Monday, October 16, 2017
OUT OF THE TUNNEL FOR PIZZA, PIZZA
By: RodPedersen.com Staff
If you were told that the Green & White were in the redzone nine times and only punted twice all game, it would be safe to assume that would be enough for the win. But (we offer you the saying that everything said before “BUT” is B.S.) of those nine entries into the red zone, the result was only a pair of touchdowns, six field goals and a Jonathan Rose interception in the end zone. It all added up to a 33-32 comeback win for Ottawa over Saskatchewan.
Granted that's still 32 points, and for as well as the Rider defence has played the last couple of months, it should have been enough to seal the victory against a Redblacks team that will finish the season under .500.
So, what did happen? Simply put, the Riders couldn’t cash in on their multiple opportunities and allowed Ottawa to hang on like grim death for three-and-a-half quarters before finally coming alive late in the fourth.
Ottawa is much better than their 7-9-1 record states and are looking more like the defending Grey Cup champs than they did when the Riders visited Ottawa just a few weeks back. Quarterback Trevor Harris returned to form in the second half and looked fully recovered from a shoulder injury he suffered on September 9th against Hamilton.
The Redblacks were able to protect Harris, they took some chances (Brett Maher’s successful fake punt), converted on every opportunity given to them (interception return for a TD) and in the end the Riders didn’t step on Ottawa’s throat when they had the chance.
Let’s hope this is a tough lesson that the Green & White will learn from.
To be successful in the final three games of the regular season and into the playoffs, if the opportunity to put a team away is presented to them, THEY MUST take advantage of it.
It is not all doom and gloom for the Riders. All they need is a win or a B.C. loss and they return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Plus, the offence is looking like it’s starting to get back into form and the special teams look great.
The remaining three games will be a great litmus test of where this team is at heading into the post-season. It starts Friday night in Calgary. The last time the Riders visited the Stampeders, it was a nightmare. The 27-10 loss looked a lot better on the scoreboard than it should have. Kevin Glenn was sacked five times in the first half and the offence could generate just 252 total yards.
To knock off the Stampeders for the first time at home this season would send a message to the rest of the CFL that the Riders will be incredibly difficult to deal with in the playoffs.
GETZ IS BACK
Fans caught a glimpse of him on the field Friday night wearing 84 and not the customary 89 during 2007 Grey Cup team celebrations. That was a bit of a throwback for Getzlaf as 84 was his number the first year he came to the Riders which coincidentally was the year they broke their lengthy Grey Cup drought. Fans will now get to see him back on the field for real as the Green & White signed the veteran receiver this weekend and should bolster a beat up Canadian receiving core. If he does see the field, it will be interesting to see what number he will wear because Duron Carter has put 89 to good use already this season.
- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers all but sewed up a home playoff date with their 26-20 victory over the B.C. Lions on Saturday, but it wasn’t all rosy. Maurice Leggett will be out the for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles suffered when he recovered a short kick at the tail end of the game. The 31-year-old linebacker was more than likely going to be their team nominee for defensive MVP and will be a huge hole to fill for the Bombers.
- It’s all but over for the Lions but it’s not their defence’s fault. They held Matt Nichols and the Bomber offence out of the end zone and limited them to just 262 total yards. After the roaring start the Lions had to the season, there will be a lot of questions for Wally Buono to answer about his team in this off-season.
- The Edmonton Eskimos are now winners of back-to-back games with their 30-27 road win in Toronto. Mike Reilly now has a full assortment of tools at his disposal. With Derel Walker returning to form after his NFL shot, Brandon Zylstra turning into one of the top young receivers in the game and the addition of C.J. Gable to the backfield have been a boon for the offence. The glaring omission is Adarius Bowman. The veteran receiver has just 29 catches for 293 yards this season with just a single 100-yard effort.
It was a wild semi-final Sunday in the PFC and when the dust settled, it will be an all-Saskatchewan final.
The Regina Thunder went on the road and upset the Edmonton Huskies 24-21 at Clarke Park in Edmonton. Regina trailed 11-4 after the first half but outpaced the Huskies in the second half to get to their fourth PFC Championship game.
They will face the Saskatoon Hilltops who outlasted the visiting Winnipeg Rifles 28-21. Logan Fischer led the way for the Hilltops with 105 yards on the ground in the victory.
This is Saskatoon’s 11th-straight PFC final and the fourth time they will face the Thunder. The last time was in 2013 when Regina won 21-16 en route to their only Canadian Bowl title.
CANADA WEST DIARY
The Regina Rams (4-2) needed a little extra time, but in the end, they clinched a playoff berth with a 58-55 victory over a much improving Alberta Golden Bears team. Atlee Simon ran roughshod over the Golden Bear defence with 206 yards rushing and a touchdown while adding another 59 yards receiving and two more scores. Ed Ilnicki matched Simon on the ground with 201 yards rushing for Alberta (who fell to 1-5 with the loss).
It was too little too late for the Saskatchewan Huskies. The UBC Thunderbirds held off the visiting Huskies 29-25 despite letting up 23-fourth quarter points. Michael O’Connor threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the winning effort. With the victory, UBC (4-2) stays tied with the Rams for second in the Canada West, while the Huskies (2-4) dropped their fourth in a row and are just one game ahead of both the Manitoba Bisons and Alberta Golden Bears for fourth.
The Manitoba Bisons (1-5) gave the number two team in the country all they could handle, but in the end, the Calgary Dinos (6-0) escaped Winnipeg with the 36-27 victory. Manitoba led 27-20 heading into the fourth quarter, but it was all Calgary in the final frame with 16-straight points. Defence led the way for Canada West’s top team with four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Saturday, October 21st (All times local):
UBC at Manitoba 2:00pm
Saskatchewan at Alberta 1:00pm
Calgary at Regina 2:00pm
A CANADIAN TO WATCH IN THE NCAA
Brendan O’Leary-Orange – Rec
University of Nevada
Hometown – Toronto, Ont.
Class – Rs-Soph.
After seeing limited action as a redshirt freshman, O’Leary-Orange is having a solid sophomore year with the Wolfpack. The Toronto native broke out Saturday night in a 44-42 loss to Colorado State. He had four catches for 111-yards and his first NCAA touchdown.
Brendan has a great football pedigree. His father, Doyle O’Leary-Orange played in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Ti-Cats.