Monday, September 24, 2018
OUT OF THE TUNNEL: LAUTHER FOR M.O.P.
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF
There was a lot of good in Saturday's 30-29 Roughriders win at Toronto but still the same old problems popping up. In the end however, it was a solid team win on the road. Sure, it looked like the game was in peril, but all three facets of the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster had to step up at different times in their victory over the Argos at BMO Field.
Offensively, the Green & White were clicking on all cylinders in the first half scoring all three of the touchdowns, tying a season high (the other was the Labour Day Classic). However, it was a tale of two games.
In the first half, Zach Collaros was solid with 141 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception. The second half was the polar opposite with Collaros completing just 5/11 for 92 yards and an interception. The offence as a whole had 245 of their 377 yards (bolstered by the scintillating Marcus Thigpen 82-yard touchdown run) in the first half, and completely sputtered in the second.
The other highlight was Naaman Roosevelt picking up his first 100-yard receiving game since last season’s Banjo Bowl.
So it was left in the hands of the defence and a "miss" by Argos kicker Zachary Medeiros on a potentially game-winning 51-yard field goal in the dying seconds. It wasn’t the usual Saskatchewan Roughriders defence that produced several turnovers (league leaders in points off turnovers); this was a bend-but-don’t-break version of the Rider defence.
The Toronto Argos had just five possessions in the second half with four of them ending in scoring plays, but most of that happened between the 30’s. This left the game on the foot of Argos kicker Zack Medeiros who - fortunately for Saskatchewan - missed a pair of field goals in the 4th quarter.
To win football games in the final third of the season and into the playoffs, this is the way the defence will have to play. In football, everything evens out. There will still be huge plays on defence, but not to the amount that it happened in the first 12 games of the season. That’s why this game was a good sign heading into the playoffs.
With everything being so even between both teams on Saturday night, Lauther, like in many games this season, was the difference.
Charleston Hughes was on pace to break the Rider record for sacks in a season (22) but has slowed down the last few weeks. Marcus Thigpen has been the Riders' homerun hitter and may be the top offensive player. Sam Eguavoen will be the nominee for top defensive player and is putting together a resume that will give him a shot at the NFL.
But week after week, it’s been Lauther. His 92.9% field goal accuracy is on track to set the Rider record (Dave Ridgway with 90.6% in 1993) and if it wasn’t for Ottawa’s Lewis Ward’s insane 97% pace, Lauther would also have a shot at the CFL record from 2013 when Rene Parades was 94.7%.
Out of the Tunnel doesn’t know if a kicker has been named a Rider nominee for CFL’s Most Outstanding player. That list isn’t anywhere to be found on the team website or in the last few printed guides. The closest we can find is David Ridgway being voted the Riders Most Popular Player in 1988.
But there is precedent for a kicker as a league MVP in the NFL.
In the strike shortened 1982 NFL season, Washington Redskins kicker Mark Mosely was named the NFL’s top player. The interesting part is that the Redskins were strikingly similar to the 2018 Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Redskins were the NFL’s top ranked defence and held their opponents to under 20 points in 11 of the 13 games that season.
Mosely hit 20/21 of his field goals and a handful of them were game-winners. All of this helped the Redskins to a Super Bowl victory.
Calling for a kicker as an MVP may feel strange, but it’s not unprecedented.
The Riders are now 8-5 and will more than likely pick up their ninth win of the season next Sunday in Montreal. These two games against the league’s worst teams may be the perfect cure to their offensive woes before a string of four straight against the West prior to playoffs.
AROUND THE CFL
Everything that could go wrong this week for the Edmonton Eskimos did. They looked downright awful at times on both sides of the football in their 28-15 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday. Don’t let the score fool you. If Ottawa could have a little more first half redzone success, this would have been ugly.
With the loss, the Eskimos find themselves now in third, and, with both Winnipeg and B.C. winning, they are now just two points up on both.
The B.C. Lions have come out of nowhere to make some noise in the CFL West. Many thought the loss of Travis Lulay was a harbinger of doom, but under the guidance of Jonathan Jennings, they may have turned things around.
Somehow, some way, Jennings and the B.C. offence kept in the game before finally tying things with a touchdown pass to Byron Burnham on the final play and then picking up the two-point conversion to send it to overtime. That’s where B.C. was able to seal it and keep their playoff hopes alive.
With injuries all over the Winnipeg Blue Bomber roster, the final season with Wally Buono at the helm of the Lions may creep deeper into November.
This Week in Canada West:
The Saskatchewan Huskies (3-1) were left for dead at the dawn of the 2018 Canada West season, picked last by the other five teams in the coach’s rankings. With their 33-20 win over the Regina Rams (2-2) at Griffiths Stadium on Friday night, the Huskies paved an easier road to host one of the Hardy Cup semi-final games.
The Huskies held a 30-3 lead late in the third quarter before the Rams made it close in garbage time. Offensively, it was an even dose along the ground and through the air (283 passing/188 rushing) while the Huskie defence picked Noah Picton three times with the Jacob Solie 64-yard interception return for a touchdown providing the dagger late in the first half.
The Manitoba Bisons (2-2) won their second in as many weeks over the Alberta Golden Bears (0-4) taking things on the road 37-27 at Foote Field. It was a back-and-forth affair with the difference being the legs of running back Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette. The former Regina Thunder ran for 133 yards and a score in the victory.
It wasn’t much of a homecoming for the UBC Thunderbirds (1-3). The T-Birds were up 28-18 in the fourth quarter when the Calgary Dinos (4-0) ripped the heart out of the almost 10,000 fans at Thunderbird Stadium with back-to-back touchdowns and escaped with the 32-28 victory.
Week 5 Schedule:
Friday, September 28th
UBC Thunderbirds @ Alberta Golden Bears 7:00pm (Foote Field)
Saturday, September 29th
Regina Rams @ Manitoba Bisons 2:00pm (IG Field)
Saskatchewan Huskies @ Calgary Dinos 1:00pm (McMahon Stadium)
This Week in the PFC:
The Regina Thunder trailed Canada’s top junior football team, the Saskatoon Hilltops 21-17 at the half and there was some momentum heading into the locker room.
The second half was all Hilltops as they cruised to their fifth straight victory, 48-24. The 24 points doubled the amount of points against for the Hilltops, but they have scored over 35 points in every game this season.
The loss dropped the Thunder to 2-3 and into a three-way tie for third with the Winnipeg Rifles and Edmonton Wildcats. The ‘Cats picked up their second win of the season and second over the Calgary Colts with the 50-9 victory. The final game of the weekend saw the Edmonton Huskies up their record to 4-1 and seal up second in the PFC by beating the Rifles.
Sunday, September 30th
Calgary Colts @ Winnipeg Rifles 1:00pm (Foote Field)
Edmonton Huskies @ Saskatoon Hilltops 1:00pm (SMF Field)
Edmonton Wildcats @ Regina Thunder 1:00pm (Mosaic Stadium)
Tight End – New Mexico
North Vancouver, B.C.
High School – Chaminade Prep
Dickey (who legally changed his name from Lenius in the spring) is a former Washington Husky who is a graduate transfer and now playing for the New Mexico Lobos.
Dickey has also made the switch from wide receiver to tight end and has been slow to contribute to the Lobos offence but is starting to come around. In their 42-25 win this past weekend over their state rival, New Mexico State Dickey had two catches for 25 yards in a run-oriented offence.
Look for Dickey to climb CFL Central Scouting’s 2019 list in the coming weeks.
(By RodPedersen.com Staff)