Roughriders looking to win season series against Lions in B.C.
When the Roughriders face B.C on Friday, the Lions will look a lot different than when Saskatchewan faced them in Week 1 of CFL action.
Lions’ quarterback Michael Rielly is healthy after suffering an early-season elbow injury. Lions’ backup QB Nathan Rourke hasn’t thrown the football since starting against the Riders in the season opener.
“He’s been slinging it for sure,” Riders’ Micah Teitz said of the opposing pivot. “He’s definitely gotten his mojo back and he looks healthy as ever.”
Teitz currently leads the Riders with 34 tackles in his first year as a starter. He was credited with the tackle on both of Saskatchewan’s goal-line stops in their 30-16 win over Toronto in Week 7.
“I know the boys get excited to play someone that’s just got the legend status behind him like Michael Reilly,” Teitz said.
The Lions have won four of their last five games, which has launched them to second in the CFL’s West Division standings.
“You can just sense they’re starting to play with a lot of confidence,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said. “Michael Reilly is playing as good as I’ve seen him play in a long time.”
Reilly is leading the CFL in five statistical categories. He has the highest completion percentage (75.6), the best touchdown to interception ratio (eight), the most yards per attempt (9.8) and has thrown for over 300 yards four times. Rielly also has the highest quarterback rating in the CFL (119.5).
“Definitely got to call the game a little different versus him,” said Riders defensive coordinator Jason Shivers. “He’s on the upper echelon where he studied you as a coordinator and he knows how you like to think so you got to be able to throw him some curveballs here and there.”
The Riders are still banged up defensively, missing Mike Edem and Garrett Marino. Blace Brown was limited at practice on Wednesday, meaning the secondary continues to shuffle due to injuries.
“You got guys running here there and everywhere we have to be able to communicate but also keep our eyes all on the same page,” Shivers said.
The Lions and the Riders are tied in the standings (4-2). While Dickenson said they aren’t thinking about the possibility that this game is a tiebreaker or that home-field advantage in the playoffs might be on the line, he does know exactly how many points Saskatchewan needs to win the season series with B.C.
“I think it’s four of five, so I’ll know it,” Dickenson laughed. “And I will be aware of it. Trust me, if we got to kick one late, we will.”
Saskatchewan plays B.C in Vancouver on Friday at 8:30 p.m local time.
Wednesday was a closed practice, but defensive coordinator Jason Shivers said defensive back Ed Gainey was full-go during training. Gainey sat out versus Toronto with a toe injury, but is expected to play on Friday.
Offensive Lineman Andrew Lauderdale is injured and won’t play against B.C., Brett Boyko is expected to replace him.