July 28, 2014

Revitalized Riders defence shows resiliency


Mitchell Blair | Riderville.com Staff

REGINA — If the Saskatchewan Roughriders can find a way to bottle the performance their defence gave against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night, they will be a tough football club to beat. 

The Green-and-White came off their bye week in ferocious fashion by demolishing the Argos 37-9 in front of just over 32-thousand spectators at Mosaic Stadium.

This one was all defence as Richie Hall’s unit made life miserable for Ricky Ray starting with the first series as on the second play from scrimmage, Tyron Brackenridge intercepted a pass setting up a Darian Durant touchdown run with the Argos next series lasting just two plays before Tearrius George recovered a Ray fumble after sacking him. 

George was ecstatic at what had taken place, but cautioned everyone there is still improvement to be had.

“Relentless man, that’s what we were tonight,” proclaimed the 6 foot 4, 277 pound defensive tackle from Kansas State after Saturday’s victory. “There’s still a lot of work to be done and we’re not going to get complacent like what we did after we beat Hamilton.”

Led by Tyron Brackenridge, the Riders defence turned Ricky Ray’s evening into a long one Saturday night,
rebounding in fine form against a quarterback that picked them apart three weeks earlier.

George was also asked the difference between this game that they won by 28 and a July 5 loss to the same Argos team by 33. He says the answer to that was simple.

“More hustle, more focus and a different mentality.” George said. “It’s an attitude we have to take and make this our character. I think we answered a lot of questions about ourselves tonight and now it’s time to build on this and move forward.”

Tyron Brackenridge may have had his best game in a Rider uniform as he was all over the field making plays. The safety says it was a tremendous night.

“We came out fast and that’s we preached all week.” Brackenridge said. “It was a lot of fun out there, we had some high energy. We had a bad taste in our mouth and we had to get back to that championship style defence. We knew what we were doing wrong and we focused on correcting that. Hopefully we come out with fire all week, run to that ball and erase what was happening at the start of the season.”

While the defence was doing its thing, the offence was able to do what it had to to put points on the board as another Ford gave Toronto a head-ache.

Will Ford’s Rider debut was a successful one as he ran for 113 yards on 17 carries to perhaps end the running back debate that has swirled around this team since training camp started.  Ford says it was a night that left him smiling.

“I had a through sleepless nights trying to learn this offence and I had some mistakes, but this was just the first game. “Ford said.” I know I have some things to work on, but I have a great offensive line to run behind and it was a lot of fun tonight. I’m not completely satisfied with my game because there are things I have to work on, but I hope I did enough to earn the start next week. There are some great guys here and we will go out next week and try to make everyone better.”

The win puts the Riders at 2-2 going into a big two game road trip that starts Saturday night in Ottawa with not much turnaround time after that as they will be in Winnipeg five days later on August 7. Quarterback Darian Durant, like the others, knows they can’t rest on this because the next two games will be big.

“It’s good to come off the bye and get a win and get some better feelings in here, but now we have some business to take care of.” Durant said. “We have to keep this up and we need to go into Ottawa and take care of them before we start thinking about Winnipeg. That will be our focus when we get back here.

The team takes Sunday and Monday off before starting preparations for their game in Ottawa since the 2005 season.