Roughriders play host to winless Lions
Regina, SK (Sports Network) - Still seeking their first win of the 2014 season, the British Columbia Lions face off against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.
Last season the Lions won five of their first seven games on the schedule, but this time around it has been a struggle to get on track. In the opener, BC was at least competitive in a 27-20 setback versus Edmonton at home, but that wasn't the case last week as the Lions were steam rolled by Montreal, 24-9.
The Lions generated just 268 yards of offense against Montreal and even when the visitors were able to get the ball into the end zone late in the fourth quarter, the two-point conversion try was broken up. John Beck completed two of his five attempts in relief of Kevin Glenn who hit on 13-of-25 for 159 yards. The starting signal-caller tossed a pair of interceptions and was sacked five times along the way as well.
Glenn may have the third-most passing yards after two games in the league with 410, but a more glaring stat shows him with six picks on a mere 53 attempts, resulting in an efficiency rating of only 48.5. It is still very early in the schedule, but when you consider Glenn tossed only seven INTs all of last season, he is clearly off to a bad start.
If a mounting interception total were not enough for Glenn, one of those tossed in Week 2 was eventually returned for a touchdown after defensive tackle Scott Paxson made the pick and tossed a lateral to Chip Cox for a Montreal TD.
After just two games, BC is last in the league in turnovers with a minus-six in that department. The Riders are one of the other two clubs (Hamilton) with a negative number in turnovers (minus-one) heading into play this week.
If the Lions being winless after two games was hard to imagine, consider how the Roughriders are feeling following their meeting with Toronto at Rogers Centre on Saturday. Saskatchewan's offense was nowhere to be found through the first 30 minutes of action, trailing 17-1 at the break, before coming up with a pair of TDs in the third quarter to make things interesting.
Unfortunately, after closing the gap, the Riders let their guard down and allowed Toronto to rip off 23 straight points to close out the meeting and capture the 48-15 decision. The 48 points allowed by Saskatchewan were the most since the franchise gave up 51 in a three-point, overtime loss to Montreal in the 2010 opener.
The Roughriders were able to generate 447 yards on offense versus Toronto, but most of those were rather hollow and it didn't help that the defense surrendered 568 yards to the Argonauts.
Playing without receiver Chris Getzlaf, the offense sputtered as Darian Durant tried to find a new favorite target. Before exiting late in the meeting, Durant converted 17-of-29 passes for 295 yards and two scores, but he was also picked off twice and sacked four times.
Anthony Allen, who caught seven passes for 50 yards and a major, accounted for a game-high 66 yards rushing on nine carries, but it wasn't nearly enough to offset the lackluster performance of the Saskatchewan defense.
Allen leads the league in rushing with 224 yards on 36 carries, but when the Riders are forced to play catch-up, as they were against Toronto, there are fewer opportunities for Allen to get his hands on the ball in the backfield.
Off the field this week, the Riders made a move with their roster by sending defensive back Dwight Anderson to Toronto in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2015. Anderson, now in his eighth CFL campaign, has 19 career interceptions, four of which have been returned for touchdowns.
In another roster move, Saskatchewan reportedly added running back Jerome Messam to the practice squad. Just three years removed from being named the Most Outstanding Canadian in 2011 when he ran for 1,057 yards and six touchdowns for Edmonton, Messam was released by Montreal following their first preseason game of 2014.
A potential dual threat, Messam ran for 565 yards and two majors a year ago in just 13 games for the Alouettes, accounting for 317 yards on 31 receptions as well.
With regards to a series history that dates back to 1954 and figures in only regular season battles, Saskatchewan is ahead of the Lions by a 94-83-4 margin, thanks to consecutive victories. The schedule shows BC hosting the Riders in late August for their only other meeting during the 2014 regular season.
07/09 10:47:45 ET