Fajardo has oblique strain, will be game-time decision against Eskimos

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a golden opportunity to lock down first place in the CFL’s West Division on Saturday, but they will most likely be without starting quarterback Cody Fajardo.

Fajardo, who was recently named Saskatchewan’s nominee as Most Outstanding Player, suffered an oblique injury during Wednesday’s practice and will be a game-time decision when the 12-5-0 Roughriders host the 8-9-0 Edmonton Eskimos in the regular season finale.

“If the game was today, I wouldn’t be able to play,” said Farjardo on Friday afternoon.

Fajardo, who leads the CFL with 4,302 passing yards this season, described the injury as “pretty significant” and described the pain as “pretty tremendous.” He’s thrown for 18 touchdown passes since taking over from Zach Collaros, who was sidelined with a concussion in the season opener. Fajardo has also rushed for 10 touchdowns.

The Riders can clinch first in the West, along with a bye to the conference final, with a victory over the Eskimos or a Calgary Stampeders loss to the B.C. Lions on Saturday. If the Stampeders win and the Riders lose, Saskatchewan will fall to second place and would host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West semifinal on Nov. 10.

The importance of the contest isn’t lost on Fajardo, but he’s not about to make an egotistical decision to play at all costs.

“If I’m close to 50 or 60 per cent, I’m out there on the field with my guys but I also don’t want to be selfish and go out there and do stuff that I can’t do and put the team in a bad situation when we have capable backups in (Isaac) Harker and (Bryan) Bennett that can get the job done,” said Fajardo.

“If I’m unable to go tomorrow, that doesn’t mean we’re going to lose this game. We have a really talented football team and everyone is going to see that tomorrow. I’m going to wake up, see how I feel and go from there.”

If Fajardo is unable to play, Harker will get the start with Bennett moving into the backup role. Harker, a 24-year-old rookie, has appeared in three games this season, completing 21 of 33 passes for 254 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Head coach Craig Dickenson is confident that Harker and Bennett are capable of filling in for Fajardo.

“We certainly don’t feel like we’re going to take a step back. We know Cody’s had a great year but if he doesn’t play, we have confidence in Isaac and Bryan,” said Dickenson. “We feel like with the guys around those quarterbacks that we should be effective, we should be productive and we should put points on the board regardless.”

The Eskimos, who will travel to Montreal to play the Alouettes on Nov. 10 in the East Division semifinal, have chosen to rest a number of their starters on Saturday, including quarterback Trevor Harris and receivers Ricky Collins Jr. and Greg Ellingson.

Dickenson said the Riders aren’t taking the Eskimos lightly, especially with a victory giving the Riders a bye next week.

“It’s important because at this time of year, everybody’s tired and everybody’s a little beat up. I’m think if you asked every team in the West for sure they’d all give their right arm to get that bye,” said Dickenson. “But that doesn’t guarantee anything more than playing the next week.

EDMONTON ESKIMOS (8-9-0) AT SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (12-5-0)

Saturday, Mosaic Stadium

MAKING SOME HISTORY: Eskimos receiver Diego Viamontes will be the first Global player to start in a CFL game when he replaces Collins Jr. in the lineup on Saturday. Selected first overall by the Eskimos in the first-ever CFL-Liga de Futbol Americano Professional (LFA) draft in January, Viamontes made his CFL debut in Week 18 against the B.C. Lions.

ROUGHRIDERS BY THE NUMBERS: With a win on Saturday, Saskatchewan can post its highest win total (13) since 1970, the year it set the club record of 14. The Riders have only ever finished first and won the Grey Cup in the same year one time – that was in 1966 at 9-6-1.

MONCRIEF SITTING OUT: Riders linebacker Derrick Moncrief is on the 1-Game Injured List with a couple of nagging injuries. Moncrief has been outstanding this season, totalling 69 defensive tackles, four sacks and three interceptions. Defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy will replace Moncrief as the strongside linebacker.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2019.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

A Red Deer County man was arrested for drug possession by Innisfail RCMP on April 19. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Property crime and drugs top Red Deer RCMP priorities in new plan

2020-2022 Policing Priorities Plan going to city council on Monday

RCMP estimate about 500 people gathered on the weekend near Garrington Bridge along the Red Deer River, in a July 28, 2020 story. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Second person charged for alleged assault at anti-racism rally in Red Deer

A second person is facing charges following an alleged assault during an… Continue reading

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees vice-president Bonnie Gustola criticized provincial government layoffs at a rally that drew more than 80 people at City Hall Park on Friday.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
More than 80 rally in Red Deer against government health, education cutbacks

Rally at City Hall Park organized by the Council for Canadians

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

kk
Don’t try to teach a turtle tricks

I got Smokey at Woolworths. Woolworths was an awesome department store downtown,… Continue reading

New voluntary measures, including the encouragement of more mask wearing, have been introduced in the Edmonton health zone. “Red Deer has been very fortunate to have relatively low case numbers . . . relative to the rest of the province and the country,” says Mayor Tara Veer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
POLL: Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Should Alberta have stricter rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning in Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead

Buehler leads Dodgers over Rays 6-2 for 2-1 Series lead

Inter Miami defender Ben Sweat, left, and Montreal Impact attacker Maximiliano Urruti fight for the ball during their MLS soccer match, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Rested Montreal Impact looking to collect points with big finish to regular season

Rested Montreal Impact looking to collect points with big finish to regular season

Mariah Bell of the United States, competes during women's short program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Nathan Chen dominates again in Skate America short program

Nathan Chen dominates again in Skate America short program

Lanto Griffin putts on the ninth hole during the second round of the Zozo Championship golf tournament Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Thomas has a fast start for a 65 and a 1-shot lead at Zozo

Thomas has a fast start for a 65 and a 1-shot lead at Zozo

Mariah Bell of the United States, competes during women's short program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Bell, Tennell go 1-2 in Skate America short program

Bell, Tennell go 1-2 in Skate America short program

Most Read