The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in Ottawa to take on the Redblacks on the Eastern Semi-Final at 12:00 p.m. today.
This is the first time the two teams have met in the playoffs since 1976.
A.J. Jakubec with TSN 1200 in Ottawa is the play-by-play announcer for the Redblacks. He joined the CJME Morning Show this week to talk about the game.
Jakubec said the game will be a sea of black and red with some green sprinkled in.
“There’s always a pretty good contingent of Rider pride wherever they go,” he said.
Jakubec said there are still around 1,500 tickets available for the game but still expects it to sell out. He said he’s also not surprised there are still tickets available because of all the events going on in Ottawa this year.
“It’s been a strange year in Ottawa in the sense that it’s Canada 150, and people are kind of tapped out of big events. You got a sold out Grey Cup (in Ottawa) already and the fact that it’s sold out this early, that’s way quicker than even Winnipeg from 2015,” Jakubec said.
Other events in Ottawa this year include the Canadian Track and Field Championship, Canadian Figure Skating Championship, Davis Cup, Red Bull’s Crashed Ice, two outdoor NHL games in December and curling’s Roar of the Rings to determine the Olympic curling team, just to name a few.
The last time the Riders played Ottawa, the Redblacks would win by one point, 33-32. Jakubec said there isn’t much to choose between the two when a game is decided by one point.
“When I look at the inconsistencies of the two teams, I look at Saskatchewan as a team that was inconsistent game to game and Ottawa is a team that’s inconsistent within games,” he explained.
Jakubec said Ottawa played 18 games in the regular season and 14 of them were decided by seven points or less.
“Early in the season, when (Ottawa) started 1-6-1, they’d get off to a good start, they’d find a way to self destruct, make a valiant comeback, and find a way to lose by a point or two. Down the stretch, their recipe for success seems to be, start horribly, get down by a couple of touchdowns at least, and find a way to make a big time comeback in the end and win,” he said.
“I don’t really know what to expect, especially from Ottawa, given how they’ve performed. All I know is if they don’t come out with close to a 60 minute effort, I don’t like their chances if Saskatchewan plays their A games,” Jakubec continued.
Either way, he said it’s going to be a fascinating game to watch. And with the temperature slated for plus four on game day, Jakubec expects the running game to be a major factor in who’s going to win.
Jakubec also expects Rider fans to make their presence known throughout the game.
“I’m from Edmonton so I know all about Rider pride. I have family that come from Saskatchewan … I know all about green and white, and the passion of Rider pride. The one thing about (Ottawa) nation since the Redblacks came back, Ottawa has had one of the better home crowds in the Canadian Football League,” he said.