against other teams.”
“Our defence can’t think about stopping teams,” says Canada West defensive football player of the week Craig Zimmer about stopping last minute drives, “we just have to play our game and get pressure on the quarterback.”
Kicker/punter Jon Ryan was also named Canada West special teams player of the week for Canada West with a 54.4 yard average for his punts. Ryan also added a 27-yard field goal.
The Rams next action is against the undefeated University of Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon before returning to Taylor Field to play the University of Manitoba Bisons on October 18.
“The Huskies are playing confident and solid football,” says McCrystal. He knows The Rams will have to be on top of their game to exact revenge for the loss earlier in the season.