Roughriders looking to win against Blue Bombers with the Grey Cup in sight
With a 108th Grey Cup berth in the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5) sights the only team left standing in their way are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-3).
Roughrider quarterback Cody Fajardo knows tomorrow will be a battle.
“I think it is going to be a dog fight. I think it is honestly going to be a smash mouth football game with the weather being what it is,” Fajardo said.
With high winds and snow expected in Winnipeg Sunday afternoon, Rider head coach Craig Dickenson believes the day could have an old school feeling.
“It could be one of those old school football games where there is a lot of running and some wild plays if the wind is blowing like we think it may, there may be some stuff in the kicking game that is entertaining to see,” Dickenson said.
This is the second straight season that the two teams will meet in the west final. The Blue Bombers beat the Roughriders in 2019 with a score of 20-13 in Regina. The game saw a last minute throw by Cody Fajardo hit the cross bar.
“With the way our season ended with Winnipeg ending our season (in 2019) and now you have an opportunity to go into their house and do the same thing they did to you, it's something you don’t get too many opportunities at so you’re excited and eager,” Fajardo said.
The two teams have not met since weeks five and six with the Blue Bombers taking both games by a wide margin.
On the injury front the Riders will be without linebacker Micah Teitz (foot) and Jacob Dearborn (shoulder) while Duke Williams (foot) was limited at practice on Friday and is listed as a game-time decision. Loucheiz Purifoy and A.C. Leonard are expected to play. Godfrey Onyeka is expected to draw back into the line up.
Quarter back Fajardo knows that last weeks performance cannot be repeated against a Winnipeg defense that led the league in forced turnovers with 38. They’ve also allowed the fewest points-per-game in the league with 13.4.
“I feel like I do a very good of playing next play mentality and if you don’t have that and you kind of let those picks linger and then you aren’t able to execute when the games on the line,” Fajardo said.
The Blue Bombers defense will have to adjust to an offense they have yet to see this year as they will face Shaq Evans and Duke Williams for the first time.
“We brought back Shaq (Evans) and Duke (Williams) and we are undefeated with them in the line up,” Fajardo said. “We got good confidence in that locker room.”
The Riders will be looking to keep Powell in the offense. The running back saw 44 and 88 yard games against the Bombers this season.
The special teams have been special this season for the Riders and should play a crucial role. They recovered an onside kick against Calgary to start the second half last week that led to a touch down.
“The games in our hand, if were playing defense in the last seconds of the game, and (if) they are trying to score then we are in good shape,” defensive back Ed Gainey said.
“Start fast, stop the run, put them in second and long I think we will be good.”
In the two games against the Riders this season, the Blue Bombers did not allow a touchdown in the second half.
The Blue Bombers haven’t lost a game at home this season and have won 18 of their last 19 games on their own turf.
The temperature at game time is expected to be -5 but feeling like -13 with snow in the forecast. The game kicks off at 3 p.m.
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