Roughriders blow into BC for the season wrap-up
Saturday November 3
TV: TSN HD
Radio: Team 1410 Rick Ball & Giulio Caravatta
All hands on deck for this game for sure. While it’s definitely not a “must win” scenario a loss will mean nearly a month will have elapsed since the BC Lions have felt the thrill of victory prior to West Final.
As the cold winds of November start to howl the Lions are thankful they play indoors but so too are Saskatchewan as they are probably happy to get in from the chilly temperatures.
Only to get the cold shoulder from Lions fan.
This week’s Top Shelf Keys to the Game ultimately lies with the players and coaches but the biggest influence could come from the 35,000 strong in the stands.
The Lions will need to feast on the mistakes made by the Roughriders, especially on Defence. DB Ryan Phillips has 16 career interception against Saskatchewan QB”s and will be searching to pounce on wayward footballs again.
In week 8, Safety Cauchy Muamba, was named CFL Defensive Player of the Week after picking off two Darian Durant throws, Unfortunately Muamba has been declared a late scratch and will be replaced by JR Larose.
Takeaways by BC will go a long way in securing a victory as well as firing up D-Coordinator Rich Stubler’s crew.
Reunited…and it feels so good
Last week saw the return of Khalif Mitchell to the Lions Defensive line, this week his tag team partner Eric Taylor will return to action. More destructive than WWE’s Legion of Doom, these two interior tackles can occupy opposing O-lineman better than any tandem in the CFL, limiting any inside rushing attempts.
And when the focus shifts to rushing the passer, these two can either get to the QB, 6 combined sacks, or create rush lanes for other attacking defenders.
Mitchell and Taylor will be limited in duty but Coach Bene will insert CFL Outstanding Rookie nominee, Jabar Westerman or explosive newcomer Brandon Jordan for the projected starters.
Last week the BC Lions did their best chicken impersonation and laid a collective egg. With a bye week coming up, coupled with the loss to Calgary last outing, if the Lions succumb to the Roughies on Saturday, they could face up to 29 days without any positive game-day emotion. Having last notched a win over Edmonton on October 19th, BC could almost be desperate for a win as they head towards the playoffs.
Another game without any serious stakes for the Leo’s will mean that all back-ups will feature prominently, especially in the second half. While still unsure if they will start or not, QB Mike Reilly will see the field as will WR Marco Iannuzzi. Look for Tim Brown to get more handoffs out of the backfield possibly even from 3rd string QB Thomas DeMarco.
Defensively the Roughriders will see a healthy dose of LB’s Solomon Elimimian and Lin-J Shell. CB Josh Bell should also see increased playing time with the injury to Muamba, Bell is the only back-up in the secondary this week.
If the Lions need a spark they should look no further than Returner Tim Brown. Coming off a magnificent game where he garnered the Special Teams Player of the Week award, Brown may need to duplicate last week’s efforts of 231 total return yards with one TD to ignite the BC Place atmosphere.
Brown, who trails only Toronto’ Chad Owens in combined return yards this season has been nominated as one of the candidates for Outstanding Special Teams player.
- Along with Westerman and Brown, other Lions nominees for Outstanding Player Awards are: Travis Lulay – Most Oustanding Player, Andrew Harris – Outstanding Canadian, Adam Bighill – Outstanding Defensive Player, Jovan Olafioye – Outstanding Offensive Lineman
- While Iannuzzi returns, Receiver Arland Bruce III will remain sidelined with his concussion
- G Jon Hameister-Ries is still experiencing back issues and will not play
- This will be C Angus Reid’s 200th career game
BC Lions Head Coach Mike Benevides must be grasping at straws looking for ways to motivate his players. A team that historically gets off to slow first quarter starts could be in trouble, like they were last week in Calgary, if they don’t hit the field running.
Their opponents this week, Saskatchewan, find themselves in a similar position, with not much to play for in the standings and will likely cycle through their full roster.
If the Leo’s can avoid another second down disaster, and the Riders depth can hang with BC’s, this game could have all the makings a West shootout. Even if you don’t recognize the names on the jerseys.
Cheers, The Bartender