CFL Preview - British Columbia (9-6) at Saskatchewan (10-5)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 19, 7 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The race for the best record in the West Division gets even
tighter, as the British Columbia Lions tangle with the Saskatchewan
Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.
Both teams are already locked into the postseason, with the Roughriders
sitting in second place in the division standings behind Calgary, and BC two
points below Saskatchewan with three games remaining in the regular season.
The most recent playoff scenarios show that, if Saskatchewan comes out on top
this weekend the team will be assured no less than a home playoff contest.
Last weekend the Roughriders, a team which came screaming out of the gate in
2013 with five straight wins and eight victories in the first nine outings,
captured a second consecutive triumph with a 14-9 decision over Edmonton at
home. The Riders scored all of their points in the second quarter, courtesy of
a 20-yard TD pass from Darian Durant to Weston Dressler, and a five-yard major
on the ground by Kory Sheets.
Sheets finished the meeting with 24 carries for 106 yards, while Durant
converted 16-of-24 passes for 170 yards and a pair of interceptions while
being sacked three times.
Defensively, Saskatchewan limited the visitors to 324 yards of total offense
and benefited from Edmonton suffering 13 penalties for a loss of 115 yards.
As for the Lions, they kicked off Week 16 action last Friday night versus
Calgary, giving them a chance to close the gap in the division standings, but
the Stampeders came out on top in a 40-26 final.
With Thomas DeMarco at the helm of the offense, BC got off to a slow start and
didn't get into the end zone until the final two minutes of the first half on
a 27-yard TD pass to Courtney Taylor. DeMarco managed to complete 23-of-39
passes for 301 yards and two scores, the other major going to Nick Moore who
ended up catching six balls for a game-high 109 yards.
In desperation mode late in the fourth quarter, DeMarco saw his one
interception of the game returned 65 yards for a score by Chris Randle.
DeMarco also logged a rushing touchdown in the matchup, placing second on the
team with 23 net yards on the ground, but overall British Columbia was limited
to just 56 yards on 17 carries.
Last week, the Lions were not very good at generating offense on the ground,
but typically it is the passing game that has the potential to hold them back.
Granted, the team has completed a solid 62.0 percent of 500 attempts, but the
yardage total of 3,869 yards is third from the bottom in the CFL.
Thanks to DeMarco and Travis Lulay, BC has managed to post 26 majors through
the air, but in his last appearance in September the latter also tossed three
interceptions, so not all was perfect with Lulay under center.
Meanwhile, Durant is second in the CFL in passing yards with 3,765 and has the
most touchdowns of any signal caller with 29, which means he is averaging
roughly one major per 10 completions.
While Durant stands in the pocket and seeks out receivers when the Riders need
big gains, Sheets is more than willing to add some punch to the offense coming
out of the backfield as he bills himself as the top running back in the
league. Sheets is currently second in the CFL with 1,408 yards rushing, but is
tied with Calgary's Jon Cornish for the lead with 11 touchdowns.
However, the big difference between Sheets and Cornish is that the latter is
averaging an impressive 7.2 yards per attempt, while the former checks in with
5.6 yards per carry. Both players have been solid receivers as well, so it not
unusual to see Sheets placing second in yards from scrimmage (1,667) behind
only Cornish (1,865).
These teams faced each other just two weeks ago, with the Riders coming up
with a 31-17 road victory. Sheets paved the way for Saskatchewan with a pair
of rushing touchdowns, while Durant converted 21-of-31 passes for 234 yards
and a score. Defensively, the Roughriders captured three interceptions in
order to help the squad overcome seven penalties for a loss of 118 yards.
The Lions crippled themselves during Week 15 action with 13 infractions,
costing them 138 yards.
With the win, Saskatchewan now leads the all-time, regular-season series by a
count of 93-83-4, dating back to 1954.
With so much riding on this game, as well as the remaining outings in the
regular season, Saskatchewan cannot afford to go easy on the Lions this
weekend. The offense has got to play much better than it did last week for the
Riders if they hope to close the gap in the standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 27, British Columbia 24
10/16 10:48:34 ET
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