LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Ottawa REDBLACKS, Thurs. June 20, 7:30p EDT (1:30a June 21 CEDT)

OTTAWA — The nation’s capital will see its first football action in 2019 Thursday night.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders look to win their first game of the season as they square off against the Ottawa REDBLACKS at TD Place Thursday night. The Riders are coming off a 23-17 loss to the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton in Week 1, while the REDBLACKS came back from 15 points down to defeat the Calgary Stampeders 32-28.

The REDBLACKS will host their first home game of the new season. Six of Ottawa’s 11 victories in 2018 came at home.

“We love playing here. Believe me, it’s a great place to play,” REDBLACKS head coach Rick Campbell said. “We don’t want to get distracted on something like that as we want to just play good football regardless of where it is, but obviously it’s always special to come home and play in front of the fans.”

» Depth Charts: SSK | OTT

Ottawa won both meetings against Saskatchewan last season and hasn’t lost against the Riders since the 2017 Eastern Semi-Final.

Current Riders, and ex-REDBLACKS running back, William Powell will play against his former teammates for the first time since joining Saskatchewan in the off-season. The Texas native spent four seasons with the REDBLACKS, and won a Grey Cup in 2016 despite missing the season due to injury. Powell rushed for 104 yards last week against Hamilton and also found the end zone.

“It’ll be, probably, a lot more fun knowing pretty much everybody who’s on the defence,” Powell said. “I know all about them, they know all about me. It’ll be exciting. I’m sure they’ll have some game plans for me from knowing me so well. But I’m excited for the challenge.”

Quarterback Cody Fajardo will make his season debut and first start for the Riders Thursday night. He’ll step in for starter Zach Collaros, who had to leave the season opener against Hamilton after being injured on a hit from Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence.

Fajardo played in relief of Collaros against Hamilton and threw nine completions for 66 yards and had seven carries for 34 rushing yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Ticats. Isaac Harker, a 23-year-old rookie, played the majority of the second half, averaging an impressive 9.1 yards per attempt. However, he also threw two interceptions, including a game-ending Hail Mary on the final play.

Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson announced the quarterback decision Tuesday, confirming that Fajardo would start.

“We felt like he was the starter, we just didn’t want to advertise that,” Dickenson said. “He’ll get the start and I think he’ll have a good game.”

Dickenson also said that Harker would also see time against the REDBLACKS.

“In the second half we’re trying to win the game so whoever is hot at that point,” Dickenson added.

The Riders signed Bryan Bennett this week after placing Collaros on the 6-game injured list. Bennett will suit up as the team’s third-string quarterback.

Following an injury to Dariusz Bladek, 2018 first round draft pick Dakoda Shepley will make the first start of his career at right guard. Braden Schram will be the backup and the sixth offensive lineman.

This year’s second round draft pick, receiver Brayden Lenius, will make his CFL debut Thursday.

There’s less uncertainty with the Ottawa REDBLACKS on who will start at quarterback: 29-year old Dominique Davis.

The Florida native threw four interceptions last week against Calgary, but also threw for 276 yards while scoring three rushing touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 1:22 to play in the fourth quarter. But Davis knows he’ll have to be better Thursday night.

“I definitely don’t pride myself in giving the ball to other teams,” Davis said. “The biggest thing is just taking care of the ball.”

Meanwhile, Powell’s replacement is doing just fine in Ottawa. Mossis Madu Jr. had 112 yards on 24 carries during last week’s win over Calgary, adding six catches for 28 yards through the air. Madu had high praise for his offensive line ahead of Thursday night’s game.

“I told them I owe them some Popeyes,” Madu Jr. said. “To go for 100 (yards), the first game of the year like that and the way they dominated up front. It’s amazing, I love them.”

With five Canadian starters up front, the REDBLACKS’ all-national O-line got off to a good start. Not only did Madu break the century mark, but the team didn’t allow a single sack.

Ottawa will field a similar lineup to last week, though defensive end JR Tavai and Canadian receiver Nate Behar are both out of the lineup after being placed on the 1-game injured list.

BY THE NUMBERS

4 — REDBLACKS quarterback Dominique Davis will make his fourth career Canadian Football League start Thursday. Davis made two starts as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

4 — The number of new head coaches in the CFL this season, including Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson. The league saw four new head coaches during the 2012, 2008, and 1970 CFL season.

70 — The total number of points Ottawa scored in both matchups against Saskatchewan last season combined. By comparison, the REDBLACKS only allowed 42 from the Roughriders from both contests.

7 – The amount of times a Roughriders-REDBLACKS matchup has been decided within the final three minutes of a game since 2014.

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2019 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Ottawa REDBLACKS, Thurs. June 20, 7:30p EDT (1:30a June 21 CEDT)

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