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Roughriders Look To Remain Undefeated In Home Opener Against Tiger-Cats

Week 3 will wrap up the same way Week 2 finished, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders taking on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Green and White’s home opener on Sunday.

No, you’re not having deja vu, the Riders and Ti-Cats will square off once again in a rematch of last week’s offensive explosion. The two teams combined for 63 points and over 800 net yards of total offence in that contest, which saw Sask squeak out a come-from-behind victory.

The Riders trailed by ten points heading into the fourth quarter last week and outscored the Cats 16-3 to win, capped off by a Brett Lauther walk-off field goal to end it. This was the second straight comeback victory for Sask, after trailing Edmonton in the final frame by 13 points the week prior. Through the first two games, The Roughriders have outscored opponents 37-6.

Who’s In and Who’s Out?

There will only be one change to the lineup but it’s a big one. Left guard Phillip Blake has been placed on the six-game injured list and will miss significant time with a leg injury he suffered last week. That means 2022 West Division All-Star Ryan Sceviour slides into the starting unit, while 2022 second-round pick Zack Fry draws into the game lineup as the sixth lineman.

Head coach Corey Mace also stated that Peter Godber is “50-50” due to personal reasons but is listed as the starter on the depth chart.

What Can Be Improved on?

While Saskatchewan has been the top passing team in the CFL, they have been the worst rushing team conversely. After acquiring A.J. Ouellette in the offseason, he has not had a good start running the ball in his new threads. Coming into the week, the former Argonaut had the most carries (29) by any back but sits seventh in total yards (72) and last in yards per attempt (2.5) among running backs with double-digit carries. The team as a whole sits last in rushing yards and yards per carry in the league as well.

The offensive line didn’t do him any favours. The big boys up front have struggled to get any push and Saskatchewan has abandoned the run game at points throughout the first two weeks. If the Green and White can have a more effective rushing attack, the sky is the limit for this offence.

What’s up with Hamilton?

Despite being one of three winless teams in the CFL, Hamilton’s offence can move the ball. They are first in the league (and it’s not particularly close) in net offensive yards per game with 434.5 and in average yards per play with 8.5.

Bo Levi Mitchell has had a strong start to the 2024 season after an injury-riddled 2023. Heading into the week he was second in passing yards (680) and passing touchdowns (4) only behind Trevor Harris. While he threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns last week, the Green and White neutralized the run.

After James Butler exploded for 119 yards on only 13 carries in Week 1, he was a non-factor against the Riders. He only managed 27 yards on 12 carries while being relatively ineffective in the passing game as well.

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Coty Wiles
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