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Monday, October 23, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL


By: RodPedersen.com Staff

“Statement game” is an overused cliché in sports but it perfectly sums up the Saskatchewan Roughriders' 30-7 victory in Calgary on Friday night.

The fifth road win of the year sealed a playoff spot for the Green and White for the first time since 2014. With it came the end of a bunch of Stampeder streaks including: an 11-game winning streak (last loss was week two in Montreal), 16-game winning streak against the West Division (last loss was week one last season in B.C.), 19-game undefeated streak at home and 13-game winning streak against West Division teams at home (a 15-11 loss to Edmonton on October 10, 2015 in Calgary was the start of both of those streaks).

The game was won with the Riders biggest strength, big plays on special teams and defence.

It began with a Christion Jones' 61-yard punt return touchdown in the early moments of the second quarter. The third quarter saw a Kamar Jorden fumble (forced by Henoc Muamba who may be the unsung hero of the defence this season) which was returned to the Stampeder three-yard-line by Jovon Johnson which was punched in three plays later for a score. Then the capper, a scintillating Duron Carter interception return for a touchdown which was the final nail in the Stampeder coffin.

This is the way the Riders have won most of their games this season and will be the way they need to win games from here and throughout the playoffs. It’s a razor's edge because being a counter-punch team is tough. If their opponent isn’t turning the ball over and is solid on special teams, it ends up being a grind to find victory for the Riders.

There is hope for the maligned offence and that is their running game. To pile up 150 yards on the ground against the Stampeders is quite the feat, and to do it with a pair of dynamic running backs (Cameron Marshall/Trent Richardson) is even better. It’s a luxury the Riders haven’t had in a while.

One last note from Friday's game, and that is from the post-game comments from Head Coach Chris Jones. He emphatically stated that Kevin Glenn is his starting quarterback. To have your coach's support is one thing, but having such a short leash is another.

Friday night was the third time in the last five games that Glenn has been pulled with some pretty good success. Bridge led the Riders to wins in Calgary and in Toronto while not being able to pull it out of the fire September 24th at Mosaic Stadium against Calgary.

So, for now ... Kevin Glenn is your starting quarterback, at least until his short leash is yanked.

/=S=/

This week was a microcosm of Duron Carter’s career: emotional outbursts from a player with an incredible personality topped off with incredible play on the field.

Fights happen in practice. Back when pads and hitting was the norm, there were many more altercations than there are today. If it wasn’t Duron Carter, no one would care. But a not very well sourced tweet from afar stirred the pot (day one of journalism school says a reporter should always double or even triple source one’s information and well ... let's just say it doesn't feel like that happened).

The Riders circled the wagons and the week finished with Carter playing the Randy Quaid character from Independence Day saying “Up yooouuuurrrrssss!!!” to the rest of the CFL.

In a league devoid of personality, Carter’s outlandish character is so desperately needed as is his incredible play on the field. The Rider staff has done a great job corralling his emotions this season, but there have been a few on-field hiccups. If Carter and the coaching staff can keep them to a minimum, while still encouraging his addicting personality, it will be a win for the team and the CFL.

CFL Notes:

As it stands right now, there are only two playoff scenarios remaining to be ironed out:

- Ottawa trails Toronto by one point for first in the East. Both teams just have one game left. Ottawa hosts Hamilton this week and Toronto finishes week 20 with a visit to Vancouver.

- Edmonton leads Saskatchewan by two points for third in the West. The Eskimos have a difficult trail to keep third nailed down with Calgary coming to town this week and then finishing at Mosaic Stadium on November 4th.

The Riders host Montreal (in what may be an early Halloween massacre) this Friday night and it will probably come down to the final game of the season against the Eskimos to figure things out (a November game that means something in Rider Nation ... it's been awhile since we've had one of those!).

Saying this halfway through the season would seem ridiculous, but the easier road may be through the West. Calgary and Winnipeg are beat up and both Toronto and Ottawa are playing their best football of the year. So be careful what you wish for when figuring out the best route to the Grey Cup.


PFC Wrap:

Wanda Harron Photography
A big congrats to the Saskatoon Hilltops. Their 34-26 home victory over the Regina Thunder on Sunday was their ninth PFC title in the past 11 years.

The Hilltop ground game was the difference Sunday afternoon at SMF Field in Saskatoon. Adam Machart had 206 of the Hilltops 297 rushing yards and all four touchdowns were along the ground.

