Riders looking to stop high-powered Stampeders offense to earn Western Final berth
The Saskatchewan Roughriders defense is gearing up to face off against Bo Levi Mitchell and the high calibre Calgary Stampeders offense in the Western Semi-Final on Sunday.
The two teams met three times in a span of four weeks this season, with the Calgary Stampeders coming out on top two out of three games.
Defensive lineman Micah Johnson knows that the Rider defense will be ready for Sunday.
“I think we do a lot of different things well, we pass rush well and I know we can stop the run so we just have to understand the game at hand,” Johnson said. “We need to understand the type of team we going against and type of run we are going against.”
One of the keys to stopping this offense will be stopping the run game.
Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 869 yards this season with seven touchdowns, including 249 yards against the Riders.
Linebacker Micah Teitz knows Carey well and said the team needs to close in on the running back quickly.
“Everybody has to tackle this week, everyone has to be on the ball it’s pretty hard to miss if you have seven-eight guys on the ball,” Teitz said.
In the first two games against the Riders, Carey averaged more than five yards a carry but in the Rider win, he only averaged 4.1.
“We have to do our best to take their weapons away and put them into situations they don’t want to [be in],” Teitz said.
The Rider have relied heavily on their defense this season but the unit has been highly successful with two players leading the league in sacks.
"I think the numbers speak for themselves, I think the stats speak for themselves, I feel like we’re the most complete defence in the league,” Johnson said.
Head coach Craig Dickenson knows the Stampeder offense will revolve around the run.
“Knowing my brother Dave, he will try and use them heavily and basically have the offense go through him in this game,” Dickenson said. “They do a good job of making plays on first down, [we have to] hold them to short yardage, then try and get Calgary into a second and long game.”
If the Riders can limit the Stampeder offense the west final could very well be a reality.
The Riders host the Western Semi-Final, kicking off at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.