Banjo Bowl promises fireworks in week 6
On Saturday afternoon, the Riders (3-1) go to Winnipeg (4-1) to finish their home-and-home series with the Banjo Bowl. With the Bombers declaring that the game is a sellout, IG Field will be roaring.
It will be the first time the Banjo Bowl has been played since 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFL did not have a season in 2020 and instead returns with a shortened 14-game schedule. Tensions will be running high in Winnipeg.
Last Sunday, Winnipeg beat Saskatchewan 23-8, delivering the Riders their first setback of the season.
Rematch a key moment in Riders season
Notably, the Riders will play seven of their last ten regular-season games on the road, after opening the season with four home games.
In last week’s Labor Day Classic in Saskatchewan, Winnipeg’s defense dominated. The Bombers harried and harassed Riders quarterback Cody Fajardo all day, to the tune of three sacks and three interceptions. Winnipeg’s offense also enjoyed almost 34 minutes of possession and accumulated 370 net yards, 94 more than the Riders. Veteran Riders’ running back William Powell understands the challenge in front of his team.
“(Winnipeg’s defence) has a lot of versatile guys that have a lot of different skills,” Powell said. “They just throw a lot of different looks at you … you’ve to be ready anything.per Global News
Injuries taking heavy toll on Riders defense
This weekend, the Saskatchewan Roughriders may be missing two key defensive players.
Both Ed Gainey and Loucheiz Purifoy were limited at practice on Thursday. Each played a key role in keeping last week’s meeting with Winnipeg within reach. Gainey recorded three tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble despite a foot ailment. Purifoy recorded a team-high six tackles and is hampered with a neck injury.
Agonizingly, Saskatchewan will also miss the presence of veteran defensive lineman A.C. Leonard for the next two weeks. Leonard was suspended earlier this week for failure to provide a sample for drug testing. Under CFL rules, this results in an automatic two-game suspension. The Tennessee State product will miss the Banjo Bowl and an upcoming match up with the Toronto Argonauts. Leonard has eight tackles, three sacks, and one interception through four games.
Ultimately, Saturday marks the second and final meeting between the division rivals this regular season. Each squad will have visions of future glory that the other inevitably sits directly in the way of. This week’s game could mark a crucial crossroads of this CFL season.
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