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Friday, July 21, 2017

LIONS HANG ON FOR 45-42 WIN OVER BLUE BOMBERS

VANCOUVER - Ty Long kicked a 34-yard field goal with 56 seconds left on the clock as the B.C. Lions picked up a wild 45-42 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.

The winning points were set up after Ronnie Yell intercepted Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols and returned the ball to the Winnipeg 35 with 1:21 left on the clock.

After two running plays, Long - the rookie kicker who the Lions kept in favour of veteran Swayze Waters - split the uprights with his third field goal of the night at a raucous B.C. Place Stadium.

Justin Medlock, who came up well short on a 61-yard field-goal attempt that would have won last November's West Division semifinal, didn't have enough leg from 50 yards with one second left on a boot that would have sent the game to overtime.

Travis Lulay passed for 404 yards and two TDs to Emmanuel Arceneaux to go along with two interceptions for B.C. (4-1). Jeremiah Johnson and Chris Rainey also scored touchdowns for the Lions.

Nichols threw for 241 yards and three TDs, and scored another on the ground for Winnipeg (2-2), but also had that costly pick late.

(The Canadian Press)

STAMPEDERS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST ROUGHRIDERS

Canadian Press
CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders haven't lost back-to-back games since 2012 for a span of 91 regular-season games without two losses in a row.

They intend to preserve that stat Saturday when they face the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

After last week's 30-23 loss in Montreal to the Alouettes, the Stampeders (2-1-1) are at home to the Roughriders (1-2) who are coming off a bye week following their first win of the season.

"Losing back to back is something that is uncharacteristic of us and I don't expect it happening this time either,'' Calgary defensive end Charleston Hughes said Friday at McMahon Stadium.

Last season's CFL sack leader returns to Calgary's active roster after sitting out a pair of games with a leg injury.

Hughes will line up opposite former teammate Derek Dennis, who was a Stampeder in 2016 when he won the CFL award for best offensive lineman.

"I'm the reason why Dennis is who he is today,'' Hughes declared. "I helped him mould his career. He knows he's got to go against the best and he has to face the best.''

Derek Dennis on Friday
Replied Dennis: "Why he feels that way I have no clue at all, but I mean, hey man, whatever floats his boat, floats his boat.

"I may say some things to him just to have fun with it. I'm not letting the hype of me and him going against each other distract me from what I have to do.''

Several former Stampeders are wearing green and white this year including Dennis, quarterback Kevin Glenn, slotback Bakari Grant, safety Jeff Hecht and linebacker Glenn Love.

Glenn is a few years removed having played for five other teams and on his second stint with the Roughriders since he was a Stampeder in 2012-13.

Dennis and Grant were free agents when they signed with Saskatchewan this past off-season.

"We don't have very many of their players. They have a lot of ex-Stampeders,'' Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson observed. "We've won a lot of games and unfortunately when you do that, you can't pay everybody. Guys need to go where they can play and were they're getting paid the most.''

Dickenson has a familial tie with the Roughriders as brother Craig is Saskatchewan's special teams co-ordinator.

Saskatchewan head coach Chris Jones was Calgary's defensive co-ordinator from 2008 to 2011. So he was on the Stampeder side of the field the last time the Roughriders won at McMahon on Aug. 1, 2009.

The 38-year-old Glenn was a mentor in Calgary for Bo Levi Mitchell when the former started a lot of games in place of an injured Drew Tate and Mitchell was the third-stringer.

"Early on Kev was a huge part of my career as far as a learning tool for me, to pick his brain and not only that, use my eyes just to watch him and watch how he played the game,'' Mitchell recalled.

"At that time, I was still locked into the American game, so understand, 'Hey, this is a guy that's done it for a long time and done it well, so how as he been successful?'''

Mitchell, now 45-8-2 in CFL starts, is a touchdown throw away from a career 100 and joining Henry Burris (203), Doug Flutie (140), Jeff Garcia (111) and Peter Liske (106) in Calgary's 100-plus club.

Glenn completed more than 30 passes in each of Saskatchewan's first three games (31, 36, 32) this season.

Only Montreal's Anthony Calvillo and Toronto's Kerwin Bell have gone plus-30 in three consecutive games and no QB has done it four straight.

