The B.C. Lions haven’t played a game in Regina for almost a full calendar year. Their last visit to Mosaic Stadium came on Sept. 29, 2012, with the Riders coming out on top 27-21 in a game that featured plenty of excitement when B.C. scored late then recovered an on-side kick to give themselves a shot at the W. But the Rider defence held and the Green & White escaped with the victory (game photo above).
The Riders were a streaky team last year, mixing stretches of solid play where they looked unbeatable with periods of mistake-laden football where they were no better than CFL also rans. So far in 2013, that pattern has semi-repeated itself, although the team, on paper anyway, is definitely superior to last year’s squad.
Still, with the Riders in the midst of a two-game losing skid, and having played generally lacklustre football since coming off their bye week in early August, the Rider Faithful will be looking for a strong performance to get the team back in the hunt for first place in the CFL West. But it won’t be easy as B.C., even without QB Travis Lulay, is a veteran team with a solid defence and special teams. The Riders, meanwhile, will be missing star running back Kory Sheets, and will need to show marked improvement in two other areas of the game: first, they need to cut down on penalties, especially those that stem from undisciplined play; and second, they need to find a way to neutralize the blitz packages that the Bombers and Argos employed to great effect in the last two games.
This is the first of three games against the Lions in the span of a month. The Riders are in Vancouver on Oct. 4, and then B.C. make a return visit to Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 19. If the Riders can win two of three they will pretty much sew up a home playoff game. But if they continue to struggle fans will become extremely agitated.
Once this game (which goes at Mosaic/TSN at 2:30 p.m.) is in the books the Riders will have reached the two-thirds point of the season. That means it will be time for another installment of Rider Fan Forum. That will run on Sept. 27 prior to the Riders Sept. 29 game in Montreal. So stay tuned for what Ron, Cal and Earl have to say