After opening the season with an impressive 39-18 road victory over the hapless Edmonton Eskimos on June 29 the Riders return home tonight to face the Calgary Stampeders — who also opened the 2013 CFL season in impressive fashion with a 44-32 victory over the B.C. Lions at home on June 28. In that game, Stamps running back Jon Cornish, who won the CFL rushing title last year and was named the league’s Most Outstanding Canadian, rushed for 172 yards. So heading into the game the Rider defense will be making him a primary focus.
Rider running back Kory Sheets (pictured above) also enjoyed a strong outting against the Eskimos, rushing for 131 yards and catching two passes for 14 yards. Sheets was one of seven Rider receivers to have at least one catch in the game as QB Darian Durant did a good job of spreading the ball around and exploiting whatever openings the stingy Eskimo defence gave him. Where the Eskimos really killed themselves was on turnovers, with the interception that QB Mike Reilly threw on the last play of the first half that Rey Williams returned 20 yards for a TD likely to rank as the biggest bonehead play of 2013. That put the Esks down 22-1, and definitely deflated the team as once the second half started the Riders quickly tacked on two more majors and the game was over.
Tonight’s contest will be a lot tougher. Adding extra importance is the fact that this is the Riders only home game against the Stamps this season, with two other contests to be played in Calgary later this year. Heading into the season most CFL experts picked the Riders to battle it out with the Stamps for second in the CFL West behind the Lions so it’s a game the Riders and their faithful fans would dearly love to win. Game time is 7 p.m., and if you can’t make it out to Mosaic Stadium it will also be broadcast on TSN.