The first-place BC Lions defence displayed dominance in Saturday’s victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In a game with scoring at a premium, Saskatchewan couldn’t reach the end zone in the 19-9 loss.
Upon reviewing the film over the weekend, the green and white team is gearing up for yet another tough challenge. The Riders will travel to Halifax later this week for Touchdown Atlantic, where they will face off against the Toronto Argonauts for the second consecutive year.
On Monday, Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with Michael Ball.
Looking back at Mason Fine’s first start at quarterback in 2023, Dickenson felt Fine did a good job of managing the game.
“He didn’t take any penalties in terms of time count or anything like that, he did a good job of taking what the defence was giving him. I think he hung in there and made some tough throws.”
One thing that stuck out for the Roughriders head coach was that offence needed to do a better job of pushing the ball down the field.
Dickenson said the Lions defence did a good job limiting the Roughriders production on first down.
“Any time you’re second and long, the defence is going to dictate what throws you’re going to have. Usually, they’re going to take away those first down throws and make you throw underneath.”
It was a tough night for the Roughriders rushing attack, with only 16 rushing yards against the Lions.
The Riders head coach said injuries didn’t aid the green and white on Saturday. Receiver Mitch Picton left the game and did not return. Dickenson said the absence of Picton was a big reason for Saskatchewan unable to convert their third down gamble in the third quarter, as the receiver didn’t secure a block on the edge during the play.
Dickenson also gave credit to the Lions.
“There’s a lot of speed on that defence, they move around a bunch and we didn’t do a good job of staying on track.”
Saskatchewan will meet BC two more times. Once at Mosaic Stadium (Aug.20) and again at BC Place (Sep.29).
The Roughriders are hoping for positive injury updates before embarking on their trip to the East Coast.
Canadian receiver Brayden Lenius will return to the Saskatchewan lineup on Saturday in Halifax against the Argonauts. Lenius was placed on the six-game injured list just before the start of the regular season back in June.
Dickenson told Ball on Monday that it looked like Saskatchewan will be without defensive end Bryan Cox Jr., who left Saturday’s game and didn’t return.
The Roughriders head coach was more optimistic about their chances of getting Picton and safety Jayden Dalke (AC Joint) back this week.
One decision Dickenson reviewed on Monday’s edition of the SportsCage, was when the Roughriders elected for a field goal with less than two minutes remaining in the game instead of a third-down gamble with Saskatchewan trailing by ten points at the time.
“In hindsight thinking back on it probably should’ve gone for it.” said the Riders head coach.
Dickenson explained that he was optimistic about Saskatchewan’s chance to recover the onside kick, but is aware of the criticism with the call.
“That’s a decision that could be second guessed. I understand what people are saying on that, it was a two-score game, I still felt we had to get it down to one and that’s why I kicked the field goal at that point because I didn’t feel like our chances of getting a touchdown were very good at that spot.”
Saskatchewan returns to practice on Tuesday. They will work out again on Wednesday before departing for Halifax on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s matchup against Toronto.
620 CKRM will have coverage of Touchdown Atlantic beginning at 11:00, opening kickoff at 2:00.