Riley’s Rider Recap: East Semi-Final

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are one win away from going to the Grey Cup. I didn’t think I would be writing that sentence after the first few games this season. The offence looked better than they have in a long time and it couldn’t have come at a better moment. The rest of the team had a great game as well. It was one the the most complete Rider wins of the entire season. This is how the game played out in my eyes.

 

Offence

The Rider offence came in with some question marks. Who would take the reps at running back and was Brandon Bridge going to have to come in for Kevin Glenn were the big ones. Both of them were answered quickly for the Green and White. Marcus Thigpen was dominant from the running back position carrying the ball 15 times for 169 yards and one touchdown. Thats two starts at running back and two 100 plus yard games for Thigpen. There has been talk about who should start around Regina amongst the fans. Chris Jones has stuck with KG all season long and Kevin rewarded him with a great game. Glenn threw for over 250 yards and a touchdown and most importantly didn’t turn the ball over. Bakari Grand, Naaman Roosevelt and Duron Carter were all over 50 yards receiving and Kienan LaFrance had four receptions out of the backfield for 35 yards. It was a complete game by the Riders and I think most importantly, their offensive line played well. They gave Glenn time in the pocket and he was able to put together long drives almost every time they were on the field.

 

DefenceĀ 

If you looked at just the stat line you would see that Trevor Harris threw for 457 yards and two touchdowns. One of the TDs came in garbage time and he had 60 pass attempts. I thought the defence played really well especially against the run. William Powell got a little banged up but managed to get eight touches for 50 yards. Besides the late touchdown Ottawa scored only one other and it was on broken coverage that led to a 56 yard score by Diontae Spencer. Other than those two majors the Riders’ defence held Ottawa to field goals and punts while winning the turnover battle as well. The defence now faces a big test in the Toronto Argo’s offence. The Riders must once again focus on stopping the run first to make the Argos become one dimensional. It should be a good battle.

 

Special Teams

The Riders did as good of job as can be done against star returner Diontae Spencer. He had a good return at the start of the game that set up his touchdown but other than that he was contained. Christion Jones did a good job of setting the Riders up with decent field position. Both Ottawa and Saskatchewan did well on the coverage teams. Each team’s kicker was perfect on the day and overall special teams was a wash in this one.

 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders looked like the better team right out of the gate. Kevin Glenn looked on from the start and I knew that meant bad news for the Redblacks. Now the Riders turn their attention to the Toronto Argos looking to be the first team to represent the east in the Grey Cup as a crossover team. It is going to be tough against Head Coach Marc Trestman and the high powered Argo offence. The Riders looked really good against Ottawa and if they continue the momentum on to Toronto it is going to be a great game.

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