Kevin Glenn on Friday
"Right now, Kevin is playing hot and he's the kind of quarterback that when he's on, he's on,'' Mitchell said.

Glenn is 163 yards away from becoming the seventh CFL quarterback to throw for a career 50,000 yards.

"When you can say you've throw for 50,000 and you get your name in the conversations with some of these other guys who have throw for 50,000 yards, it's an accomplishment,'' Glenn said.

"It's one of those things when I retire and you get old, you can sit back and just smile because you're going to be part of that conversation.''

(Canadian Press)

STAMPS VOICE REFUTES MCMAHON MYTH

By: Mark Stephen
Voice of the Stampeders
Global Calgary

It’s time for a reality check.  I’d like to end one of the great myths in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Every time the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to McMahon Stadium, I hear about how the Saskatchewan fans will outnumber Stampeders fans.  In fact, I am told, it will be just like a Saskatchewan home game. That is nonsense.

Saskatchewan fans are loyal to their club and will make themselves known at visiting stadiums. They will be outfitted in team gear, such as hats, jerseys and coats. Merchandise sales are a big part of Saskatchewan’s financial clout.

Saskatchewan fans are very good at making themselves visible. Looking into the crowd, it is easy to spot a Saskatchewan supporter.

By contrast, Stampeders fans may not always be decked out in team gear.  Plenty of people wear team jerseys to McMahon, but many others are comfortable just showing up in what they were wearing earlier in the day.

The contrast makes it appear there are more Saskatchewan fans.

Fans of the green gang will be boisterous in cheering on their hapless heroes.  But that din is nothing compared to the sounds of Stampeders fans cheering their team after a touchdown.

While Roughriders fans’ support for their squad is commendable, they don’t outnumber Stampeders fans. It’s time to bust that myth.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3610488/mark-stephen-calgary-stampeders-fans-just-as-boisterous-as-roughriders-devotees/

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

- "Spy Games" goes Saturday night in Calgary, and I can't wait.  The Riders don't like the Stampeders, the Stampeders don't like the Riders. A green wave will once again descend on McMahon Stadium, and both coaches are treating this Week 5 game like a playoff contest by closing practices so things don't get "leaked".  It's a little far-fetched to think fans are divulging secrets, but hey, whatever sells tickets works for me.

The Riders are better than last year, and Calgary isn't as good as last year.  While it is early, the Stamps seem to be missing something from last year when they ran roughshod over the league until the Grey Cup game.

Will this translate into a Riders win? One would have to think the Stamps will win at home, but I will say the Riders will cover the 11 and a half point spread.  Yes, Calgary could add a late TD to make it a double-digit win, but I think Bo Levi and crew are in for a tough game against an opponent that gives them nightmares no matter their record.

- Riders head coach Chris Jones has the quote of the year in the CFL so far this year for his "We had more fans in the stands today (for Tuesday's practice) than Toronto has fans. Some have said that was an unnecessary shot against the Argos and are condeming him (surprise, surprise!) while others are taking it for what it was which was humour.  It was a well-played dig, and he wasn't really wrong was he? We all know fan support in Toronto is disgraceful.


- Can someone please tell me what Dave Dickenson was trying to accomplish when he told Calgary radio station QR77 on Monday night that he thought the Riders had  a good team last year with the exception of their QB play?  Why is Dickenson taking a shot at the now-departed Darian Durant. The same Darian Durant that beat his Stampeders one week ago!  If he had said, they had bad o-line play or a bad secondary I could understand it, but taking a poke at a player who is no longer here. I don't get it!

- Another thing I don't get is fans (smokers) who are railing on the Riders for the fact they put out an edict this week reminding people Mosaic Stadium is now smoke-free. Why is that? It's a City of Regina bylaw.  A city of Regina bylaw and not a Riders one. It's also a bylaw this non-smoker wholeheartedly endorses.  If it's a city bylaw, the Riders are simply adhering to it. Do you want them to not abide by this?  The hate of the smoker is being directed at the wrong folk.

