The new guys came through for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Thanks to some key contributions from some big-name players that the green-and-white acquired in the off-season, the Riders are 1-0 for the first time since 2014 as they defeated the Toronto Argonauts 27-19 in front of just under 30-thousand fans on a beautiful night for football at Mosaic Stadium.
Zach Collaros was solid in his first regular season game for the team as he was 18 of 25 for 203 yards and a touchdown. Jerome Messam contributed as well with 72 yards on 21 carries including a big 11 yard run late in the game to basically seal the victory.
While Collaros and Messam did it on the offensive side of the ball, it was Charleston Hughes who did it on the defensive side of the ball.
The defensive lineman, acquired from Hamilton shortly after a deal had been made with Calgary, made his presence be known immediately as he recorded three sacks including his 100th career.
The 34-year-old showed people that he’s still got it.
“I just continue to make plays and defy gravity.” Hughes said with a laugh. “It means a lot to have 100 sacks because very few have achieved it and it’s a number I’ve worked very hard for. I’ve earned it and I know I have more to go.”
While Hughes was happy, so was his teammate Willie Jefferson.
“He gave us what was expected.” Jefferson said. “He proved everyone wrong tonight. Everyone was saying he’s getting old, he doesn’t have the intensity. He came out here and showed everyone he’s still got it.”
While the off-season acquisitions played a big role in the victory, head coach Chris Jones wasn’t about to use that as validation for what was done over the last few months.
“That’s one win,” Jones said. “Validation is when we put a whole bunch of them together and, at the end of the year, we’ve got a whole bunch of them, we host a playoff game, get to the Grey Cup and win it. That’s validation.”
There is no rest for the team. They have a short week of preparation as they will be in Ottawa to take on the REDBLACKS Thursday afternoon in a 5:30 start.
- The win for Zach Collaros was his first since Sept of 2016. He had not won in his previous 12 starts until Friday
- 9 different players caught a pass for the Riders
- Defensive back Nick Marshall intercepted a 4th quarter pass from Ricky Ray and took it 66 yards for a touchdown
- Brett Lauther was 4 of 5 in field goals
- The attendance was 29,788