LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @BC Lions, Oct. 18, 7p (10p EDT, 4a Oct. 19, CEDT)

VANCOUVER — The Saskatchewan Roughriders are taking a road warrior mentality into BC Place on Friday night.

The Riders will play their second of three consecutive games on the road, when they visit the BC Lions as part of a Friday night double header to kick off Week 19. Saskatchewan is coming off a 30-28 loss to the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium, and is now 3-4 away from Mosaic Stadium in 2019, compared to 7-1 at home.

“We have to be road warriors, going three games on the road, and these are big games,” Riders starting quarterback Cody Fajardo told “We need to be able to show up and win on the road. We’re a really tough team at home and we know our crowd energizes us, but we need to be able to find ways to energize our team, whether it’s in the warm-ups or before we run on the field in someone else’s stadium.”

» Depth Charts: SSK | BC

While BC has been eliminated from playoff contention, Saskatchewan could finish anywhere from first to fourth in the hotly-contested West, currently locked in a three-way tie with Calgary and Winnipeg. Though their fate depends somewhat on what happens between the Stampeders and Blue Bombers, who square off in a home-and-home the next two weeks, the Riders are focused on themselves.

“For us, we’ve got to handle business and let everything else play out,” said Fajardo. “We’ll be tuning in [to the Calgary vs. Winnipeg matchup], but it doesn’t matter what happens in that game if we don’t take care of our business on Friday.”

The Riders are on a 9-2 run and have emerged as one of the West Division powers. They disposed of BC rather easily earlier in the season, winning back to back games by a combined score of 83-43. Still, overlooking any opponent at this time of the season would be a mistake.

“We’re gonna play a hungry BC Lions team that’s going to play well,” said Head Coach Craig Dickenson. “They’re going to throw everything at us regardless of who’s at quarterback.”

“I see a team that’s going to come out swinging,” added Fajardo. “They’re going to throw everything including the kitchen sink at us. They have nothing to lose. A lot of guys are fighting for jobs. We want to start fast, that’s one of our goals. Start fast, put doubt in their minds early.”

Defensive tackle Micah Johnson is out after being placed on the one-game injured list. The Riders will start two Canadians at defensive tackle in Makana Henry and rookie Charbel Dabire.

Former first round pick Cameron Judge, who’s enjoyed a breakout season with 53 tackles and four sacks, returns to the lineup after being sidelined vs. Calgary.

Linebacker Solomon Elimimian will make his second trip back to BC Place after nine seasons and 118 games with the Lions. He currently leads the Riders with 73 tackles in 12 games. Elimimian was released by BC in the off-season after playing just four games in 2018.

“There’s a reason I’m not in BC,” Elimimian said before the game. “I can’t dwell on the past, I just dwell on what’s in front of me. We have some real potential here. We don’t want to see it go to waste. I’m confident and excited with where we’re at as a team.

“I still have some great former teammates and friends over there, but that’s the business we’re in, you move on,” he added. “At the end I wish our team can win a Grey Cup and take it one game at a time. It’s no axe to pick with anybody on that side.”

The Lions no longer have playoff aspirations, but should still be inspired for Friday night’s contest. Not only are there jobs on the line for 2020, but they also have the chance to play spoiler, with games against both Saskatchewan and Calgary on the schedule.

“You’re a pro and you have pride and if you can’t play for those two things, then you’re not in the right building and you’re definitely not welcome in our building,” Claybrooks told “We expect the guys to step up and play. We understand they (Calgary and Saskatchewan) have something to fight for.

“We’re not trying to be an easy win. We’re going in there to try and win both games and the message doesn’t change just because the circumstances have.”

The Lions will wear white at home, while fans are also encouraged to wear white as part of a ‘white out game’. They were mathematically eliminated last weekend during a 19-6 loss to Edmonton. Mike Reilly attempted just three passes before suffering a broken wrist that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

Reilly has already undergone surgery and is expected to make a full recovery in six to eight weeks. For now, Danny O’Brien will be the team’s starting quarterback. O’Brien, who completed just 12 of 23 passes for 103 yards and an interception vs. the Eskimos, is excited for the challenge of being a starter.

“More often than not, as a backup, you’re going to come in under not the best circumstances,” said O’Brien. “It could be an injury or the fact your team is out of the playoffs. So I just want to get the ball out on time, move the sticks and capitalize in the red zone. Basic stuff like that.”


As a backup, O’Brien has dressed in 97 games over the last six seasons with BC, Edmonton and Ottawa. The circumstances aren’t ideal, but the 29-year old is grateful for the rare opportunity. The Riders boast the CFL’s second-ranked defence, allowing just 301 yards per game.

“It’s a good challenge, but that’s what you want,” he said. “As a competitor, you want to face the best and we’re going to see that. They’re a really good defence, they do a lot of good things and hopefully we can just go out there, do our jobs, stay ahead of the sticks, stay on the field, give our defence a little time to rest and come out with the win.”

On the defensive side, the Lions will have their hands full trying to contain Fajardo. The Riders’ quarterback ran into trouble vs. Calgary, but has been stellar overall in 2019, throwing for more than 3,600 yards while adding 590 rushing yards. He’s combined for 25 touchdowns, including 10 on the ground.

“He knows how to get the ball to his playmakers, he likes throwing it up, giving them 50/50 balls and he’s great with his legs,” explained T.J. Lee. “He knows how to get out of the pocket, he breaks tackles here and there but ultimately want to put pressure on him, make him fumble and make him throw picks.”

With Jonathan Newsome out, Mat Boesen returns to the Lions’ defensive line after being sidelined since July 11. Maleki Harris is also back in the lineup and will start at middle linebacker. Running back Brandon Rutley and defensive back Aaron Grymes will miss Friday’s contest after being placed on the one-game injured list.

Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge will be the Lions’ third-string quarterback after signing this week. Rookie Grant Kraemer is listed as the primary backup.

– With files from

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LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @BC Lions, Oct. 18, 7p (10p EDT, 4a Oct. 19, CEDT)

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