|(Photo: Pedersen Media Inc.)|
By: RodPedersen.com Staff
A SETBACK IN WINNIPEG
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 48-28 Banjo Bowl victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders had multiple narratives. For the Green & White, the obvious was the 20-point defeat.
The loss dropped the Riders to .500 and sealed the season series in favour of the Bombers 2-1.
It was frighteningly familiar how the Bombers did it. During their three-game winning streak, Saskatchewan won with big plays on defence and special teams to power them to overwhelming victories. This is exactly what Winnipeg did to win in Week 12.
Football is a complicated game that can be boiled down to a couple of simple things: win the turnover battle and control the line of scrimmage.
Let’s look at what the Riders did in their three-game winning streak over B.C., Edmonton and Winnipeg
- Riders were +12 in the turnover margin (16-4)
- 57 points were created off the 16 forced turnovers to their opponents' 8
- Creating points off of great special teams play (Willie Jefferson’s punt block/score and Nic Demski’s 63-yard return to set up a short TD drive on Labour Day)
- The Riders never trailed at any point in those three games
In this game, it was Winnipeg who won the turnover battle (3-1), points off turnovers (7-0 courtesy of the Maurice Leggett third quarter 54-yard interception return for a TD) and special teams (Leggett with the 97-yard punt return score in the second quarter/and scoring on the short field after fielding a Rider onside kick).
The Bombers also got to quarterbacks Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge, while their offensive line took care of the Rider front-seven.
The Saskatchewan offence created some fireworks with the 75-yard touchdown to Naaman Roosevelt and an 88-yard score by Duron Carter. If you take away those two big plays (and to be frank, Out of the Tunnel hates to do this because many games are won by big plays -- but here we go) there was just 308 yards of offence and 14-points through the rest of the game.
The biggest potential setback is the injured hand of quarterback Kevin Glenn. He left in the third quarter with an injured throwing hand and never returned. Sunday had some good news as he was all smiles while signing autographs (with his throwing hand) at the CCMA’s in Saskatoon and that will give fans hope of a quick return.
Glenn is a potential CFL MOP and would be a huge loss even if it’s for just one game, BUT -- this team is built to win with anyone running the offence. Friday night in Hamilton could see Glenn back behind center, but if it’s Brandon Bridge or Vernon Adams Jr., the Riders should be fine. They just go back to their keys to success: create big plays on defence, solid special teams play and the offence needs to get the ball into the hands of their many playmakers.
As we look back to how the 2017 season unfolds, a bright spot will be this five game stretch that just finished up. It was looking bleak heading in, but after three wins over West division foes, the Riders have put themselves in position for a run at a playoff spot in November.
- It pains many to admit it, but having the Winnipeg Blue Bombers playing great football and packing the house is nothing but a positive for the league and … for the Riders. After many miserable years of football, it is a welcome sight to have Winnipeg fans falling back in love with their football team.
- The Riders will not have the free spot on the bingo card on Friday facing a now streaking Hamilton Tiger-Cats. After losing (many of them badly) eight straight to begin the season the Ti-Cats have now won back-to-back games via their 26-22 victory in Ottawa. It was a very old-school way to win a football game for the Ti-Cats … a balanced offence. With 147 yards on the ground and 222 through the air, all while their defence slowed Trevor Harris and a very dynamic Redblacks offence. It will be a very interesting night in Steeltown.
- Calgary continues to rule the roost in the CFL escaping Edmonton with their seventh straight win (25-22) over the Eskimos. Edmonton had a chance to tie on the final play of regulation, but Chris Milo missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. Edmonton will now try to end their four-game losing streak in Toronto this week while Calgary has another huge West Division battle hosting the B.C. Lions.
Canada West Diary
The Saskatchewan Huskies upped their record to 2-0 with a 43-17 victory over the Alberta Golden Bears (0-2) at Griffiths Stadium. It was close at halftime with the Huskies holding the 14-6 lead, but touchdown receptions by Samuel Baker, Mitch Hillis and Evan Kopchynski were a part of a 29 point second half explosion. Huskie Quarterback Kyle Siemens completed 19 passes for 271 yards and five touchdowns.
The Calgary Dinos (2-0) opened their home part of the schedule with 533 yards of offence knocking off the Regina Rams (1-1) 46-26. Jeshrun Antwi rolled up 114 yards rushing for the Dinos while Adam Sinagra threw for 350 yards and three scores. Noah Picton was solid in the loss with 300 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
UBC (1-1) finished week two by picking up the 32-18 win at Thunderbird Stadium over the Manitoba Bisons (0-2). The T-Birds used a solid running game led by Ben Cummings (145 yards), and by stopping the Bison run game, allowing just 24 yards on 18 attempts.
Saturday September 16th
Calgary at Manitoba (noon)
Alberta at Regina (2:00pm)
Saskatchewan at UBC (6:00pm)
The battle of Saskatchewan was the lone game on the schedule this week and it was a beauty! The Regina Thunder scored 15 fourth quarter points to escape SMF Field in Saskatoon with the 29-26 win over the Hilltops. Sawyer Bittner had the magic hand for the Thunder going 33/40 for 374 yards and a couple of scores. His favourite target was Levi Paul with 10 catches for 120 yards. For the Hilltops, Ryan Turple and Sam Mike each had over 100 yards receiving.
The Thunder victory puts them in a three-way tie for second in the PJFC with Saskatoon and the Winnipeg Rifles.
Saturday September 16th:
Edmonton Huskies at Edmonton Wildcats (7:00pm)
Winnipeg Rifles at Regina Thunder (7:00pm)
Sunday September 17th:
Saskatoon Hilltops at Calgary Colts (1:00pm)
A Canadian to Watch in the NCAA
Chase Claypool – WR
University of Notre Dame
Hometown – Abbotsford, B.C.
Class – Soph.
As a true freshman in 2016 with the Fighting Irish, Claypool played in all 12 games grabbing five receptions for 81 yards. Claypool is only the eighth Canadian to play for Notre Dame and the first out of a Canadian high school to sign since Bill Mitoulas in 1994. Claypool had a catch for 16 yards in the Fighting Irish’s season opener against the Temple Owls in week one of the NCAA season.