The Montreal Alouettes (3-3) and Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-3) will do battle at Percival Molson Stadium Friday night. The Riders enter Friday night’s matchup on a three game winning streak, and both teams are 3-1 over their last four contests. It will be their first meeting of the season.
“I see a team that makes you drive the field,” Riders quarterback Cody Fajardo said. “They’re going to drop off and do a lot of zones. They’re going to take away a lot of our deep balls, similar to what Calgary did to us.”
“It’s going to be a grind-it-out game,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson added. “Montreal’s a good football team. I know they’ve probably got a chip on their shoulder from their last game where they probably felt like or at least feel they could’ve beaten Ottawa.”
While the Riders are coming off a 24-19 victory over Hamilton, the Alouettes will look to rebound after a 30-27 overtime defeat at the hands of the Ottawa REDBLACKS. But the Alouettes also lost quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.and running back William Stanback thanks to injury. As of now, both players are on the one-game injured list.
“Jeremiah has been playing good football in the last couple of games,” Alouettes head coach Khari Jones said. “He’s a smart guy back there as far as picking up blitzers, I don’t think there’s anyone better.
Johnson joined the Alouettes in the off-season after spending time with the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa REDBLACKS and BC Lions, and the 32-year old says he’s ready to play.
“I feel like I’m going to try and go out there and serve a five course meal,” Johnson said. “Finger food, entree, dinner, and we’re going to finish it off with a nice dessert.”
Meanwhile, Pipkin will make his first start at quarterback since the opening game of the season against Edmonton. The Texas native was injured partway through the contest, with Adams Jr. replacing him in relief. This week, the roles have reversed as Pipkin plays the role of backup turned starter.
“I just kind of take these as they come to be honest,” Pipkin said. “We just have that next-man up mindset and just be ready to when your number is called upon and be ready to produce.”
The Riders also called in some reinforcements this week, acquiring receiver Kenny Stafford in a trade with Edmonton for returner Christion Jones. The former Alouette receiver is on the Riders’ depth chart, though the team may end up choosing between him and receiver Shaq Evans, who’s reportedly a game time decision after injuring his ankle in practice.
Stafford has 30 catches, two touchdowns, and 366 yards in seven games with Edmonton this season.
“(Stafford’s) got experience in the system,” Dickenson said. “He knows multiple positions and he can get us through some games.
“He’s a smart guy, he’s a good football player. I feel like he can come in and contribute right away for us as either a starter or that first backup.”
The Riders will also dress linebacker Sam Hurl, and defensive linemen Lavar Edwards and Jeremy Faulk Friday as defensive linemen Micah Johnson, Zack Evans, and AC Leonard were each placed on the injured list.
The Alouettes, meanwhile, will have Quebec-born linebackers Jean-Gabriel Poulin and Fred Plesius at MIKE, backing up Henoc Muamba. Tackle Chris Schleuger will also be in the lineup as he takes over at right tackle with the absence of Tyler Johnstone. As a result, Sean Jamieson will be moved to right guard.
Montreal released two players earlier in the week including Canadian linebacker Brandon Calver and defensive lineman Brandin Bryant.
BY THE NUMBERS:
6 — Since 2013, both teams have won six times against each other across 12 matchups
16 — In those 12 games, 16 different quarterbacks have suited up between both teams. With both Cody Fajardo and Antonio Pipkin starting for Saskatchewan and Montreal respectively, the number will grow to 18.
108.6 — Riders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo leads all passers in pass efficiency with that rating.
16 — The Alouettes have allowed only 16 first quarter points all season and have never trailed after the first quarter of play.
– With files from MontrealAlouettes.com/Riderville.com
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