The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced on Wednesday morning that Saturday’s home game against the Calgary Stampeders is already sold out. Clearly the Rider Nation is on board with their team whatwith its current two game winning streak, and they also know the 5-0 Stampeders represent Saskatchewan’s top rival.
It’ll be a grudge match on the field, particularly for former Stampeders Jerome Messam and Charleston Hughes who are facing the Stampeders for the first time since moving over to Saskatchewan in the off-season.
Messam told us on 620 CKRM’s SportsCage this week that he’s had the July 28 game circled on his calendar for quite some time.
“The day that I signed as a Rider,” Messam laughed. “It’s gonna be a a great match-up on Saturday. They’ve been playing some awesome ball and we got some great things going on here.”
However Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones downplayed Messam’s hard feelings in this game.
“What’s he going to do? Play 120% now?” Jones snickered on Wednesday. “He’s been saving himself by playing 75% last week? Different guys get motivated to play different ways. If it means a little bit more because he’s been there before – he’s been on three or four different teams – that’s good. He can get ready every week.”
Messam said the motivation for Charleston Hughes runs a little deeper. The defensive end spent 10 seasons with Calgary before being shown the door this past winter.
“For Charleston, it’s a little bit different than my situation,” Messam observed. “He flat-out felt blindsided by the way his tenure ended in Calgary. He’s got a lot to prove. Him and Bo went back-and-forth for years in practice so now he has the chance to go out and compete against him. It’s going to be awesome to watch.”
However Hughes downplayed his feelings towards the Stampeders during a conference call on Wednesday.
“My thoughts are the same as when I go out against any other team,” Hughes shrugged. “First is to play the best game I can play and two is to get the win. Nothing more. All I care about is winning games and playing the best I can play on every down.”
Still, on numerous occasions in the off-season, Hughes said he can’t wait to put a lick on Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell once they meet on the gridiron. Now, come Saturday, he’s finally getting his chance.
“I’ve been going against Bo in practice for years,” Hughes continued. “I know his style of play and he knows mine. When it’s all said and done, we’re very acquainted with each other. All I can do is just play my game and keep going.”
Kickoff at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday is 7:00 on TSN and the 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network.