CFL Preview - Saskatchewan (3-3) at British Columbia (4-2)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, August 19, 7:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With a stout defense that has held the last two opponents to single
digits, the British Columbia Lions try to continue their strong play on Sunday
when they entertain the Saskatchewan Roughriders at BC Place.
Since losing to Edmonton on July 20 by a score of 27-14 at home, the Lions have
dialed up the pressure on defense and played much better in the last two road
outings, defeating Calgary 34-8 and then stopping Toronto, 18-9, in the most
recent contest back on August 6 before the bye week. Thanks to the latest
victory, BC is currently tied with Edmonton for the best record in the CFL and
first place in the West Division with a record of 4-2.
Against Toronto, the Lions held the hosts scoreless in both the first and
fourth quarters and kept the Argos out of the end zone altogether by allowing a
mere three field goals to Swayze Waters. The Argonauts generated just 252 yards
of total offense against BC and while the score could have easily been even
more one-sided, Toronto benefited from the visitors being flagged 16 times for
100 yards in penalties.
Quarterback Travis Lulay converted 18-of-27 passes for 205 yards and a score,
while Mike Reilly sealed the victory with a one-yard run in the final period to
cap off a seven-play, 69-yard drive that ate up 4:29 off the clock.
As for the Roughriders, they were most recently in action on August 10 when
they came out on the short end of a 28-20 final versus Edmonton on the road.
The defeat, the third in as many games for a team that opened 2012 with three
straight victories, saw Saskatchewan score a couple of rushing touchdowns, one
each by Drew Willy and Darian Durant, as the squad generated a hefty 507 yards
of total offense. However, the Riders lost 90 yards of field position due to 13
penalties, were guilty of one lost fumble and two interceptions.
Durant, who has spent all seven of his CFL campaigns with the Roughriders, had
his best game of this season in terms of passing yardage with 401 as he
converted 24-of-35, but he also failed to throw a TD for the third time in five
games and was picked off twice. Through the first three games of the season
Durant had more than 700 yards and four touchdowns, without a single INT, but
now his numbers have begun to level off a bit.
When Durant isn't exploiting defenses, Kory Sheets tends to be the one who
steps in and picks up the slack. Here in his CFL rookie campaign, Sheets has
been a steady producer with a total of 440 rushing yards, second-most in the
league. Up until the last game when he was kept out of the end zone, Sheets had
also scored at least one TD in five straight contests to begin his career.
While he didn't score last time out, Sheets did counter by turning six
receptions into a game-high 138 yards versus Edmonton.
Right behind Sheets with five catches for 84 yards versus the Eskimos was
Weston Dressler, a slotback who already is nearly halfway to his career high of
81 receptions, sporting 40 grabs for 513 yards and four TDs thus far in 2012.
Averaging just under 13 yards per catch, Dressler is first in the league in
total receiving yards after six games.
While Dressler is at the top of the receiving list as far as yards is
concerned, the Lions don't have a single player within the top-12 in that
department right now. Geroy Simon, who kicked off the season with a bang by
becoming the league's all-time leading receiver, has turned his 22 catches this
year into 329 yards to pace BC, but for someone who now has 957 receptions to
his name and needs just two TDs to reach 100 for his career, he has yet to
cross the goal line in 2012. You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find a
longer stretch to open a season where Simon has been shutout in this manner.
Because of the last two games, British Columbia is now first in the league in
defense, holding the opposition to just 277.1 ypg. Combine that with the fact
that the Lions are also first on offense with 400.5 ypg and those numbers would
indicate a dominating club. Being tied for the top spot in the turnover
department with a plus-6 is certainly another strong indication of how good the
Lions can be when they put all the pieces together for a solid 60-minute
The Roughriders won the first meeting of this season back on July 14 with a
23-20 triumph at home. In that contest Saskatchewan's Tristan Jackson returned
a missed field goal a staggering 129 yards for what proved to be the winning
score in the fourth quarter. The Riders generated just 266 yards of total
offense, while giving up 460 to the visitors. Lulay threw for 345 yards and a
couple of majors for BC, but he also tossed a pair of interceptions in the
setback as well.
BC ran the table against the Riders last season, winning all three matchups by
at least double figures and by a combined score of 95-34. The all-time series
now stands at 91-80-4 in favor of Saskatchewan when considering just regular-
season matchups dating back to 1954.
The teams are set to meet two more times during the 2012 regular season, late
September in Saskatchewan and then November 3 in the regular-season finale back
at BC Place.
The Lions have shown opposing crowds that they can dominate games and now the
squad just needs to make that happen in front of the faithful in Vancouver.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 28, Saskatchewan 18
08/15 11:08:53 ET
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