CALGARY — The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Calgary Stampeders will both attempt to move above .500 when they meet on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium.
The two teams are coming off opposite performances as the Roughriders lost in Winnipeg in Week 2, while the Stampeders picked up their first win of the season against Ottawa.
Whatever hip issue Riders quarterback Trevor Harris has been dealing with doesn’t seem to be hindering his play as he threw for 413 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.
It was the exact type of offensive display head coach Craig Dickenson was hoping for when Harris came over in the offseason and one he hopes can be replicated in Week 3 against the Stampeders.
If Shawn Bane Jr. and Tevin Jones can come even close to the 132 and 121 receiving yards they had against the Bombers, it will pose a significant challenge to the Stamps secondary.
That’s without mentioning the playmaking ability of Jake Wieneke and Samuel Emilus.
A new week brings about a new challenge for Harris and he knows the offence will need to be ready from the first snap against the Stamps defence.
“They do a great job of executing,” Harris told riderville.com
“Their linebackers are active, their defensive line is very underrated. They’re high motor guys that put pressure on the quarterback and they bring blitz’s at timely times. Their defensive backs are experienced guys, they have a lot of faith in those guys.”
As good as Harris and the receivers can be, Dickenson will need more from his running backs against a Stamps defence that held the REDBLACKS to 42 rush yards a week ago.
The Riders can’t afford another uncharacteristic performance from Jamal Morrow like they received last week when the rushed for 20 yards on six carries.
He won’t have the support of fellow rusher Frankie Hickson as he’s sidelined with a shoulder injury.
As Calgary quarterback Jake Maier looks more like himself after a mediocre Week 1, the Riders defence needs a bounce back game after surrendering 403 net yards.
Linebacker Larry Dean is rounding into his regular form after wrapping up 10 tackles against the Bombers. On the defensive line, Pete Robertson had his first sack and is always dangerous off the edge.
As the Stamps adjust to life without star running back Ka’Deem Carey for likely the next several weeks, more focus will be put on the pass game.
But that doesn’t mean the defensive front of the Riders can forget about the run game entirely as Dedrick Mills filled in admirably with 102 rushing yards a week ago.
The Riders gave up 116 yards on the ground against the Bombers and Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson should be plenty confident in handing the ball to Mills.
That sigh quickly turned to a gasp upon finding out only Henry will suit up for this week’s contest after Begelton suffered a rib injury.
Turnovers by the defence played a huge part in Calgary’s success last week as they had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries to go along with a pair of sacks.
Dozier says the defence stepping up and making plays is giving everyone confidence.
“When everyone is making plays it shows as a unit we’re growing together and everyone is stepping up making the plays they need to make,” Dozier told stampeders.com.
“We want to make even more plays this week. Each week we want to get better as a unit and eventually become the number one unit in the league.
It’s sure to be a fun battle to watch between the clicking Riders offence and the stout Stamps defence.
Both teams are looking to climb to 2-1 and keep pace with the Bombers and Lions in the West Division.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
– With files from Riderville.com and Stampeders.com