LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @BC Lions, August 25, 7p (4a Aug. 26 CET)

VANCOUVER — Two West Division teams looking to position themselves for a second-half push will wrap up Week 11 on the Pacific coast Saturday night, when the BC Lions entertain the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

At 3-5, Wally Buono’s Lions are in need of a good bounce: An optimist would tell you BC is 3-0 on home turf at BC Place this season, while a pessimist would be quick to remind you Saskatchewan just handed first-place Calgary its only loss of the season.

Between the sheer competitive nature of the West and the potential of a crossover with the struggling East Division, the reality is both the Leos and Riders need a victory in a big way — and could be the two teams battling for said crossover come late October.

“We haven’t talked much about the standings, if at all,” Saskatchewan quarterback Zach Collaros told Riderville.com. “It’s about us playing good football and hopefully leaving here with a win. We feel we’re getting better from an offensive standpoint, but we need to continue to trend upwards and finish drives.”

The Riders will insert running back Cameron Marshall into the lineup in place of the injured Marcus Thigpenthis week. Marshall, an Arizona State product, rushed for 543 yards in a half-season of work last year for the Riders.

“Cam was our most productive running back last year prior to getting hurt,” explained head coach Chris Jones. “We’re certainly hoping he brings some of last year to this year.

“He’s a guy that can get downhill, he averages 5.7 for his career. That puts you in second-and-medium if you hand it to him.”

Saskatchewan’s passing game is improving steadily as veteran Zach Collaros continues to shake off the rust of a six-week layoff; the veteran pivot threw for a season-high 270 yards in last week’s stunning Riders win against Calgary.

A large chunk of those 270 yards — 152, to be exact — were thrown to rookie sensation Jordan Williams-Lambert, who continues to impress in his debut CFL campaign.

“It’s surprising, I dont really keep up with stats, I just try to contribute to the team and do my job,” laughed Williams-Lambert, a Ball State alum currently leading CFL rookies with 393 receiving yards. “I would say (I’m) meeting the opportunity, trying to capitalize on every ball that comes my way and get as many yards as I can. Hopefully it (continues to) correlate on the stat sheet.”

Rookie Kyran Moore will make his CFL debut this week at slotback; the 21 year-old out of Austin Peay had 60 rushing attempts and 56 receptions over his final two seasons with the Governors.

As positive as Saskatchewan’s performance last week was, BC’s was underwhelming.

Fresh off a big win against the then-hot Edmonton Eskimos, the Lions headed east and promptly fell 24-23 to the fledgling Toronto Argos.

Consistency has been an issue in 2018, and BC is backed against a wall because of it: The team has been practicing all week with a do-or-die mentality ahead of the Riders’ visit Saturday.

“I guess you kind of have to,” receiver Bryan Burnham told BCLions.com. “We got to start winning. We’ve dug ourselves in a hole so unfortunately, that’s the way it is at this point. Saskatchewan is a good team. It’s Saskatchewan versus BC and it’s in BC Place so I know it will be a playoff atmosphere.”

Facing an opportunistic Rider defence that has come up with big play upon big play to keep the team’s sputtering offence in football games, Burnham and the Lions know they will have to be at their best.

“A lot of good athletes across the board,” explained Burnham, who has 27 receptions for 421 yards and pair of touchdowns to his name this season. “They have a lot of good guys who I have either played with in the past or played against in the past. They’re a solid bunch but I think we have just as many athletes. I think it will be about who makes fewer mistakes and who makes the most plays.”

Speedy receiver Ricky Collins Jr. returns to the lineup, trading off with Shaq Johnson who hits the one-game injured list.

Heavy-hitting linebacker  Micah Awe, signed earlier in the week after an NFL opportunity did not pan out, is listed deep down the depth chart but is expected to dress.

By The Numbers:

3 – Turnovers committed by the Lions in last week’s loss to Toronto — all on their final three possessions.

6.3 – Receptions-per-game since Week 6 for Saskatchewan’s Jordan Williams-Lambert, who sits second only to Ottawa’s Brad Sinopoli (7.6) in the category.

95 – Per cent success rate for Riders kicker Brett Lauther on field goals since Week 2 (21-for-22). Lauther has made 14-straight field goal attempts, and sits second only behind Ottawa’s rookie sensation Lewis Wardoverall.

100 – Per cent of home games won by the Lions (3-0), and per cent of road games lost (0-5). No CFL team has ever gone unbeaten at home and simultaneously winless on the road, but BC is nearly halfway there. The only CFL team to ever approach that over a full season was Winnipeg, which went 8-0 at home and just 2-6 away in 1972.

Saturday’s is a pivotal contest for both franchises — there are no ifs ands or buts about it.

The Green and White have a chance to get something positive going for the second half of the season, against a BC team struggling with an identity crisis.

The Lions can’t seem to match up their strong offensive performances with strong defensive performances, and have had a tough time putting together four-quarter efforts.

At 3-5, a loss to a divisional rival this week would carry devastating consequences.

Saskatchewan needs to change the script of years past; BC simply needs to keep this year’s relevant.

– With files from Riderville.com/BCLions.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 – Saskatchewan Roughriders @BC Lions, August 25, 7p (4a Aug. 26 CET)

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