Preview: Als look for third straight win against Riders

The Montreal Alouettes will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night at Percival Molson Stadium.

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This will be the only regular season matchup between these two teams in 2023, as the Alouettes will not be visiting Mosaic Stadium this year.

The Als will head into this game with a 4-3 record after their win in Hamilton last Saturday. The Roughriders are 4-4. They are coming off a home win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday.

The Riders will be arriving in Montreal with some familiar faces. Receiver Jake Wieneke, linebacker Brian Harelimana and running backs coach/run game coordinator Andre Bolduc will also be returning to Molson Stadium for the first time since leaving the Alouettes. Quarterback Trevor Harris (lower body) isn’t available for this game.

Here’s what you need to know about this matchup:

Cody Fajardo GTD:

Starting quarterback Cody Fajardo (left shoulder) will be a game-time decision for this game. This could be the first time Fajardo will face his former team since he signed with the Alouettes last February.

The veteran didn’t practice with his teammates on Tuesday, but he was on the field for Wednesday’s session. If he isn’t healthy enough to play, the Alouettes would turn to Caleb Evans and/or Davis Alexander.

Evans is in his third CFL season but his first with the Alouettes. He spent the first two years of his pro career as a member of the Ottawa Redblacks. The 25-year-old hasn’t attempted a pass this season, but he has rushed from 23 yards on 10 carries (mostly quarterback sneaks).

Evans set the single season record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback last season, with 16.

Alexander is in his second year with the Alouettes. The 24-year-old saw some action in last year’s regular season finale against the Toronto Argonauts. He went 8-for-13 for 89 yards, 1 interception and a rushing touchdown in that game.

Walter Fletcher starts at running back:

Walter Fletcher will get the start at running back for the Alouettes because William Stanback is nursing a hip injury.

Fletcher has suited up in just one game in 2023, as he rushed for 11 yards on two carries against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 1st.

The 26-year-old was an important piece of the offence last season when Stanback went down with a lower-body injury. Fletcher finished 486 rushing yards and 353 receiving yards in just 14 games during the 2022 regular season.

Fletcher and Stanback are two very different running backs with different styles. Fletcher is smaller, quicker, and less physical than Stanback. He’s also more of a natural receiver out of the backfield. He can make opposing defenders look silly in open space.

Other lineup notes:

– Raheem Wilson will make his 2023 debut:
Defensive back Raheem Wilson will make his regular season debut on Friday night.

The 29-year-old suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during an Oct. 22 home game against the Toronto Argonauts.

The Alouettes will want to ease him back into the lineup, as this will be his first game in nearly 10 months. According to the team depth chart, he will serve as the backup defensive back against the Roughriders.

– Landon Rice will return:
Veteran right tackle Landon Rice will be back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a hip injury.

The 35-year-old was initially placed on the six-game injured list, but he managed to practice in full on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He has been named the team’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in each of the last two years.

American tackle Jamar McGloster replaced Rice in wins over the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

– Marcus Valdez will make his debut:

Former Boston College defensive lineman Marcuz Valdez will make his Alouettes debut on Friday night. The 24-year-old was signed by the Alouettes on July 24th.

Valdez and Israel Antwine will be replacing injured defensive tackle Almondo Sewell.