- There is also a furor over the fact once you leave,  you can't get back in. IT WASN"T LIKE THAT BEFORE!!! claim many.  Guess what? Things change, deal with it! Many other stadiums have this policy in place. Every NFL, NHL and MLB game I have seen over the last few years whether it be at Rogers Place, Bell Centre, Target Field, Wrigley Field, CenturyLink Field, the now no-more Metrodome, you are not allowed to leave once you enter. Its a safety thing!!  It's the same reason you get your bag searched, and its the same reason many venues give you souvenirs in a clear plastic bag. How easy would it be for someone to say oh, I forgot something and come back into the stadium whether it be here or anywhere with a weapon he or she has hidden hoping security will go "Oh I remember him/her. you're good and then chaos breaks out.

Yes, the chances of that ever happening in Regina are slim, but if it did, questions would be asked about why fans weren't protected. Things change! Get used to it. It could be worse. Once again, the anger for this is a little unwarranted.  Do you say the same thing when going through the airport? Yes I do, but I understand why it's being done.  Bottom line, settle down and don't let the little things consume you as they seemingly are with some.

- Through 4 1/2 weeks of the CFL season, as a fan you can't say you are not seeing good games. Wednesday's game in Ottawa went right down to the wire and so did last night's game between the Eskimos and Ti-Cats. What a letdown by the Tabbies.  Despite another night of shoddy o-line play, Hamilton had a chance to win until late in the 4th quarter when Mike Reilly said enough was enough.  A win by the Ti-Cats (or Spy-Cats as RP has joked) would have tightened things up in the East and he West.  Perhaps Derek Meyers wasn't wrong when he said the gap between top and bottom in the league has shrunk significantly in the last year.  There seemingly isn't a lot between the top team and the worst one in the CFL.

Of the 18 games in the league this year, 13 have been decided by 8 or less. You can't ask for much better than that as a fan. A majority of the games including the two this week are coming right down to the end which I think is what you want in the end.


- Football of another kind comes to Mosaic Stadium on Saturday. I'm looking forward to seeing the New York Cosmos take on Valencia CF in the first ( and what won't be the last) international friendly. Say what you will about the game, but its popularity is increasing in our country by the day with more and more kids playing.  There is talk about a new league setting up a franchise in either Regina or Saskatoon. Former Rush prez Lee Genier is one of the people trying to make it happen. That guy knows what he's doing, so don't bet against him. Lee is scheduled to join me in the Cage at 605 Friday nightt to talk about it before a meeting at O'Hanlons at 7.

- It would only be fitting if Al Cowlings picked up OJ Simpson once he is paroled and drove him home would it not?

- People are talking about the home runs being hit in baseball and whether or not the ball is "juiced". How about the fact there are many more young stars in the game than before who can make you pay for a mistake.  Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Miguel Sano and Jose Altuve are just some of the names that will carry baseball for the next many years. There is a lot of talent on the field, and that is being shown by the increased numbers and interest in the game. You won't see me complaining about it.

- That's all I got. Have a great weekend! GO RIDERS!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

ESKIMOS STUN TIGER-CATS

Canadian Press
HAMILTON - Nail-biters are nothing new for the Edmonton Eskimos this season, so quarterback Mike Reilly had no doubt his offence could score a game-winning touchdown with 70 seconds left on the clock.

"We know one-minute-plus in the CFL is forever, really,'' said Reilly, who threw three touchdown passes in a 31-28 come-from-behind win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in CFL action Thursday night.

"And that's the great part of this season so far. That's not our first time being in a similar scenario to that. I've got confidence in our guys and I think they've got confidence in themselves because of having to do it already.''

The team has won all four of its games this season by a combined 12 points.

The Esks overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to improve to 4-0 in front of 23,531 at Tim Hortons Field and sit atop the West Division. Hamilton (0-4) is last in the East. The last time Hamilton started the season 0-4 it was 2007 and Eskimos head coach Jason Maas was the Ticats' quarterback.

Down 28-23 with 1:10 on the clock, Reilly engineered the 75-yard winning drive, hitting Vidal Hazelton for a 15-yard TD pass with 23 seconds left for Edmonton's first lead of the game. A two-point convert made it 31-28.

"It's just a mindset our team has right now,'' said Maas. "That if the game is close, we feel like if we can give the ball to our offence and we need a score, we'll score. If our defence needs to come up with a big play to stop 'em, they'll stop 'em. It's just confidence from doing it well in the hard situations we've been put in.''

Hamilton had one final chance to march back down the field but Kenneth Ladler intercepted a Zach Collaros pass to seal the victory.

