CFL Preview - Montreal (9-6) at Saskatchewan (8-7)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 3:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Secure in the fact that they've carved out a spot in the
postseason for the 17th straight year, the Montreal Alouettes try to continue
their drive towards the best overall mark in the East Division this weekend as
they clash with the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday
One of the more dominant teams in the league for the last several years, the
Alouettes are the only team in the division at the moment with a winning
record, even though they were in danger of possibly losing a third straight
game last week when they clashed with Toronto on the road. However, Montreal
managed to pick up a second straight victory in the series with the Argonauts
by posting a 24-12 decision at Rogers Centre.
Following a bit of a slow start that saw the Als scoreless through one period
of play and having just seven points at the break, kicker Sean Whyte provided
a huge spark with three field goals and a single in order to get the visitors
rolling. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo connected on 16-of-31 passes for 255
yards and a score, a 75-yard delivery to Jamel Richardson who finished with
just three receptions for 109 yards.
Also making a significant impact for the Alouettes was linebacker Shea Emry
who not only had four tackles and a sack, he registered an interception in the
fourth quarter that he returned 46 yards for a score to seal the win for the
visitors. For his efforts, Emry was named both the Defensive and Canadian
Player of the Week in the CFL.
As for the Roughriders, they had been one of the hottest teams in the league
since the start of September, winning five of six outings after suffering
through a brutal summer stretch during which they lost five in a row. The team
was hoping to add to another strong run last weekend, but instead was tripped
up by Edmonton on the road in a 37-20 setback.
Against the Eskimos, Saskatchewan actually scored the first points of the
meeting on a two-yard touchdown pass from Darian Durant to Weston Dressler
midway through the first period, but from there the Riders gave up 20 straight
points to the hosts and never recovered. Durant, who sat out the final minutes
of the meeting after the outcome had all but been decided, finished the
contest 17-of-27 for 204 yards and two touchdowns, but he was sacked twice and
had a pair of attempts picked off.
Running back Kory Sheets delivered a decent 77 yards on 12 carries for the
visitors, but it was barely half of what his counterpart, Edmonton's Hugh
Charles (152 yards) was able to accomplish.
Now second in the league in rushing with 1,112 yards on 204 carries, leading
to nine majors which is also second in the CFL for running backs, Sheets has
cooled off as of late when it comes to making it into the end zone. In fact,
the back has crossed the goal line just once in his last five games, which is
a far cry from his efforts early on when he recorded at least one TD in five
straight outings and had six scores overall to kick off the 2012 campaign.
Some might say the emergence of Dressler in recent weeks has helped to balance
the scales for the Riders. Tied for the most overall receptions in the league
(88) and first in both yards (1,161) and touchdowns (11), Dressler has landed
in the end zone in four straight games, five times overall during the stretch
for a Saskatchewan passing attack that has an efficiency rating of 94.8.
Speaking of efficiency rating, as the man who is responsible for all but two
of his team's 4,501 yards through the air, Calvillo has a mark of 99.1 as he
has thrown at least one TD pass in every game this season and is currently
second in the league with 28 TD strikes overall. However, in each of the last
five games Calvillo has completed less than 54.0 percent of his pass attempts,
something that happened only once during his previous 10 outings in 2012. You
hate to think about it, but you have to consider the fact that Calvillo isn't
getting any younger and maybe his body is beginning to betray him in this his
19th season, the 15th with the Alouettes.
Saskatchewan won the first and only other meeting of the season between these
two teams, capturing a 27-24 victory on the road in Montreal. Despite the
setback, the Als still lead the overall regular-season series by a count of
Both of these teams need to pile on the wins in the final weeks of the regular
season, if for no other reason than to feel good about themselves when the
playoffs finally roll around. As dominant as Calvillo has been in his career,
it seems the signal-caller is finally beginning to slow down and that could
open the door for Durant and the Roughriders this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 31, Montreal 24
10/17 11:46:54 ET
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