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'Make them more uncomfortable': Riders look to keep win streak alive in Ti-Cats rematch

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have started the 2024 season on the road with a 2-0 record for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday.

Now the Green and White will get another chance to face off against Hamilton in their home opener on June 23.

The team will need to keep its up guard up to stop veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell once again as he still threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s matchup and has only been sacked once in two games so far this season.

“It’s two folds, we have to do a little bit better job rushing the passer but also you know kudos to them and their offensive line. But I think the biggest thing, being around Bo for so long, is his footwork in the pocket is really good,” said Head Coach Corey Mace.

“He did a great job alluding the few pressures, we could’ve had a few sacks there. We have to do a better job from out standpoint to make them more uncomfortable.”

The need for more defensive pressure was reiterated by Anthony Lanier III.

“When you’re a good quarterback, who doesn’t want to get hit, you’re going to throw the ball fast. We just have to come out hitting everything, running and gunning, trying to make sure that we’re giving nothing on the ball [this week],” he explained.

“Just making sure that we collapse the pocket as quickly as possibly.”

The Riders defensive line did succeed in hampering the Ti-Cats run game last week as they held the team’s number one running back, James Butler, to just 27 yards.

“In the honesty of that, that means they felt pretty comfortable putting the ball in the air, so take it for what it is,” Mace explained. “We have to show up every week and prove that we’ll make it tough on teams to run the ball and have to make it tough on them to put it in the air too.”

The defence also helped lead the Riders to their late victory after a pick from linebacker, C.J. Avery.

However, defensive back Marcus Sayles, who had his first start as a Saskatchewan Roughrider, and plenty of the team’s secondary did receive a lot of criticism for their inability to stop Mitchell and his explosive plays.

“There’s no excuse for me to have mental errors and one of those big plays was a mental error. I’m just going to use that as opportunity to get better,” Sayles said.

“We’ll get it clean[ed] up, we’re not worried about it. [Sayles has] been a great player in this league for awhile now and the guy has only been here for a couple of weeks and was kind of thrown into the fire,” Mace added.

The June 23 matchup will be a chance at redemption for Hamilton as they try to capture their first win of the season.

However, Mitchell does have Saskatchewan’s number – as he boasts a 12-4 career record against the Green and White.

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