CFL Preview - British Columbia (7-4) at Saskatchewan (8-3)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, September 22, 4:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Geroy Simon will try to make history on Sunday against his former
mates when the Saskatchewan Roughriders challenge the visiting British
Columbia Lions at Mosaic Stadium.
Simon, who spent a dozen years as a member of the Lions after he broke into
the league with Winnipeg, is on the verge of becoming the CFL's all-time
leader in receptions, needing just five more to match Ben Cahoon who set the
mark with 1,017 receptions just a few years ago. Already the all-time leader
in receiving yards with 16,128, Simon had five grabs last week for the
Roughriders, but still the team came up short against Toronto at home, 31-29.
Saskatchewan, a winner in eight of the first nine games this season, has now
dropped back-to-back decisions which means the squad has fallen to second
place in the West Division standings behind streaking Calgary.
The Riders were led by quarterback Darian Durant who completed 24-of-49 passes
for 369 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also picked off three times and
suffered two sacks. One of those takedowns behind the line of scrimmage came
on a late two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the score and
possibly sent the meeting into overtime.
Durant tossed a pair of TDs to Chris Getzlaf who reeled in five balls for 133
yards, but still Simon garnered more than enough attention as he closed in on
the all-time receptions record and made a spectacular one-handed grab during
Despite the efforts of Durant, Getzlaf and Simon, there were more than a few
sour notes played by the Riders, namely their 16 penalties for a loss of 163
yards. The other bad news came when league-leading running back Kory Sheets
went down with a right knee sprain and did not return to action.
On Tuesday it was announced that Sheets would miss this weekend's matchup,
which means the Riders have to find a replacement for a player who had
compiled 1,222 yards and eight touchdowns on 213 rushing attempts through 11
games. When it comes to the second-best option for running the ball in
Saskatchewan, Durant has the most yards with 249 yards. However, a more
telling stat might be that no one else on the roster has scored a rushing
touchdown this year other than Sheets.
While the Roughriders are trying to figure out their next move when finding a
replacement for Sheets, the Lions have similar issues concerning their
quarterback. During BC's lopsided 36-14 win over Montreal on Sunday, Travis
Lulay went down with a shoulder injury and never returned, not that the Lions
needed him with their significant scoring margin.
Lulay scored a touchdown on a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter and was
visibly shaken up after hitting the turf. He favored his arm coming off the
field as medical staff tended to him. The signal caller finished 19-of-28 for
197 yards through the air and it was recently announced that Lulay will most
likely miss the next two weeks while he heals.
British Columbia, which has alternated wins and losses over the last five
outings, is now third in the West Division standings with a record of 7-4
overall, just two points behind the Riders and four off the pace set by the
Stampeders. The Lions will try to pick up ground over the next couple of weeks
with quite possibly Thomas DeMarco as the starter at quarterback.
DeMarco came in after Lulay left last week, converting four of his six passes
for 47 yards and a score. An import from Old Dominion, DeMarco has completed a
grand total of 15 passes over the past two seasons with the Lions, which means
he'll be thrown into the fire if he is the one to get the start this week.
In an ironic twist, just recently the Lions decided to trade for Winnipeg
quarterback Buck Pierce and bring him back to BC where he spent a number of
years. Pierce is also supposed to be preparing for this weekend as if he were
to be given the start, so while he might not be as familiar with all of the
schemes and players, his experience in game action far exceeds that of
No matter who it is handling the snaps this time around for the Lions, the
team will need running back Andrew Harris to make much more of an impact in
order to level the playing field. Harris has three games this season with at
least 100 yards rushing, but over the last several weeks he has been almost a
non-factor with a total of just 135 yards amassed in the last four outings.
This is the first of three meetings between these division rivals, the other
two coming in a span of just over two weeks in the month of October. In terms
of the all-time series, the Riders are ahead by a count of 92-82-4, although
BC won the most recent meeting last November in a 17-6 final.
It would be poetic justice for sure if Simon were to break the receptions
record against his old team, but you can be sure the veteran receiver would
say that winning the game is the most important part of those 60 minutes on
the field. As long as Durant isn't exposed to too many hits and he can stay
upright for the entire game, this is one that should favor the Roughriders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 36, British Columbia 24
09/18 11:05:31 ET
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