Next up for the Hilltops are the Vancouver Island Raiders. They went on the road in the BC Conference Cullen Cup final and knocked off the Westshore Rebels 21-7. The Canadian Bowl semi-final is this weekend at SMF Field.

The winner of that will face the winner of the Ontario Conference final that pits the Hamilton Hurricanes against the Windsor AKO Fratmen. Just as a point of reference, the Hurricanes lost to the Regina Thunder (61-1) and Edmonton Wildcats (40-37) earlier this year while the Fratmen lost to the Edmonton Huskies (30-7).


Canada West Diary:

The Calgary Dinos raced to a 24-0 lead at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday afternoon and held off the Regina Rams 42-30 in the marquee game of the Canada West week. The Rams climbed to within five points late in the game before Jeshrun Antwi sealed it with a late touchdown. The victory sealed first place and home field advantage through the Canada West playoffs for the Dinos. The Rams need a win next week in Vancouver against the UBC Thunderbirds to host a semi-final game.

The Thunderbirds escaped Winnipeg with a 17-16 victory over a much-improved Manitoba Bisons squad. All-Canadian defensive back Stavros Katsantonis had three interceptions to lead the way for the Thunderbirds. They can seal up second spot with a win over the Regina Rams next week.

The Saskatchewan Huskies are making their playoff lives very difficult on themselves falling to the Alberta Golden Bears 49-23 at Foote Field in Edmonton. The win put the Golden Bears into a tie with the Huskies for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Canada West. It was the Huskies fifth straight loss after starting the season 2-0. It will all come down to the final weekend of the season and a myriad of mathematical equations to figure out who will take the fourth and final playoff spot.

This week:
Saturday, October 28th (All times local):
Alberta at Calgary 1:00pm
Regina at UBC 1:00pm
Manitoba at Saskatchewan 7:00pm

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA
Patrice Rene - BD
North Carolina
6’2” 200lbs.
Hometown – Ottawa, Ont.
Class – Soph.

Originally from Ottawa, Patrice Rene finished his high school football career at Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia before heading to Chapel Hill.
As a freshman with the Tar Heels, Rene played in all 11 games while starting in five. He started this season at corner for North Carolina and in seven games he has 16 total tackles and two tackles for a loss.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

22 comments:

Quirky DM said...

Isn't there a third playoff scenario to iron out? Edmonton is still in the fight for second in the west- they have to win out and Winnipeg has to lose both games, but it's still there.

Anonymous said...

Rod, you'd better get your staff in line. Without actually naming him your staff is questioning the ethics of your buddy Arash.

"But a not very well sourced tweet from afar stirred the pot (day one of journalism school says a reporter should always double or even triple source one’s information and well ... let's just say it doesn't feel like that happened)."

Rod Pedersen said...

YOU'D better mind you own business.

RP

Anonymous said...

...and it was the first time Bo Levi lost to the Riders, he was 7-0 going into the game. Another streak squashed. What a great night it was!

Anonymous said...

Some people like to play on both sides of the fence. When the info is right we are in bed with three down nation. When the info is wrong it's a tap on the wrist for those bad journalists.

Which way you want to be?

Rod Pedersen said...

I want to be NOT anonymous. Because that's the most cowardly thing in the world. Right Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

The Hilltops will win in all in the PFC and nationally. I wonder why they even play theb games at all. The Thunder have been also rans for so long that it's getting old. It would appear that all levels i.e. players, coaching, recruitment etc, the Thunder just don't measure up. Maybe they should revamp the entire organization and find people who actually can win it all. Since the Rams moved up to the University rans, Regina has been the epitome of mediocre in the Jr football world.

Anonymous said...

Block him out rod

Chad Cronk said...

Declaring Glenn the starter is pure genius. Teams now have to prepare two defensive schemes instead of one because both QBs give such different looks. This is exactly what happened to Calgary - they prepared a high-pressure defence for Glenn and then had to revert to a "plain vanilla" defence when Bridge came out. If our o-line can tighten up a little more there's no telling how much success the Riders can have.

Lastly, if Duron Carter was such a bad teammate, would opt to sacrifice his offensive stats in favour of playing defence? I think DC is the most misunderstood player; except by the team.

Anonymous said...

Bobby The Brain Heenan considered himself a Broadcast Journalist and Gorilla Monsoon would say I want to see your credentials. The fact is nobody knows the scoop or the story is until the story actually is done.

I could tell you Chris Jones will be running the B.C Lions next year is that gossip, fact, a done deal? Nope.

