OTTAWA — Two teams in need of a victory meet on Friday night as the Ottawa REDBLACKS play host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
There may be no room for moral victories this time of year but Ottawa can take plenty of positives from their 41-37 loss to the BC Lions in Week 15.
The Riders, meanwhile, look to get back on track after a pair of losses that included a 36-27 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Elks last week.
Quarterback Dustin Crum is aiming to perform well in both facets of the offence again, much like he did against the Lions in BC. Crum threw for 233 yards and rushed for 46 and three touchdowns in the loss.
Exposing the Riders on the ground may be the main point of attack for head coach Bob Dyce’s offence as the Riders coughed up 265 yards on the ground against the Elks. With Crum and Devonte Williams both viable running options, it’ll be another test for their front.
With their pass game struggling for most of the season, it’ll be the responsibility of Justin Hardy and Jaelon Acklin to turn it around. If last week was any indication, that could be in the cards as Hardy pulled down eight catches for 114 yards.
When the two teams last met in Week 9, which ended in a 26-24 Riders win, Acklin led the way with 56 receiving yards.
Crum didn’t throw an interceptions in that meeting but is tasked with dealing with a strong secondary featuring plenty of playmakers. Linebacker C.J. Reavis had an interception against the Elks and Nic Marshall has four to his name on the season.
Riders quarterback Jake Dolegala did what he could in a losing effort against Edmonton, throwing for three touchdowns. It’ll be no surprise who he’ll target in the pass game as Shawn Bane Jr., Tevin Jones, and Samuel Emilus continue to put up impressive numbers. Bane Jr. had two touchdown catches and Jones had one a week ago.
Bane Jr. called their most recent setback a “character loss” and believes in his team’s ability to bounce back this week.
“We just need to finish,” Bane Jr. told . “We can build, especially on offence. We just have to flush it, build from it and get better.”
They’ll be watched closely by defensive backs Sherrod Baltimore, Damon Webb, and linebacker Douglas Coleman who had an interception off Vernon Adams Jr. Limiting yardage surely will be the focus of the unit as they have struggled in that department, giving up an average of 325.8 yards a game.
The rushing duties for the Riders fall on Frankie Hickson as Jamal Morrow is out with a knee injury. Hickson has rushed just 16 times for 58 yards so far and he’ll have his hands full facing a tough defensive front holding opposing rushers to 77.6 yards per game.
Over the course of his career, Riders head coach Craig Dickenson has learned the importance of weathering the ebbs and flows of a season.
“Don’t get too high, don’t get too low,” Dickenson told . “Learn from whatever happened, good or bad and move on. I think our guys have done a good job of that. Focus on the things you can control. We’ve done a pretty good job of bouncing back from adversity.”
Saskatchewan can get back to .500 at 7-7 with a victory. If Ottawa can come away with a win, it’ll go a long way in keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET from TD Place. International audiences can tune in on CFL+, while Canadian viewers can watch on TSN/RDS and U.S. viewers can catch the game on on CBS Sports.
– With files from riderville.com