Friday, January 27, 2023
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CFL Preview: Stampede, Riders battle in Second-Straight meeting

REGINA — For the second time in as many weeks, the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Calgary Stampeders for the second of their three-game series.

Coming off a 23-17 loss in Calgary, the Riders look to regain their footing with the support of their fans behind them at Mosaic Stadium this Saturday.

 

In their last meeting, the Riders found themselves down 14-0 by the end of the first quarter due to the efforts of Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps’ offence. While the Green and White were able to rally in the fourth quarter and apply some pressure to the Stamps’ defence, an interception by Jonathan Moxey was the deciding factor.

 

Heading into this week’s game, Craig Dickenson, who has yet to beat his younger brother on the other sideline, is looking to change that fact. Having lost his last appearances against Dave Dickenson dating back to the 2019 season, Craig acknowledged his record but feels Saturday’s game is more than just a sibling rivalry.

 

“I know I’m 0-3 against him,” said Craig. “Our team knows we haven’t beaten them (Calgary) in a long time. So we know what’s at stake, I’ve got to say this: I think this game is much more important than bragging rights at the family dinner table. I think we’ve got more important things to accomplish than just trying to beat them just because I happen to be related to their coach. So hopefully the guys have their own reasons for wanting to do well this week.”

 

One area the Riders’ offence has been trying to improve has been their ability to connect on the deep ball with the absence of Shaq Evans. While Cody Fajardo was able to connect with Kian Schaffer-Baker for a 71-yard reception last week, the deep balls have been hard to come by for the Riders. Recording only five completions of 30 yards or more on the season along with 38 two-and-outs, the need to get more dynamic and explosive was a priority for the Riders’ front office.

 

In addressing that need, the Riders signed former Edmonton and Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver, D’haquille “Duke” Williams.

 

The 28-year old Auburn University product was a standout player during his 2018 season in Edmonton under then head coach, Jason Maas. Hauling in 88 receptions for 1,579 yards and 11 touchdowns, Williams was named a CFL All-Star before signing with the Bills. After signing with the Bills in 2019, Williams would go on to appear in five regular-season games, recording 12 receptions for 166 yards and even made a pair of post-season appearances, recording four receptions for 49 yards.

 

“We felt like Duke would really improve our roster,” said Craig Dickenson. “There’s a number of players we’ve looked at and kicked the tires on and Duke was priority number one for us. We felt like a big, strong receiver is always a good addition.”

 

Williams will have to wait until after the Riders’ upcoming bye week to suit up for them and was placed on the suspended list until he completes his COVID-19 quarantine.

 

Josh Huff returns to the lineup this week against the Riders. Huff has been one of the standout pieces for the Stamps’ offence this season. Though his absence allowed their depth to shine as both Shawn Bane and Malik Henry found the end zone last week, his ability to separate from defenders will be welcomed against the Riders’ secondary. Leading the team with 165 yards-after-catch and 422 receiving yards on 32 receptions, Huff will be leaned on as the Stamps try to repeat their aerial success against the Riders.

 

Stamps’ leading rusher, Ka’Deem Carey was limited earlier in the week and was listed as a game time decision on the team’s depth chart that was released on Friday.

 

“He (Carey) will probably go into the game questionable,” said Dave Dickenson. “A little bit concerned, just have to try to figure it out. The good thing is it gives another guys reps and we try to operate as a team but we understand Ka’Deem’s importance. We hope he can play and we’ll see what happens.”

 

While playing without Carey would be less than ideal for the Stamps, their offensive line has proven to be effective both last week and all season, which could provide whoever starts in his place an opportunity to shine.

 

On the opposite side of the line, while they recorded two sacks, Mike Rose feels the Stamps D-line needs to be better at capitalizing on their chances to bring Fajardo down.

 

“It’s up to us to finish at the point of attack,” said Rose. “At the end of the day, it takes all four of us. We’re just running to the ball and getting what we can get.”

 

Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET and can be watched on TSN and ESPN+ or followed along with CFL.ca’s Game Tracker.

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