August 20, 2022

QB uncertainty awaits Lions-Riders rematch

REGINA — Loucheiz Purifoy hated to see Nathan Rourke leave the field on Friday night, but he knew what would happen as he watched his teammate leave the field.

“It’s always tough to see someone like Nathan go down,” Purifoy said, fresh off of the Lions’ 28-10 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.

“He’s a leader on our team but we know it’s man down, man up so we’ve got his back through it all. Until he gets healthy we’re going to have his back. We’re going to play 100 per cent for him.”

» Box Score: Lions, Riders by the numbers
» Though the Lens: BC at Saskatchewan
» Recap: Lions down Riders on the road, Rourke leaves game


Rourke went down with what appeared to be a right ankle injury, after he was hit by Riders’ defensive lineman Pete Robertson. He needed help getting off of the field and received attention from trainers while on the team’s bench for the remainder of their eighth win of the season.

Per TSN’s Farhan Lalji, Lions head coach Rick Campbell said that Rourke was walking around the Lions’ locker room after the game but will require more tests to determine the severity of his injury.

The Riders left Friday’s game with quarterback questions of their own. Head coach Craig Dickenson took Cody Fajardo out of the game before the end of the first half, opting to go with backup Mason Fine.

Dickenson told TSN’s Sara Orlesky at halftime that he thought Fajardo wasn’t fully trusting his injured knee, which he’s been playing on for a number of weeks through this season and that the team would stick with Fine for the game.

Fine led an inspired touchdown drive to cut into BC’s lead, making it a 21-10 game at halftime. While Fine played decently when he was given the offensive reins in the second half, it wasn’t enough to spark the Riders into any kind of serious comeback.

While we wait to see the extent of Rourke’s injury, we also wait to see what Dickenson and his staff decide on for next week’s re-match between the Lions and the Riders at BC Place.

If the Lions were to go with O’Connor and the Riders to stay with Fine for next week, it would provide an obvious change to the dynamics of the game. Rourke is a lead candidate for Most Outstanding Player and a key reason why the Lions sit just behind Winnipeg in the overall standings in the league at 8-1.

If Fajardo isn’t trusting his injured knee or if it’s impacting his play, a week’s rest might help on that front. Fine, 25, played in one game last year for the Riders, after spending much of the season on the practice roster. He’s backed up Fajardo this year and has made 29 of 46 passes for 365 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Purifoy, meanwhile, stung his former team with an interception and added four tackles along with three on special teams. The Lions’ defence forced seven turnovers on the Riders, intercepting Fajardo twice during a chaotic first quarter that saw each starter picked off twice.

“We just love each other. We play for each other. We hold each other accountable. When we’re down we don’t give up on each other,” he told Orlesky.

Depending on the status of their starting quarterbacks, the Lions and Riders could be in for one of their biggest tests of the season next week.

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