A win is a win, but the Roughriders are looking for a little bit extra against the Bombers in Saturday’s Banjo Bowl.
They’re looking to finish as strong as they start.
The Riders dominated the Bombers in the first half of the Labour Day Classic scoring 34 points and limiting Winnipeg to 16, but slowed down significantly in the second half managing just four points.
It’s something head coach Chris Jones is trying to address.
“That’s the theme of the week. We’ve got to be more consistent, we’ve still got to play fast early, but we play two halves for a reason,” he said.
Winnipeg gave the Riders a run for their money with a late surge on Sunday, but an Ed Gainey interception – his second of the game, and sixth in three weeks – stopped the Bombers in their tracks and secured the game.
Jones said the defence being able to make those big plays has been a difference maker for the team.
“When they throw the ball close to our guys instead of watching the other team catch the ball or dropping interceptions I think that we’ve take advantage of the opportunities that the other teams have given us,” he said.
And that’s been the difference in winning and losing. Take away a pick six here and there or a big knock down and all of the Roughriders games may have gone in the other direction which is something Jones said he stresses to the team and it’s why they need to tighten up, especially in the third and fourth quarters.
Plus, after busting up their seven game win streak, the Bombers will be hungry to get back on the winning side.
“We know that them losing the first one they’re going to come out, especially being in their home, they’re going to come out really fired up, so we got to make sure match that,” Kevin Glenn said.
Kienan LaFrance earns first start
An injury to Riders running back Cameron Marshall last week is giving the Winnipeg-born Kienan LaFrance his shot at tailback.
A much celebrated off-season signing, LaFrance joined the Roughriders in free agency after rushing for 163 yards in the eastern final that sent the Redblacks to the Grey Cup.
But an injury of his own sidelined LaFrance during training camp and made him unable to compete for the starting job.
He said rehab was tough, and he knew being not being out on the field would put him a little behind, but he worked hard to keep his head in the game.
“Just stay in the books, stay engaged in meetings, make sure I’m talking to the coaches and the quarterbacks and making sure we’re all on the same page,” he explained.
And that dedications means that Glenn isn’t worry about the transition between Marshall to LaFrance.
“It’s just guys being in the right place in the right time, Kienan’s the same type of guy … He pays attention, you can tell when he wasn’t on the roster, he was still around the group listening to what was going on in the meetings and all that kind of stuff,” Glenn said. “That’s what kinda gives me the confidence that when he does get in there he’s going to know what he’s doing.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 1 p.m.
The Green Zone’s 10-hour game day begins at 9 a.m.