"Up until a couple of plays, we had a chance to win,'' said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin. "But those guys made key plays and you have to tip your hat to them. They deserved to win.''

Bryant Mitchell, Travon Van, and Cory Watson also scored for Edmonton. Luke Tasker and Geoff Hughes scored for Hamilton.

Hamilton kicker Sergio Castillo was good on all four field-goal attempts, one from 18, two from 46 and one from 37 yards.

Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte hit a 40-yard field goal, but also had a missed convert and a blocked punt.

Reilly completed 27-of-37 pass attempts for 350 yards. Collaros completed 22-of-36 pass attempts for 249 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions.

Reilly came into the game with 17,099 career passing yards and needed just 27 yards to move ahead of Maas for 38th all-time. He did that in the first quarter with a 13-yard pass to Mitchell.

Hamilton had a 15-13 lead to start the third. Edmonton's opening drive stalled at its own 46 and Ticat Terrell Davis blocked Whyte's punt, leaving the linebacker Hughes to scoop it up and run in for the five-yard score and a 22-13 lead. Castillo's 46-yard field goal made it 25-13 on Hamilton's next possession.

Reilly finished off an 87-yard drive early in the fourth with a 34-yard TD pass to Watson, pulling to 25-20. The drive included a second-and-22 conversion and it seemed the tide had turned. Whyte's 40-yarder with 6:35 left made it 25-23.

Castillo's 37-yarder with 1:17 left in the game made it 28-23.

In the game's opening series, Castillo's 18-yarder gave Hamilton a 3-0 lead, highlighted by a 40-yard run by Ross Scheuerman. The Ticats had been averaging 41 rushing yards per game entering Thursday.

A conceded safety by Edmonton's Whyte and a 46-yarder by Castillo made it 8-0 for Hamilton midway through the first.

But Reilly marched the Esks 75 yards in the final five minutes, completing all six pass attempts and hitting Mitchell for the 29-yard TD catch-and-run. Whyte missed the convert and the quarter ended with the Ticats up 8-6.

The teams exchanged TDs late in the second quarter. Collaros led a 75-yard scoring drive, aided by Mike Jones' 30-yard reception and three Edmonton penalties. Collaros hit Tasker in the end zone at third-and-two for the 15-6 lead and 2:24 on the clock.

(The Canadian Press)

NOTES FROM RIDERS DAY 3


The Saskatchewan Roughriders held their first closed practice of the year on Thursday, their final full practice before Saturday's game at Calgary (7:00 pm, TSN, CKRM Rider Radio Network).

Here are some notes and quotes from the session:

- With the practice being closed, their was no roster information disclosed. Canadian tailback Kienan LaFrance got some work earlier in the week and Head Coach Chris Jones said a determination on his availability would be made today. However nothing was announced for Saturday's game.

- Is A.J. Jefferson going to make his Rider debut against the Stampeders? Buy a ticket.

- With the practice closed from the prying eyes of fans and media, Jones was asked how it went.

"Had a pretty good day," Jones remarked. "We worked on all of our stuff that we need to try to win the game in all three phases. It wasn't quite as good as yesterday but it was clean. There weren't people in the stands or on the sidelines - which was a little bit weird for us - but it allowed us to do everything we needed to do to secure our game plan."

- Quarterback Kevin Glenn was asked how big of a game this is for his Roughriders, and what a win would mean for the club.

"It'll be a big character win for us," Glenn said. "To go on the road against a very good team that hasn't lost at home for awhile. We need to match their intensity because they're coming off a loss so they'll be looking to get back on track. They're a very consistent team. They go into consecutive seasons with the same guys but they also have guys waiting on the bench to go in if a guy gets hurt with no drop-off in productivity. I've seen it personally when I was there. And they don't make mistakes. They thrive on the details."

- I asked Glenn where Calgary's McMahon Stadium rates out of CFL facilities.

"Out of the nine? As a visitor?" Glenn smiled. "If you're on the Roughriders it's a close #2 or #3 because sometimes it feels like a home game with all that green in the stands. It's one of the nice stadiums to play in in the league but every stadium in the league has its own little presence."

- Defensive end Willie Jefferson is amped up for Saturday's game. He thinks the Riders match up well against Calgary.

