CFL Preview - British Columbia (2-0) at Saskatchewan (2-0)|
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, July 14, 3:00 p.m. (et)
GAME NOTES: Expected to be a leading contender again this season after winning
the 99th Grey Cup on their home turf in November, the British Columbia Lions
find themselves fighting to remain undefeated against the only other perfect
program after two weeks of action.
Saskatchewan has somehow managed to stay out of the loss column thus far, but
the Roughriders will be seriously tested by the Lions at Mosaic Stadium on
By no means a fashionable pick to dominate the league in 2012, the Riders did
impose their will on visiting Edmonton on Sunday as they limited the Eskimos
to a scant one point in a 16-point triumph.
The Saskatchewan defense suffocated an Edmonton offense which is still trying
to figure out how to put all the piece together. The Esks registered just 11
first downs and generated a meager 188 yards of total offense which is
generally what teams have by halftime in a league that is predicated so much
on spreading the field and stretching defenses on every play.
Based on the scores produced by the other six teams in the league during the
second week of action, the Riders would have easily lost to every other
competitor because they were not all that impressive themselves. Quarterback
Darian Durant converted a modest 20-of-32 for 203 yards, but he failed to
record a major and was sacked four times.
Kory Sheets scored the lone major of the contest, a 34-yard run to the end
zone in the fourth quarter. Other than that, the Roughriders counted on kicker
Chris Milo to carry the load, which he did by knocking through a couple of
field goals and singles.
Making slightly more sense was the 39-36 win posted by British Columbia at
home versus Hamilton during the second week. The Lions took control of the
meeting between the second and third quarters when they outscored the Tiger-
Cats 26-0 and then held on in the final period to move to 2-0.
Travis Lulay converted 17-of-31 for 178 yards and a couple of scoring strikes
to Shawn Gore, but it was the running game that controlled the action for the
Lions and led them onto victory. After becoming the league's all-time leader
in receiving yards in the first game of the season, Geroy Simon took a backseat
from all the attention and tallied three catches for 33 yards.
Andrew Harris registered a one-yard TD run late in the second frame and
finished the meeting with a game-high 147 yards on 13 attempts. Also not to be
overlooked was kicker Paul McCallum who booted through three of his four field
goal attempts and finished with 13 points for the home team.
During the third period Tim Brown earned some recognition for the BC special
teams as he returned a punt 81 yards to the end zone.
Linebacker Adam Bighill played big for the Lions defense, racking up nine
total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble as he earned CFL Defensive
Player of the Week honors.
With 194 yards on the ground to this point, Harris leads the league in rushing
which is rather important since Lulay hasn't exactly lit up the sky with a
dominating passing attack. Granted, running the ball has never been a huge
indicator for winning in the CFL, but as long as Harris and the Lions can
force opponents like Saskatchewan to have to plan for such an attack, Lulay may
find some holes in the defense further down the field.
The same could be said for Sheets of the Riders, seeing as how he is tied for
third in the league with 149 rushing yards. Durant can swing to the extremes
as much as any player, so getting an extra moment in the pocket because of the
presence of Sheets could be the difference between completed passes to
teammates like Weston Dressler and lost opportunities
In a relationship that dates back to 1954, the Roughriders own a 90-80-4
advantage in regular-season matchups with BC. However, the Lions not only won
the most recent meeting, 29-18, here in Regina last October, the squad has
also captured four straight over Saskatchewan and six of the last nine
There are three more dates remaining on the schedule between the teams
following this week's encounter, with BC entertaining on August 19 and
November 3 (the regular-season finale) and the Riders hosting a September 29
The Roughriders were lucky to escape with a win last week given the
circumstances and by no means should they expect a team like the Lions to be
quite as accommodating.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 36, Saskatchewan 22
07/11 11:27:00 ET