The Saskatchewan Roughriders made history in their 48-25 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday by capturing an 8-1 record for the first time as a CFL franchise.
“As far as making history, I think that’s something that we’ll always remember and it gives guys something to play for,” head coach Corey Chamblin said on the Riders’ 8-1 record. “And at the same time it puts us in a pretty good position after nine games.
Even though the season is only half way through, defensive end Ricky Foley doesn’t think it’s too early to start talking about the Grey Cup.
“It’s not too early to talk about that. You need some luck and you need some breaks,” Foley said to Mitchell Blair of 620 CKRM. “When you look at the mix we have in this room, we have the chemistry and the personalities. I have said it since training camp. We have everything in here that we need to win, it’s just a case of going out and showing it week after week after week.
The Blue Bombers played one of their best halves of football to start the game. A pair of touchdowns gave them an 18-14 lead heading into the third quarter.
Chamblin felt the Bombers’ lackluster first eight games of the season made it tough for the Riders to know what to expect from them.
“You’re all over the place as to what they are going to do when they have had so much turnover,” he said. “After the first half, they could only show so much and we had to adjust. I thought we did a good job of defending what they did in the first half and all the things they came up with. Now that we’ve seen them, I think it’s a level playing field as we get ready for them next week.”
The Riders started to grab momentum in the third quarter when Chris Milo kicked a field goal to bring them within one. Kory Sheets would go on to punch in a touchdown to take the lead.
Saskatchewan took control of the game in the final frame. Darian Durant hit Taj Smith twice, Geroy Simon and Milo kicked his second field goal to wrap up the contest.
Simon had his best game in a Rider jersey, catching five passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
“It felt great,” Simon told Blair. “I just wanted to come out and make some plays and get some opportunities. They definitely looked for me a lot today. We’ve been working on some chemistry in practice and I think it’s finally starting to come together. “
Despite throwing his first interception of the season, Durant had one of his better games on the year. He hit 24 of his 35 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns.
Blue Bombers’ Justin Goltz, meanwhile, held his own, completing 18 of 29 passes and running for 73 yards.
A slow start led to Sheets falling short of 100 yards for just the second time on the season; he ran for 91 yards on 20 attempts.
Chris Getzlaf didn’t catch one in the end zone, but he shinned the brightest among the Riders’ receivers with 112 yards on seven catches.
The two teams will meet again next week in the first-ever ‘Banjo Bowl’ to be held at Investors Group Field.