"It's a real big key for us to stay disciplined," Jefferson offered. "With us we want to stay disciplined, get the crowd behind us because we know there's going to be a lot of Rider fans there, get the crowd behind us, stay focused and do the job we've been practicing on all week."

Willie Jefferson
- Jefferson's had plenty of battles against Stampeders bruising tailback Jerome Messam over the years but says the task of containing him isn't too daunting.

"Get to him early. Get to him before he starts moving around," Jefferson said of their game plan. "He tries to be a big back but we know if we get to him early, it's not that hard to stop him. For our defense, we have so many key players, we feel like we can match with them player-for-player. We plan on winning those one-on-ones."

- Jefferson was asked where he'd rate the Stampeders' offensive line.

"They're alright," Jefferson said coolly. "They have a great QB, a great organization and coaching staff, but me playing D-line, I feel like we have a good chance of making things happen."

- In his first full year with Saskatchewan, Willie Jefferson has already become a fan favourite in the Rider Nation. He was particularly popular at Crave's Country Thunder on the weekend. The Stephen F. Austin product is soaking it all up.

"I love being a Roughrider!" Jefferson smiled. "Riderville is the place to be. There's no other feeling like coming out of that tunnel on game day. And going other places and seeing all that green, it's amazing. They know who I am now. It's hard to miss me. They notice my smile, my gold teeth, my chains, and they just walk up to me and say 'Are you Willie Jefferson?' It's whatever man. It comes with the territory. I love the recognition."

RP
@rodpedersen

AUSTIN REFUTES JONES'S SPYING CLAIM


HAMILTON - Kent Austin dismissed allegations from Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach/GM Chris Jones that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats used insider information prior to their meeting earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Jones said the Riders will hold closed practices for the remainder of the season after accusing the Ticats of spying prior to their regular-season matchup. Saskatchewan beat Hamilton 37-20 on July 8 for its first win of the year. The Ticats (0-3) remain winless.

"Oh, Chris, yeah, good old Chris,'' Austin, Hamilton's head coach and vice-president of football operations, said Wednesday. "That's, quite frankly, absurd.

"God forbid that we actually prepared our players as coaches. Or maybe they're just looking for a reason to close their practice.''

CFL rules permit teams to old one closed practice per week.

Jones was particularly concerned about a specific special teams play in the game, where he felt the Ticats reacted uncharacteristically quickly to Saskatchewan's formation.

"As soon as they walked out on the field they identified it in five seconds,'' Jones said. "So you know somebody had to be here watching practice and told them, 'Hey if they're doing this, it's a punt block.'

"We're not going to allow that to happen. So we're going to close practice and if we do have anything, we'll work on it on the day that's closed and that way nobody gets the upper hand on us.''

But Austin said if the Ticats we're spying, he would have expected a better result.

"It didn't work out too well for us except for that play, huh? If we were doing that, I'd need to fire the scouts,'' he said.

"It's ridiculous. I don't police our stadium. You're running so many things during the week and you're going to change things come game time because of the complexion of the game that's being played in front of you. That's overblown a little bit, I think.''

(Canadian Press)

3DOWNNATION: VINCE YOUNG'S RIDER STATUS STILL "UP IN THE AIR"

3DownNation.com Staff:

While at an event for Hennessey cognac this week, Vince Young made some very intriguing comments to Fox7 News regarding his future with the Riders.

“It’s still up in the air. Coach Jones just told me, ‘Hey man go get healthy, take your time, don’t try to rush back, but just know this opportunity is still here if you want to come back,'” Young says. “You never know what happens.”

“It’s a long season, so the biggest thing is, first of all with hammy’s you don’t want to rush it. I got some really good guys out here that’s getting me back where I need to be at, taking my time. It’s all about rehab.”

Young tore his hamstring during training camp with Saskatchewan. That led to his release, though it’s been reported that the Riders added him to the “retired” list and therefore still control his CFL rights.

In the clip, which runs just over two minutes, Young also addresses the Sports Illustrated article in which he slammed former coach Jeff Fisher and refers to himself in the third person twice.

LINK:
http://3downnation.com/2017/07/19/vince-young-future-riders-still-air/

RED SOX SWEEP GIANTS


The Regina Red Sox defeated the Fort McMurray Giants 8-4 in front of 985 fans at Currie Field on Wednesday.

