Regina, July 9, 2011 – The Montreal Alouettes (1-0) are in Regina today to square off against the Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-1) at Mosaic Stadium, a team riding a two-game losing skid dating all the way back to last year’s Grey Cup defeat.
Both teams, not to mention fans across the league, circled this match on their calendars as soon as the schedule was released earlier this year, as this is certainly becoming one of the most heated rivalries brewing not only in the CFL, but in all of professional sports.
The Riders will be playing their second game in six days which gives defensive coordinator Richie Hall the tall task of trying to slow down the Alouettes’ offensive juggernaut, led by the CFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Week, Jamel Richardson, in a short week.
The Roughriders have something to prove after losing their home-opener in a stunning 42-28 upset loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. Last week, the Roughriders surrendered 42 points -- the most in the CFL in week one.
Their task this Saturday afternoon seems colossal with quarterback Anthony Calvillo and receivers S.J. Green and Jamel Richardson coming into town. Calvillo is coming off a performance in which he was able to duck away and sidestep the pressure and deliver accurate strikes to his playmakers. Montreal’s quarterback did not turn the ball over once and closed week one with a QB rating of 139.9.
Saskatchewan’s offense has relied more on the arm of its quarterback Darian Durant than on its running game led by Wes Cates. Durant made 37 pass attempts in week one while Cates had 10 carries. Both players were effective and broke off a big play when needed. Cates had one run for over 10 yards and another over 20 yards, while Durant finished second in the league for most passing yards with 339. Receiver Weston Dressler also made a splash with his seven receptions for 109 yards in the season debut.
Last year, the Alouettes split the season series with the Roughriders and waited until the championship game to settle the score. After a long off-season, it’s now time to write the next chapter in this budding rivalry.
Whitaker and the ground game shaping-up
Brandon Whitaker did not disappoint in his new role as the Alouettes’ starting tailback. After spending much of his career on the practice roster, it appears as though it is now his time to shine. Although he was overshadowed somewhat by the impressive performances of the Alouettes’ receiving corps, he had a solid outing at Percival Molson Stadium, rushing for over 100 yards in last Thursday’s victory over the B.C. Lions.
Whitaker will try to have another great outing, but Saskatchewan was stout in the run defense and limited Edmonton’s running backs Jerome Messam and Daniel Porter to 37 and 33 rushing yards rushing respectively last week.
De’Audra Dix back in the lineup
De'Audra Dix did not have to wait very long before getting an opportunity to regain his spot on the team’s roster. The move came after defensive back Jerald Brown suffered a broken ankle in Montreal’s season opener. Brown is currently listed on the nine-game injury list and his absence has disrupted the team’s lineup. Billy Parker has now moved into Brown's spot as strong-side defensive back and Dix will take over at Parker's wide-side cornerback position.
Kick-off is scheduled at 4 p.m. EST, and all of the action can be followed on RDS, TSN, Sirus 157 and CJAD. Furthermore, the game will also be broadcast live to our friends south of the border via the NFL Network.