Saskatchewan: 0-3 – Last in the West Division, and last in the CFL
BC: 1-1 – Tied for 2nd in the West Division
THE WEEK BEFORE
The Lions came back late in the 4th quarter to tie up the game and send it into OT where they beat the Riders in the first mini-game.
Tough losses: Saskatchewan is 0-3 but their three losses are by a combined 9 points. It is the first time in 33 years (1982) they have lost three in a row by 4 points or less.
OT Heartbreak: Saskatchewan’s back-to-back OT losses is only the third time in CFL history that has ever happened (BC twice: 1991 & 2010).
1st down success: One of the keys to the Riders’ #1 CFL offence (504.3 yards per game) is their outstanding first down production. They lead the CFL at 8.7 yards per play on first down and have had no less than 437 yards in any game this year. They were averaging 324 yards after three games in 2014.
Turnover Ratio: The Riders rank #8 in T/O Ratio at -4 and have not won that aspect of any game this season.
Getting to 1-1: The win last week helped BC avoid another 0-2 start, something they did in 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2014. They have been slow starters recently and since 2009 are 31-34 (.477) in the first half of seasons, and 41-22 (.651) in the second half.
Leaving it Late: In the win over Saskatchewan last week, BC scored on 8 of their last 12 possessions and that included 17 points in the final 8:00 of the game.
THE STORY LINES
How do you solve a problem like Corey Chamblin? Or is Corey Chamblin even a problem? Rider Nation seems quite divided on the performance of its head coach as of late, and this week’s game will either help Coach Chamblin begin to redeem himself in the eyes of the fans or continue his spiral downward. While I’m not Coach’s biggest fan, I hope it’s the former.
The Lions will look to win their second game in a row, but this time in regulation. To the best of my recollection, the Lions have a pretty good record at Taylor Field.
Quarterbacks: Kevin Glenn continues to put up impressive numbers and keep the Riders’ offence at the top of the league. Travis Lulay appears to be getting his game back as he threw for over 400 yards last week en route to an OT victory. Even
Offensive lines: The Riders’ offensive line is developing into a strong unit – although those ‘hands to the face’ penalties could stop at any time now. The Lions’ offensive line played well last week, but honestly, the Riders didn’t even test them. Edge: Riders
Receivers: Emmanuel Arceneaux got the last laugh last week as he scored the winning TD. But Weston Dressler put up over 100 yards in the first eleven minutes of the game. If the weather’s good, look for the QBs to put a lot of balls in the air. Edge: Even
Running backs: From the CFL’s game notes, it appears that both Rider RBs Jerome Messam and Anthony Allen are on pace to break 1,000 yards this season. While it’s still early, this bodes well for the Riders’ offence come fall. The Lions need to use Andrew Harris more. He started to make a difference near the end of last week’s game and could be a game breaker if utilized properly. Edge: Riders
Defensive lines: The Riders’ defensive line continues to rush 3 most of the time, which pretty much makes them invisible. I don’t recall much about the Lions’ pass rush from last week either. Even
Linebackers: It was Adam Bighill who kept Rider rookie QB Brett Smith from making the 3rd and 1 that likely would have given the Riders the game. The Riders continue to go with their young’uns, and the learning curve is noticeable. Edge: Lions by a football field
Secondaries: The Riders lost Weldon Brown to a season-ending injury and have brought in Geoff Tisdale as a reinforcement. The Lions’ receivers couldn’t cover Weston Dressler in the 1st quarter, but eventually figured out how to keep him from scoring. Edge: Even
Special Teams: Richie Leone nailed a 56 yard field goal last week to send the game into overtime. Paul McCallum is 5/5 so far this year. Even
The Riders are in desperation mode these days. Playing at home in front of a crowd that’s begging for a win and hasn’t been shy about voicing its displeasure with the 0-3 start may make the Riders a little tight. Also, the Riders need to stop taking so many penalties (this is a recording). BC comes in without any pressure, which is a definite advantage. Edge: BC