The win was the fourth in a row for the Sox and third straight loss for the Giants

Regina starter Jordan Scott picked up his fourth win of the 2017 campaign. Scott a junior from Liberty University threw 113 over seven innings. His only blemish was two runs on seven hits.

Trevor Bauer, the senior from Waldorf University, took the loss after giving up seven runs on eight hits over 5.1 innings.

Max Hewitt and Evan Willow and Corey Conklin all had a pair of hits in the loss.

Jordan Schulz provided an offensive spark for the Red Sox. The Saskatchewan born Schulz had three hits including a double, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

With the win the Red Sox kept pace with Swift Current for top spot in the Eastern Division.

Regina has Thursday off before heading to Swift Current on Friday for a first place showdown.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

REDBLACKS OUTLAST ALOUETTES 24-19

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Redblacks finally earned a victory. Now they want to build off of it.

Ottawa ended a four-game winless streak with a 24-19 win over the Montreal Alouettes (2-3) Wednesday night at TD Place.

As usual the Redblacks (1-3-1) didn't make things easy on themselves as they allowed the Alouettes to attempt a comeback in the second half, but unlike previous games were able to hold on to the lead to pick up their first win of the season.

Trevor Harris was 29-of-41 passing for 376 yards with two TD's, while Montreal's Darian Durant was 35 for 45 for 452 yards and two TD's and two interceptions.

"It's good, but we've got to keep it in perspective, it's one win,'' said Harris.

"I really think this is a win that can kind of catapult a team as we found a way to win late as opposed to finding a way to lose.''

The play of the game came with just over one minute left when the Ottawa defence held off the Alouettes on third-and-one attempt at Ottawa's eight-yard line, sending the sellout crowd of 24,756 into a frenzy.

`"That was a huge play,'' said Redblacks DB Antoine Pruneau. "I knew when we were on the field that our guys wanted it more and every single guy pushed hard and won their individual battle and we got the job done.''

All week Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell's message had been about finding ways to make big plays, force the other team to make more mistakes and Wednesday the Redblacks were able to take advantage with fumble recoveries and interceptions. Montreal had four turnovers in the first half alone.

"That was the difference,'' said Campbell. "Our defence has been solid in long stretches, but was lacking that momentum changing play and (Wednesday) I would guess we had five turnovers, off the top of my head, and when you do that it's a big lift for the football team so I credit our guys for making those big plays.''

Looking to close a 24-18 gap Boris Bede attempted a 50-yard field goal, but settled for a single after kicking the ball out of bounds.

Trailing 17-3 the Alouettes pushed back hard in the third quarter.

Durant connected with Tiquan Underwood for a 51-yard touchdown pass and Nic Lewis for a four-yard TD, but Ottawa replied with a touchdown of its own as Brad Sinopoli took in a short pass to lead 24-18 heading into the fourth quarter.

With 14:12 left in the third quarter, Lewis got his name in the record books as he became just the fourth player in the league to record his 1,000th reception on a nine-yard gain.

"It's an awesome feeling to be able to reach that milestone and just still be here 14 years later,'' said Lewis. "I was talking to some of their players on the field and they're like 22 and 23 and I've been playing for 25 years so it's good to be able to still be here. It's a blessing from God to still be able to do it.''

The Redblacks were able to cap off a solid first half with an 18-yard field goal by Brett Maher in the final minute to take a 17-3 lead into the break.

Slow starts have been an issue for the Alouettes and this night was no different.

"We took points off the board with those (first-half) turnovers,'' said Durant. "When you get a chance to score touchdowns you have to do that and we didn't do it in the first half. We turned the ball over.''

Pruneau came up with a huge play in the second quarter with an interception in the end zone. Illegal contact on the receiver was initially called, but Ottawa challenged and the call was overturned. On the ensuing play Harris connected with Greg Ellingson for an 80-yard touchdown to take a 14-3 lead.

The Redblacks jumped out to a 6-0 lead on 20- and 38-yard field goals by Maher early in the first quarter. Montreal cut the lead in half with a 42-yard field goal to make it 6-3 after the first quarter.

This game marks the third of four in a stretch of 17 days for the Redblacks, with the last being played Monday in Toronto. CFL commissioner and former player Randy Ambrosie was in attendance Wednesday and admitted to having some concern with Ottawa's schedule.

