CFL Preview - Saskatchewan (8-4) at Montreal (4-8)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, September 29, 1:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Saskatchewan was the top team in the CFL through the first nine
games of the season, but since then the team has hit a rough patch to say the
On Sunday afternoon, the Roughriders will attempt to put a three-game slide
behind them when they clash with the Montreal Alouettes on the road.
Outside of a 42-27 setback against Calgary the second week of August, the
Riders were unmatched in their success until a month later. This past weekend
the team suffered a 24-22 defeat against British Columbia as time expired,
dropping Saskatchewan to 8-4 overall, which means the club is now tied with
the Lions for second place in the West Division standings.
Held scoreless in the first quarter against BC, the Riders could barely gain
any traction on the ground as they generated a mere 39 net yards on 12
attempts. With running back Kory Sheets, the top rusher in the league with his
1,222 yards, out of action due to injury Saskatchewan leaned even more heavily
on quarterback Darian Durant, who was called upon to let fly with 52 pass
Durant converted 35 of those throws for 326 yards and two touchdowns, 10 of
which went to Taj Smith who generated a game-high 104 yards. Saskatchewan ran
91 plays in the meeting, yet generated only 365 total yards. It certainly
didn't help that kicker Chris Milo missed two of his four field goal attempts,
clearly more than enough to have changed the outcome.
Somewhat overlooked during the defeat was the fact that Geroy Simon caught
five passes for 60 yards. Now with 1,017 career receptions, Simon is tied with
Ben Cahoon for the all-time CFL record in that department.
As for the Alouettes, a team which is just 2-4 at home, they are sitting in
third place in the East Division with just eight points. The team led Hamilton
the last time out by six points after three quarters, but then the defense
surrendered and the Ticats came up with 15 points, en route to the 28-26 win.
Josh Neiswander handled the passing responsibilities for the slumping Als, a
squad which is stumbling through their second three-game slide of the season,
and hit on 26-of-36 pass attempts for 294 yards and a couple of scores. His
aerial majors went to S.J. Green and Duron Carter, while in between Troy
Smith, the former Ohio State signal caller, scored his first CFL major on a
one-yard run in the third quarter.
Carter turned his nine receptions into 112 yards, both of which were game
highs versus Hamilton, but even those numbers were not enough to offset the
fact that the Alouettes ran for just 47 net yards. Jerome Messam carried the
ball nine times and had a long of 16 yards, but that means he had just 15
yards on his own eight attempts.
Montreal is not only tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns in the league with
just eight, but it is also last in terms of average gain per rushing attempt
with just 4.9 yards.
There hasn't been much to cheer about in Montreal this season, but at least
there was one highlight for the team last week as Chip Cox was named the CFL
Defensive Player of the Week. Cox logged eight tackles, two sacks and made an
interception in the setback versus the 'Cats. With six games still remaining
on the schedule, Cox has already surpassed his career high for tackles in a
season, now with a league-leading 86 stops. While that's certainly a positive
for Cox from a statistical standpoint, it also means he has been on the field
far too long already.
Considering how many times Durant dropped back to pass last week, Cox will
have plenty of opportunities to add to his sack total. However, Durant has
already shown that he is more than capable of getting rid of the ball,
resulting in a CFL-best 26 touchdowns. Making it even more frustrating for
defenses, Durant has been picked off just five times on 370 attempts, the best
ratio of any active quarterback.
The Riders squeezed out a 24-21 win over Montreal in the first meeting of the
season last month, which means the all-time series is now 37-29-1 in favor of
the Als, when taking into consideration only regular-season bouts dating back
In that contest, Durant threw touchdowns to Weston Dressler and Taj Smith in
the first and fourth quarters, respectively. Durant completed 18-of-32 for 250
yards, with Chris Getzlaf reeling in five balls for a team-best 95 yards.
That was also the game where Montreal's Anthony Calvillo suffered a head
injury that has kept him out of action since. Calvillo hit on half of his
eight pass attempts for 85 yards, one of those being a 74-yard hook up with
Green who finished with seven catches for 146 yards. Stepping in for Calvillo
was Neiswander who converted just 12-of-30 for 147 yards and was picked off
The possibility of making the postseason is still there for the Alouettes, but
the window is closing fast. Unfortunately, with Durant directing the offense
on the other side, odds are the window will close a little bit more this
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 28, Montreal 24
09/25 10:42:52 ET
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