Early season must-win game for Riders

Though it is early in the season, Saturday’s game is of critical importance to the Riders. It’s the first of back-to-back games with a West rival, one with whom they are battling to stay out of last place.

With the Riders 1-and-3 and the Lions 1-and-4, Coach Craig Dickenson’s team has a great opportunity to put some distance between themselves and playoff irrelevance. He acknowledges how big Saturday’s game is.

“We’re almost through the first third of the season. And our goal in the first third of the season is to be 3-and-3.”

The biggest change to the Riders lineup will be the debut of receiver Manny Arceneaux. It will be his first CFL game since tearing his ACL last August. Arceneaux is in as the starter at wide receiver and his impact will go beyond how many balls he catches.

“He’s a real leader. He’s a pro,” says Dickenson. “It’s good to have him out there. We’re going to proceed cautiously with him, but he’s playing and he’s going to play quite a bit and he feels 100 per cent ready to go.”

Dickenson says Arceneaux’s condition isn’t where it should be, so they are likely to limit Arceneaux’s snaps by substituting in Justin McInnis.

Though they’ve been under 100 yards rushing in each of the last two games, Dickenson hasn’t forgotten how much he loves the run game. Especially with a former MOP quarterbacking the opposition.

“(The run game) is big because we don’t want to give (Mike) Reilly the ball.

“Any time we can run the ball effectively it really helps our offense control the pace, and it helps our defence because it keeps that other offense on the sideline.”

Kickoff is 5:00 pm at Mosaic Stadium. The pre-game show begins at 2:00 pm on 620 CKRM.

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