"As a player I would have found it very difficult to play three games in 11 days, particularly in the back third of my career when just getting out of bed after one game was hard enough much less that many games in a short turn,'' Ambrosie said when he spoke to media at halftime.

"This is a very intense game, played by these very large human beings. I think it's too many games in too few nights.''

Ambrosie went on to say that next season he would do his best to make the schedule as fair and safe for all teams involved.

(Canadian Press)

WEEK 5 CFL PICKS 2017

Canadian Press/Patrick Doyle
MONTREAL at OTTAWA, Wednesday
(RedBlacks favoured by 4.5-points)

It's been a rough start for Ottawa (0-3-1), which has lost its games by a combined six points. What's more, the club is in the midst of playing three games within 11 days, which gives it precious time to heal and practise. The Redblacks held Mike Reilly to 265 passing yards in last week's 23-21 road loss to Edmonton but Tavon Van ran for 103 yards on 18 carries against his former team. Montreal (2-2) is coming off a 30-23 home win over Calgary, its fourth straight victory at Molson Stadium against the defending West Division champion. Darian Durant threw for 296 yards and a TD against the Stampeders but also had two interceptions.

Prediction: Ottawa
___________________________________

EDMONTON at HAMILTON, Thursday
(Eskimos favoured by 3-points)

Edmonton (3-0) has earned its three wins by a combined nine points. While quarterback Mike Reilly, the CFL's passing leader last year, has completed 71.8 per cent of his throws, the Eskimos' defence is tied with Saskatchewan for fewest yards allowed (306 per game) and allowed a league-low two TD passes. But rival offences have run for four TDs, one behind league-worst Hamilton (0-3). The Ticats are also coming off being torched by Lulay and are ranked last in scoring (15.7 offensive points per game) and points allowed (35 offensive points per game).

Prediction: Edmonton
____________________________________

WINNIPEG at B.C., Friday
(Lions favoured by 4.5-points)

There are two different twists this week for the B.C. Lions.

The Lions (3-1) are home Friday night to Winnipeg (2-1) following three straight road wins over East Division rivals, and they'll likely have a different starting quarterback under centre when they face the Blue Bombers.

Veteran backup Travis Lulay came off the bench to throw for a record 436 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-26 decision against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night. Lulay entered the game on B.C.'s opening possession after starter Jonathon Jennings suffered a reported shoulder injury.

Lulay, the 2011 CFL and Grey Cup MVP, is expected to start against Winnipeg. The 33-year-old has completed 63.4 per cent of his passes over nine CFL seasons with almost twice as many TD strikes (107) as interceptions (59).

Both teams sport solid kickers. Winnipeg's Justin Medlock hasn't missed in 2017 (10-of-10 on field goals, eight-of-eight on converts) while B.C.'s Ty Long has made 10-of-11 field goals and six-of-eight converts.

All of which suggests a very close, tight contest.

Prediction: B.C.
__________________________________

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY, Saturday
(Stampeders favoured by 10-points)

Saskatchewan (1-2) has had two weeks to savour its 37-20 victory over Hamilton. Veteran Kevin Glenn threw for 380 yards and two TDs against Hamilton while Roosevelt Naaman had 10 catches for 167 yards. But the Riders' defence was solid, allowing just 216 net yards. Calgary (2-1-1) is coming off a 30-23 road loss to Montreal. It was just the eighth career regular-season loss for Bo Levi Mitchell, last year's league MVP who threw for 379 yards and a touchdown. Kamar Jorden was the club's receiving leader with nine catches for 140 yards. Defensive end Charleston Hughes (leg), one of the CFL's premier pass-rushers, could be back in the lineup.

Prediction: Calgary
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OTTAWA at TORONTO, Monday
(Argonauts favoured by 1.5-points)

The Redblacks (0-3-1) will end a tough stretch at BMO Field. Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris has thrown a league-high eight touchdown passes but will face a rested Argos defence that's recorded a CFL-best 14 sacks. Toronto (2-2) last played July 13 in a 33-25 road loss to Winnipeg. Argos starter Ricky Ray enters action as the CFL's passing leader, having thrown for over 300 yards in each of the club's four games. Veteran S.J. Green, who missed much of last year with a knee injury, is the league's top receiver with 24 catches for 452 yards and a TD.

Prediction: Toronto.

