The last two times the Roughriders have played the Eskimos have been thrillers.
Close, exciting games which unfortunately, in the end, did not go the Roughriders’ way. Sunday’s game promises to be equally exciting given the stakes: the Roughriders will be basically out of the playoff equation if they can’t pull out the win.
The team knows how important clinching this game is.
“As long as you have a chance to get in, every game’s important,” said Darian Durant. “The thing we want to do starting with this week is just keep giving ourselves a chance, we’re not mathematically out of it and this is the team we’re chasing so this is a huge game for us.”
One thing the team is focusing on is cutting down on penalties – it’s those little things, according to Durant, that have cost them games more often than not.
“If you look at the statistics of everything, we lead the league in pre-snap penalties and it’s almost by double,” he explained. “So those are the things we need to correct, especially being a young team.”
Those sentiments were echoed by head coach Chris Jones Saturday afternoon.
“We know right now the one game that we won, we won that (penalty) battle with Ottawa,” Jones said. “We had zero penalties they had six … in the other games we’ve lost that battle and again you can’t beat yourself.”
“We (have had) five or six one-score games,” he continued. “And if you’ve got a couple more errors that happen prior to the ball being snapped there’s got to be some points in there somewhere.”
Two of those close games have happened against Edmonton. In the first game, the Riders started strong but couldn’t finish, losing 39-36. In the second game, the team came back to tie it but couldn’t hold on to it, giving up a big play late and losing 33-25. Durant said with that in mind, he knows Sunday’s game in Regina is very winnable.
“It’s just a backyard battle, every time we play those guys it’s going to be a dog fight,” Durant said. “We feel like those are games we should have won and this is a game we feel like we can win.”
The Roughriders and Eskimos square off at 2:30 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday. The Green Zone ten-hour game day gets underway at 10:30 a.m.
The Roughriders have moved Naaman Roosevelt, Ricky Collins Jr. and Graig Newman to the six-game injured list.