LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @Saskatchewan Roughriders, Saturday, September 15, 7:30p (9:30p ET, 3:30a Sept. 16 cET)

REGINA — Two teams trending in opposite directions will meet in Regina on Saturday night, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the Week 14 finale.

It’s no secret Chris Jones’ Saskatchewan outfit is the hottest in the CFL: The Riders have won four games in a row, vaulted over Winnipeg and Edmonton in the West Division standings in the process, and now have their ambitions set on making a race of it with Calgary for first place.

On the other hand, Ottawa has dropped back-to-back games against last-place outfits — first Montreal in Week 12, then BC last time out — and looked anemic on offence for the better part of both contests.

The Riders have had all the right answers for the last month or so, and been rewarded accordingly in the win column; the REDBLACKS have faltered, and been sucked back into a playoff battle with the surging Hamilton Tiger-Cats as a result.

It’s a big cross-divisional game, and the Mosaic Stadium faithful should be their usual loud selves come Saturday.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS have not played great football on offence the past two weeks, that much is obvious.

But Head Coach Rick Campbell deflected media questions during the week about specific members — i.e. struggling quarterback Trevor Harris, or the team’s shape-shifting offensive line — of the unit.

“We want to play the game from ahead, we want to protect our quarterback better (and) make more plays early in the game,” Campbell told OttawaREDBLACKS.com. “We didn’t do that (against BC). It’s no single person or single group, it’s everybody working together and playing the game from ahead.

“The trend here is we’re criticizing our O line. I don’t know if that’s the case if you watch the film. They’re a good group, and we need to do some things to help them as an offensive unit.”

While Saskatchewan’s defence is currently the scariest group in the CFL, Ottawa receivers coach Winston October believes their personnel are largely a known commodity.

“I go back to Week 1, they’re the same defence other than two guys,” said October. “Guys can change the dynamics of the defence, however they’re really only the same defence minus one guy, because (Loucheiz) Purifoy was on our team — all through training camp — and we know he’s athletic and what player he is.”

Teams will often talk about getting back to playing their own brand of football, and the REDBLACKS are trying to create the same atmosphere of focusing on what’s in front of them.

“Making sure we play to our capabilities…worry about us, if we do that (and) play with energy we’ll be alright,” summarized October.

Personnel-wise, the REDBLACKS made just one significant change as Jonathan Rose draws back in at cornerback and Tafon Mainsah heads to the practice roster.

There’s a special vibe surrounding the Riders this season.

Through a tough start and plenty of media and fan criticism, Chris Jones and his team have risen to second place in the West Division with an outside shot of making a race of it with the Stampeders for first place.

Facing an Ottawa team whose performance level seems to fluctuate wildly from week to week, Saskatchewan’s veteran players are simply preparing to face the best version of the REDBLACKS.

“They’re a scrappy bunch,” Riders offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte told Riderville.com. “As a team, they’ve done a good job of giving us problems and taking away wins from us.

“They’re going to fight through the whistle; we’ve seen that in the playoffs and in their Grey Cup appearances. They’re definitely a gritty group.”

Saskatchewan defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy believes much of the Riders’ recent good form can be attributed to their tight-knit locker room.

“We’ve got a real bond…you see in this locker room that everybody loves each other,” explained Purifoy, who was cut by the REDBLACKS on Aug. 6. “There’s no arguing. We’re not bickering with each other on the field or off the field…we do this and we get it right. If we all get it right, we know we can do our jobs fast.”

On facing his former team, the outspoken defender does not mince words.

“You can believe I told them they’d see me again,” said the Florida product. “My play speaks for itself. Even when I was over there, it spoke for itself. They said I didn’t fit their team; I fit this team perfectly and that’s fine with me.”

The notable roster change for the Riders from last week’s Banjo Bowl victory is the insertion of linebackerDerrick Moncrief; the 25-year-old Oklahoma State product will be a welcome return to the lineup, bringing with him the 20 tackles he racked up in his first five games of 2018.

Defensive end Jordan Reaves hits the one-game injured list this week.

By The Numbers:

– Offensive touchdown on Ottawa’s last 32 possessions.

Plus-10 – Saskatchewan’s turnover ratio, which is tied for best in the CFL with Calgary. The Riders are plus-11 over their last four games, and have generated over half (64 of 127) their points in that span of turnovers.

97 – Per cent success rate (32-for-33) for REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward in his debut CFL season. The University of Ottawa product has nailed 29 consecutive kicks — a rookie record, and fourth-most in league history overall.

542 – Receiving yards for Riders rookie Jordan Williams-Lambert. The last rookie to lead the team in receiving yards was Weston Dressler, who hauled in 1,128 during the 2008 season.

Both Zach Collaros and Trevor Harris are quarterbacks in the midst of what most would call mediocre seasons by their standards.

Both will be looking to turn things around as the season ticks into its final third; all involved with the Roughriders can only imagine — given how incredibly strong the defence has been — what life in Riderville would be like with a consistent offence, while the REDBLACKS have shown glimpses of the talent on their roster but struggled for consistency.

A win would do a world of good for both teams: Saskatchewan is chasing down Calgary and attempting to create separation space from the rest of the West, while Ottawa is suddenly embroiled in a divisional race that seemed unlikely just two weeks ago.

Buckle up for a fun one on the prairies.

– With files from OttawaREDBLACKS.com/Riderville.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @Saskatchewan Roughriders, Saturday, September 15, 7:30p (9:30p ET, 3:30a Sept. 16 cET)

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