|Piper Sports Photography|
The great turnaround continues for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. For the third week in a row, they smashed a West Division foe, and this one was by far the sweetest.
To beat up on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-24 on Labour Day is one of the most satisfying things as a Rider fan. What was interesting was how they did it; with a quarterback that everyone wanted to throw on the scrap heap and a much-maligned secondary that was supposed to be the Achilles heel of the Rider defence.
Kevin Glenn had his best day in his third run with the Riders. The 386 yard, 3-touchdown day was even more impressive because he couldn’t rely on a solid run game. Other than the 48-yard run by Cameron Marshall late in the second quarter, Rider running backs had 13 carries for just a hair over two-yards per rush. So, it was all in the veteran pivot’s hands and Glenn delivered.
He relied on his three all-star receivers (Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter and Bakari Grant) who all surpassed the century mark receiving, and didn’t throw an interception in his 36 attempts. Finally, a shout-out to the Rider offensive unit for their protection of Glenn and their up-field blocking on the yards after the catch.
The Winnipeg offensive line had a great day protecting Matt Nicholls, on his 50 drop backs, he was only sacked once. This put a ton of pressure on a Rider secondary who had their third straight great game. Nicholls was picked twice (oh hey there, Ed Gainey with your 5th and 6th of the season) and had to look to his release valve, running back Andrew Harris, on a myriad of plays.
For the second straight week, the Riders also received major plays on special teams. Nic Demski’s 63-yard punt return to set up a Rob Bagg touchdown late in the first quarter and Spencer Moore’s fumble recovery late in the game to seal the win, went a long way to contribute to the victory.
The next game will be a completely different story. The Banjo Bowl/Labour Day rematch (depending on what side of the fence you are on), may be the most difficult game to win from the Rider side of things. A harsh crowd, an angry Bomber team looking for revenge and don’t forget, they are a pretty darn good football team.
The Rider defensive front will need a better game and to get to Nicholls, that will quiet the crowd and allow the secondary to fly around and continue to make plays. It will be interesting to see who will get the nod running the rock for the Riders as Cameron Marshall left Sunday's match with a leg injury and Kienan LaFrance took over.
If it’s LaFrance (with no other healthy American running back on the roster it probably will be), it will be the first opportunity for one of the major off-season free agent signings to get the starting nod. Add in the fact that he is a Canadian, and this will give the Riders some flexibility with the ratio everywhere else.
If this rivalry didn’t have enough heat right now, the shenanigans of Bomber fans may have added a little more fuel to the fire!
If you scroll down to the previous article, you can read the full post, but here’s the Cliff's Notes version:
Both events happened in the south endzone of Mosaic Stadium. Monday morning Duron Carter went to the Twitter-verse to say he was spit on by a Bomber fan and now can’t wait for the rematch this weekend. Then, the world’s greatest mascot, Gainer the Gopher almost had his head ripped off by a Bomber fan.
It will be a fun week leading up to the rematch.
- A long-standing CFL cliché states that the season doesn’t really begin until Labour Day. If that’s the case, we are in for a dramatic run to the finish. In the West, Calgary is ready to wrap up the division, but behind them, just four points separates the four other teams. In the East, much of the same, but nowhere near the great records. Even though Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal have records below .500, just three points separates first and third place teams.
- This has been one of the best seasons the CFL has had in a long time. Great games on the field, tight races in both divisions, new commissioner Randy Ambrosie coming in and already making a positive difference, unbelievable catches and performances and finally, the CFL’s “Diversity is Strength” campaign. Then...this past week in Hamilton happened. A lot has been said about the TiCats hiring former Baylor head coach, Art Briles to their staff, so just one note:
To be that myopic to think that this would happen with barely a blip south of the border (or to underestimate the Canadian sports media as well) is unfathomable. Hamilton is a professional football team and to have zero perception of how incredibly terrible and toxic the Baylor football rape scandal is and the impact it had on the football landscape is incomprehensible.
The League and the TiCats have dealt with this lapse in judgement and let's hope this is the lone stain on an otherwise great season in the CFL.
- Finally, enough with the June Jones bringing his “run-and-shoot” offence to the Hamilton TiCats. CFL offences are already run-and-shoot offences. Tell me if this sounds familiar:
*Quarterback in the shotgun
*Single running back
*1-3 step drops by the quarterback
*At least two passing options when coming to the line of scrimmage
*Flood a zone to have more receivers than defensive backs
*If facing a deep/stretch zone coverage, dump underneath to the running back
These are the basics of almost every CFL offence but are also the pillars of the run-and-shoot offence. Tight ends and fullbacks are barely used in the CFL (but still in heavy rotation in the NFL and American college football) and the 12th-man is usually an inside receiver/5th. So just stop with the run-and-shoot in the CFL…please.
Canada West Diary
- Congrats to Saskatchewan Huskies head coach, Scott Flory on his first Canada West victory. His Huskies went on the road and knocked off the Manitoba Bisons 44-23. Kyle Siemens threw for 419-yards and four scores, Mitch Hillis caught eight balls for 119-yards and a touchdown while Colten Klassen ran for 139-yards.
- At Mosaic Stadium, defending Hec Creighton award winner, Noah Picton threw for 335-yards and two scores leading the Regina Rams over the UBC Thunderbirds 36-20. The Rams defence was impressive, holding Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O’Connor to 155 yards passing. Leading the way freshman linebacker Nick Cross had six solo tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss in his first Canada West game.
- The Calgary Dinos took the Canada West football version of the Battle of Alberta 55-26 over the Alberta Golden Bears. Dinos quarterback Adam Sinagra passed for over 400-yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
(Friday, September 8th)
Regina Rams at Calgary Dinos (5:30, McMahon Stadium)
Alberta Golden Bears at Saskatchewan Huskies (7:00pm, Griffiths Stadium)
(Saturday, September 9th)
Manitoba Bisons at UBC Thunderbirds (2:00pm, Thunderbird Stadium)
- After facing OFC teams last week, both the Regina Thunder and the Saskatoon Hilltops have the week off in preparation for the battle of Saskatchewan Saturday night, 7:00pm at SMF Field in Saskatoon. It’s the lone game coming up this week in the PFC.
- The Winnipeg Rifles (3-1) handed the Calgary Colts (1-3) their third loss in a row with a 42-22 victory at IG Field.
- The Edmonton Huskies (4-0) remain undefeated shutting-out their cross-town rivals, Edmonton Wildcats (0-4) 33-0.
A Canadian To Watch In The NCAA
Amen Ogbongbemiga – LB
Oklahoma State University
Hometown – Calgary, AB
Class – Rs-Fr.
The redshirt freshman saw his first action with the Cowboys this past weekend. Ogbongbemiga picked up three solo tackles in OSU’s win over Tulsa. He was one of the top recruited players in Canada in 2015 on the defensive side of the football. He older brother is Edmonton Eskimo, Alex Ogbongbemiga.
What To Do Between Games This Week
Over the past nine-weeks, Out of the Tunnel has given you something to do between games. With games on TV and those you can go watch (at all levels) there isn’t a day of the week that will go by without a game.
With that, good luck to 104 Saskatchewan high school football teams as they embark on another season. The bulk of the schedule on all fronts (6-man, 9-man, 12-man Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Regina leagues) starts this weekend.