Bill Eng said...

The Hilltops - Thunder game was a great showcase for all of amateur football in SK. Both teams showed passion and to win. Through the many many volunteer hours, the high school coaches (mostly teachers) helped develop these young men on both teams. Losing really really stings. However, to the Thunder football club, congratulations on a great year.
The high school coaches give a proud salute to the Hilltop and Thunder players and coaches for an outstanding display of football. What atmosphere!

Ken Wasden said...

Junior football in Saskatchewan is second to none. Two solid programs with the Hilltops and Thunder. It starts with minor football programs and coaches, then high school. It takes a big commitment to play post secondary football. Congrats to all players in the PFC.

Anonymous said...

Duron Carter is the MOP of this team and it likely isn't even close.

Anonymous said...

I too have become a huge fan of Carter.love him on my team :-). I can see how his celebrations might rub some stiffs the wrong way but u cannot deny his talent despite some early season drops and such. Wow what a player and to see him smile and interact with fans and kids. Just loves to play and the talent is spilling out of his ears!! He gets My vote for MOP . Rosey is lights out good but seems like Carter is still getting better! At every position! Gainey might get some attention here too but..

Anonymous said...

For Duron Carter to move to defense speaks to his character and selflessness. Players are graded on their statistics. He is foregoing padded stats and I truly hope the Roughriders are recognizing this. It's been a long time since I've said, "Okay this is my favorite" player, but in this era of Rider football Duron Carter is it.

As for Kevin Glenn he knows he has a legitimate shot at a Grey Cup with this team and he is smart enough to fall in line.

Anonymous said...

Whoa whoa whoa whoa! stop right there folks with all the adulation on one fantastic phenom all world out of this world one kind wonder player and that he is and more. You don't want him ailienated from the rest of team on an island by himself. Football a team sport. I bet Duron can throw a touchdown to himself easy peasey if Mr. Everything Chris Jones let's him, you know he can.

Doovy 49 said...

The fight at last weeks practice was small peanuts and should never have been reported. Arash Madani was in New York covering baseball at the time and why he thought it prudent to embellish a little scruffle at a football practice in Regina Sask escapes me. Surely there was something more interesting in New York City. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I agree that playoffs in the West are the Riders best route to the Cup. Aside from the injury situation and recent record of the teams both east and west are the travel logistics. To go east and then either plan on staying (again) or coming home and then going east for the East Final is no easy feat. If we can run the table against Montreal and Edmonton, then we stay in the west, and have a legitimate shot at the Cup. We can win anywhere in the West.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous as in the writer(s) of this column? (Just couldn't resist) Some of us appreciate that we don't have to give out our Google profiles if we don't have to. Thanks for that.
LF

3RD and 1 said...

This “better get your staff in line” sounds like something D.D. of M.E. would send in to Rod. Simply because when Riders fans and Rider coaches alike had said the dust up was nothing. Along comes a story from D.D. of M.E. calling Rider fans wussy’s to want to move on from the story. Instead Davis writes an article that it is a big deal and a big distraction. Well Darell; I would suggest you were completely wrong and Rider fans and 620 were right. It was nothing and the Riders went into Calgary and dismantled the Stamps.
Why do competing stations always try to bring down players or coaches or the team for that matter. Do they feel it’s their duty to be a negative influence on the team? It sure seems that way.

Anonymous said...

I agree... I’m not sure why Darell Davis feels he has to try to be a Captain Obvious. When the fact of the matter became he was Captain Obviously Not!
If the head coach says it was nothing, Rider players said it was nothing, Rod Pedersen wittnessed it and said it was nothing. Luc Mullinder psycho analyzed it and said it was nothing. Rider fans at the practise said it was nothing and 99% of Rider listeners said its nothing let’s move on. Yet 1 sports writer from another station tries to make something very negative out of it. Only to witness a fired up Rider football team play well together and stop every streak that Calgary was on with a sound victory over the stamps on their own turf.
Man that felt almost as sweet as the 2013 Western final.
I would suggest that Darell Davis write about what he sees right in front of him. Instead of trying to bring down one of the Riders best players. Blaming Durin for something Davis knew nothing about except a tweet from Arash who was in the Eastern US of A.

Reg of Reg, SK.

Anonymous said...

"Pure Genius" is a stretch. If it were so foolproof everyone with Qb's that have different styles would do it. Its more of a necessity given the current QB situation, whatwith Glenn's moderate success and Bridge's inexperience.