Coming off of two straight losses and having parted ways with wide receiver Duron Carter last weekend, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were need of some positive momentum.
They certainly accomplished that Sunday as they handed the Calgary Stampeders their first loss of the season in a 40-27 triumph at Mosaic Stadium.
“This is a huge win for us,” Riders linebacker Sam Eguavoen said after the game.
“We just beat the top team in the league and it tells everyone else that we’re here.”
The Riders brought a ton of pressure on Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell during the game, as he was sacked five times and threw an interception.
That pick came at the hands of defensive back Nick Marshall, who ran 67 yards to the end zone for a touchdown that moved the Riders out in front 14-0 after the first quarter.
“Our guys disturbing and moving him off his spot helped us win the football game,” Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones said.
“The guys seemed extremely focused and if they bring that type of focus and attitude for the rest of the year, we’re going to be in every football game.”
The special teams also played a key role in the win as Brett Lauther kicked six field goals, while Eguavoen blocked a punt and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
“It was a total team effort,” Riders quarterback Zach Collaros said. “The defence was amazing, the special teams scored a touchdown for us and we had a good field position all night long.
“We were able to sustain some drives on offence, but we have to score touchdowns moving forward. However, we just beat the top team in the league and we’ll take it anyway we can.”
The Riders got their lone offensive major on a short yardage run from Marshall, while Collaros completed 25 of 34 passes for 270 yards.
Although he was under siege for most of the night from the Riders defence, Mitchell was able to throw four touchdown passes and completed 22 of 36 passes for 275 yards.
“We got outplayed and outcoached,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said.
“They seemed to play faster. They had a little bit more edge. They were a little more physical. They executed a little better. When you put all of those things together and when you’re playing a good team, you’re going to get beat.”
The Stampeders, who were looking for their first 8-0 start in franchise history, remain in the top spot in the CFL’s West Division with a 7-1 mark.
Thanks to their win, the Riders are now in fourth place in the division with a 4-4 record and will now prepare to face the B.C. Lions in Vancouver Saturday.
The Riders also made an addition to their receiving core Monday as they acquired Canadian Brian Jones from the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2019 CFL Draft.
Jones, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 CFL Draft, had 12