Alberta Golden Bears beat Regina Rams, snap 26-game football losing skid

EDMONTON — It took 3 years, 10 months and 14 days — but the University of Alberta Golden Bears football squad have finally done it.

The Golden Bears’ 44-42 victory over the University of Regina Rams is their first win since November 2010, ending a 26-game losing streak.

But it wasn’t easy.

With 55.3 seconds remaining, Rams quarterback Noah Picton aired a 85-yard bomb to wide receiver Addison Richards, bringing the Rams to within two points of the Bears.

Rams head coach Frank McCrystal opted for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but Bears fourth-year linebacker Connor Ralph sacked Picton, sealing the victory.

“He’s one of the guys on this team we count on,� Bears head coach Chris Morris said of Ralph making the pivotal defensive stop. “He makes plays when it’s important for us, and it’s great that he made one at the end of the game.�

Although he made the play, Ralph — who finished with a game-high eight tackles — deferred to his teammates on his game-saving sack.

“To be honest, I was just kind of lucky,� Ralph said. “My back end and my coverage guys did a great job of making the quarterback hold the ball, and I just put my motor going and I got there.�

While he felt “helpless� standing on the sidelines during the Rams’ 85-yard score and two-point try, Bears quarterback Curtis Dell said he was confident the defence was going to “step up to make a play.�

As a fifth-year veteran of the Bears, Dell — who completed 17 of 27 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns — said it’s a relief to finally get a win after almost four years of heartache.

“Obviously, this win came too late in everyone’s eyes, but I’m glad we got it,� he said. “Last week would’ve been better and we’re 1-2, so obviously we’re behind the eight ball a bit. There was a lot of motivation coming into this week, a lot more preparation, and it paid off.�

His receivers certainly came prepared, as Adam Zajdel caught three balls for 90 yards and two scores, including a 49-yard scorcher in the second quarter. Yembeh Moiba had three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown while slotback Aundrey Webster amassed 256 all-purpose yards. Dell also had help from the backfield, as running back Levon Hawreliak rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Dell and his offence was enough to offset the Rams’ Picton, who threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns. His top receiver, Richards, caught a game high 225 yards and two touchdowns.

With Picton and the Rams’ late push, Dell said he knew the game wasn’t over and they would “have another shot.”

This made the win at the final buzzer a “dream come true� when Golden Bears fans rushed Foote Field. But if the Bears want to keep winning, they need to start preparing for next week versus the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

“It’s obviously just one win and we have to understand that. We got another game next week. We get to cherish this moment for the weekend,� he said. “Come Monday, we’re back to work.�

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