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Roughriders Edge Out Lions in Week One Shootout 33-29

Saskatchewan takes home their first win of the season after holding off a late game push by the BC Lions, winning 33-29. Cody Fajardo & the offense absolutely dominated the first half, outscoring backup QB Nathan Rourke and the Lions 32-6. While Mike Reilly had been resting to nurse some elbow soreness, he came out and helped spark a ferocious comeback while the Riders had a scoreless second half.

Had Reilly been at 100% the Lions would have had a better shot, and they were hurt by Nathan Rourke’s two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score by Nick Marshall. Saskatchewan fans got an exciting glimpse of how powerful this offense can be, as they scored TD’s on their first three possessions. Though the second half saw no scores by the offense, the defensive unit showed great poise and grit, holding on and securing a win.

This was truly a team win, and the Roughriders showed their potential on both sides of the ball here, and as this season progresses and they get more in a rhythm the ceiling here is sky high. Despite a single interception by Fajardo, they played smart football and limited mistakes even when the offense had trouble finishing drives, and it seems their QB is more than ready to build on his breakout 2019 season.

Fajardo completed 28 of 35 passes for 230 yards, 2 scores and a pick while adding 26 yards on the ground at 5.2 YPC. His ability to move the ball efficiently on the air and ground gives him as high a ceiling as any in this league, and with good support from his receiving corps and veteran RB William Powell this could be a well-balanced offense in 2021.

This pass-heavy game saw the Lions largely abandon the run as the Roughriders ran up the score early, but it was a relief to see Saskatchewan’s run defense stifle Lions RB James Butler to just 24 yards. After losing standout LB Larry Dean and presumed starter DE Freddie Bishop to Achilles ruptures in camp, there were concerns about the center of this defense, but this defense was able to hold its ground at key moments.

They’ll look to build on the momentum of this Week One victory and carry their successes into next week, when they’ll face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who scored just 6 points against Winnipeg in their season opener.

B.C. will need to figure out a game plan around young QB Nathan Rourke, or hope that Mike Reilly is a full-go as they head to Calgary to take on the Stampeders.

Boxscore

BC

Player Position Pass. CMP Pass. ATT Pass. YDS Pass. TD Pass. INT Rush. ATT Rush. YDS Rush. TD Rec. Rec. Targets Rec. YDS Rec. TD
James ButlerRunning back00000824046321
Nathan RourkeQuarterback10181942211000000
Lemar DurantWide receiver00000000511610
Lucky WhiteheadWide receiver00000000581361
Michael ReillyQuarterback1724203100000000
Dominique RhymesWide receiver0000000066760
Bryan BurnhamWide receiver0000000077921
Shaq JohnsonWide receiver000000000000
Total 27423973293400403

SSK

Player Position Pass. CMP Pass. ATT Pass. YDS Pass. TD Pass. INT Rush. ATT Rush. YDS Rush. TD Rec. Rec. Targets Rec. YDS Rec. TD
Shaq EvansWide receiver00000000710690
Cody FajardoQuarterback28352302152600000
Jordan Williams-LambertWide receiver0000000067490
Brayden LeniusWide receiver0000000033251
William PowellRunning back00000124313420
Mitchell PictonWide receiver0000000033360
Kyran MooreWide receiver0000000068491
Marcus MurphyRunning back000001600000
Total 2835230211875128352302

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