CFL Preview - Saskatchewan (5-2) at British Columbia (5-3)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, August 24, 7 p.m. (ET).
GAME NOTES: Unlike the East Division of the CFL after eight weeks of action,
the West Division is as tight as one could imagine.
All five teams are separated by no more than two points in the standings and
at the moment the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a game in hand as they face
off against the Lions of British Columbia on Sunday at BC Place.
Saskatchewan, which caught a break in the schedule last month, is currently
enjoying a four-game win streak and has just as many victories (five) as BC,
but has played one less game.
The Roughriders were slow to warm up against Montreal at home last weekend,
but the team managed to produce 11 points in the fourth quarter in order to
secure a 16-11 victory over the slumping Alouettes.
Quarterback Darian Durant, who is not necessarily happy with the cut of the
new uniforms, saying it interferes with his delivery, converted 19-of-30
passes for 221 yards and a score, while being sacked three times in the close
call against Montreal. Rob Bagg, who caught the lone TD pass, had six
receptions for a game-high 90 yards. Bagg was named the CFL's top Canadian
last week for his efforts.
Defensively, the Riders limited an undermanned Montreal squad to just 285
yards of offense, with John Chick recording three of his four tackles against
quarterback Alex Brink. Chick, who also forced a fumble, was named the CFL
Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive time.
Chick, a member of the Riders between 2007-09 before taking a shot in the NFL
with both the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars, now has a
league-leading 12 sacks, five more than his closest competition. While there
is still more than half the season to be played, it is not difficult
projecting Chick breaking the CFL's single-season record for sacks, set by
James Parker at 26.5 in 1984 with the Lions.
Not surprisingly, the Riders currently lead the league in total sacks with 29,
even though they've played only seven games.
When it comes to taking down the opposing quarterback, British Columbia
doesn't have the same knack as the Roughriders. Through eight contests, the
Lions have managed to post only 16 sacks, which is the second-fewest in the
league behind only Hamilton (14). However, in an odd twist, tied as the
second-leading sack man in the CFL is BC defensive tackle Alex Bazzie who has
seven such stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Playing in his first CFL campaign, Bazzie was an integral part of BC's 33-17
win over Toronto last Sunday as he delivered a personal-best seven tackles,
one of those being a sack against Ricky Ray.
After opening a 10-0 lead in the first quarter versus the Argonauts, BC
managed just three points over the next two frames and found itself trailing
17-13 in the fourth before erupting for 20-unanswered points for the win.
Kevin Glenn converted just 14-of-25 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown, but
he and the offense got a huge lift from running back Stefan Logan who erupted
for a game-high 145 yards and a score on 19 carries. Logan, who was filling
the void left by an injured Andrew Harris, added five catches for 49 yards en
route to being named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week.
Not to be overlooked was Tim Brown who returned a career-high 10 punts for 169
yards and brought back three kickoffs for another 80 yards as he was named the
CFL Special Teams Player of the Week.
Also vying for league-wide accolades was defensive back Ronnie Yell who picked
off a pass in the closing minutes and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. In
this his rookie season, Yell now has two interceptions, both of which he has
returned for majors.
These teams met earlier this season during Week 3 action at Mosaic Stadium,
with the Lions doubling up Saskatchewan, 26-13. In that battle, Harris ran for
138 yards and a score for BC, adding five catches for another 65 yards as
Glenn converted 16-of-27 passes for 170 yards. Kicker Paul McCallum knocked
through three of his four field goal chances and finished with 11 points for
Durant struggled in a big way for the Riders, converting a mere 15-of-34
attempts for 191 yards and a score, was picked off once and sacked two times
as Saskatchewan sputtered.
With that last victory, Saskatchewan's advantage in the all-time series now
sits at 94-84-4, with the Lions winning eight of the last 12 encounters.
Saskatchewan has a very strong defense these days with Chick and his mates
making one big play after another. However, this might be the sort of game
that comes down to how well Durant performs and based on the first encounter
this season, that doesn't sound all too promising.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 27, Saskatchewan 24
08/20 11:06:28 ET
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