Last week: 3-1

Overall: 10-5-1

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

RIDERS BACK TO WORK



The Saskatchewan Roughriders returned from their bye week for Day 1 of their Week 5 schedule on Tuesday. Here are some notes:

- We have our first Spy-Gate scandal of 2017. In advance of Saturday's Roughriders-Stampeders clash in Calgary, Stamps coach Dave Dickenson told CHQR AM 770 Radio in Calgary that his club will be closing practice this week.

- The Riders' Chris Jones snickered and said his team is doing the same thing, closing Thursday's Day 3 practice. Moving forward, the Riders will close one practice per week on either Day 2 or 3.

- Jones said information got out to Ottawa last year and the same thing happened two weeks ago versus Hamilton. The Rider boss said he has no idea who's leaking the classified info (fans, media, spies, etc.) but this policy should shut it down entirely.

- My question is: What does Dickenson know about the Riders - or vice versa - which would lead to closed practices?

- Regarding only closing one day, Jones said the CFL isn't like the NFL (who closes every practice) because we're a "fan league" and need to open the doors to fans who enjoy watching their team midweek in the summer.

- Jones got tongues wagging - unintentionally I'm guessing - when he said, "We had more fans in the stands today than Toronto gets out to their games".

- Dave Dickenson got people scratching their heads when he told CHQR Radio on Monday, "I really believe (the Riders) were pretty good except for QB play last year".

- There was a new face on Day 1. Star CB A.J. Jefferson has been added to the practice roster and wore #20. The Fresno product was cut by Ottawa last week and said the move caught him off-guard. However he feels he can add a lot to the Riders. He didn't do much during the workout but Jones said they'd learn more during one-on-ones after practice.

- Jones also said Kevin Glenn has "absolutely" had a Hall of Fame career.

- Former Stampeder Derek Dennis - the prized Rider free agent signing at Left Tackle - said he's incredibly excited for Saturday's game. He said Stampeder fans turned on him immediately once he signed in Saskatchewan this winter and he expects a rude welcoming at McMahon Stadium.

- Dennis also said there's lots of bad blood between the two teams and a lot has to do with Stamps QB Bo-Levi Mitchell "ratting" the Riders out for Roster-Gate last year. He said his Rider teammates haven't forgotten about that.

- The word I've gotten out of Calgary is that there's little to no buzz for Saturday's game. Here's hoping that changes in the days ahead.

RP
@rodpedersen


RED SOX TROUNCE GIANTS 26-7 IN FORT MAC'S FIRST EVER VISIT

Mr. Mikes Player of the Game: Phil Langlois
The Regina Red Sox impressed the 907 fans at Currie Field on Tuesday as they pounded out 32 hits on their way to a 26-7 win over the Fort McMurray Giants. This game marked the Giants' first ever visit to Currie Field

Red Sox starter Jake Waters earned his sixth win in eight starts. Waters pitched a solid seven innings giving up one run on two hits and three walks. He also struck out four.

Samuel Hersh lasted one inning for the Giants giving up 12 runs on 11 hits.

Broderick Rodocker hit his team best ninth homer while Justin Erlandson helped out with a pair of doubles and his fifth triple of the season in the rout. All 10 Red Sox batters registered at least one hit in the game.

Corey Coklin was one of seven Giant hitters to get a hit in the game. He also had two RBI.

With the victory, Regina remains tied for first place in the Eastern Division with Swift Current. Both teams have a 25-12 record.

The two teams meet again on Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Currie Field.

(Outlaw Communications)

THE LUC & ROD PODCAST - WEEK 5:

Let the games begin!

With Week 4 in the CFL behind us, the attention can now turn to the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Week 5 match-up at the Calgary Stampeders next Saturday night (7:00 pm Sask Time, TSN, CKRM Rider Radio Network).

The podcast is presented by 620 CKRM and The SportsCage.

CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder and I return with the Luc & Rod Podcast as we break down the game and discuss both teams headed into the clash at McMahon Stadium.

Luc also has some strong words for the Riders' top rival!

We also take a look around the CFL after four very entertaining weeks of football.

You can listen to the podcast here:

https://soundcloud.com/ridervoice/luc-and-rod-week-5

We'll also return to the 620 CKRM airwaves on Monday with the SportsCage at 4:00 pm.

RP
@rodpedersen