Defending champion Roughriders entering CFL playoffs on winning note

Corey Chamblin and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are heading into the CFL playoffs on a positive note. The defending Grey Cup champions capped the regular season with a 24-17 home win over Edmonton on Saturday night. The Eskimos had already secured second in the West but Saskatchewan clinched third with the victory, and more importantly snapped an ugly five-game losing streak.

Corey Chamblin and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are heading into the CFL playoffs on a positive note.

The defending Grey Cup champions capped the regular season with a 24-17 home win over Edmonton on Saturday night. The Eskimos had already secured second in the West but Saskatchewan clinched third with the victory, and more importantly snapped an ugly five-game losing streak.

The Riders and Eskimos will get to do it all over again, this time at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday in the West semifinal. The winner will travel to Calgary to face the first-place Stampeders on Nov. 23.

“There are two sets of guys in the locker-room right now,” Chamblin said. “There is one set of guys who want to defend last year’s title and there’s another set of guys who want this year’s title to be their first.

“There’s a healthy blend in there and I’m really looking forward to getting back to the drawing board to get ready for another game that we know will be ready for us and that we will be ready for.”

The big question with the Riders is if incumbent Darian Durant will start Sunday? Durant suffered an elbow injury in a win against Winnipeg on Sept. 7 and recently returned to practice. Veteran Kerry Joseph was Saskatchewan’s starter in the victory over Edmonton.

Edmonton won the season series 2-1.

Also on Sunday, the Montreal Alouettes (9-9) will host B.C. (9-9) in the East Division semifinal. The Lions finished fourth in the West but secured the third Eastern playoff seed by posting a better record than the Toronto Argonauts (8-10).

The Lions will attempt to become the fourth straight team to win the Grey Cup on home soil. B.C. and Montreal split their season series 1-1.

The East Division semifinal winner will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field on Nov. 23. The conference champions square off in the Grey Cup game Nov. 30 at B.C. Place.

Ottawa (2-16) ended its inaugural season losing 23-5 in Toronto on Friday night. It was the fifth straight loss for the expansion Redblacks, who became just the third CFL club to suffer 16 losses in a season, joining the ’88 Rough Riders and ’97 Ticats.

When Calgary’s Jon Cornish takes to the field Nov. 23, he will do so with a third straight CFL rushing title under his belt. The Stampeders’ star ran for 1,082 yards despite playing in just nine games this season, becoming the league’s lone 1,000-yard rusher in 2014.

Cornish, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry, had six 100-yard games this year and broke the 150-yard mark four times, including a season-high 174 yards against Toronto on Sept. 13. Cornish averaged 120.2 yards per contest, compared to the 114.7 yards Hall of Famer Mike Pringle averaged in ’98 when he ran for a league-record 2,065 yards.

Cornish joins a very select group of CFL players to have recorded at least three rushing titles. The others include Johnny Bright (’57, ’58, ’59), George Reed (five straight from 1965-’69) and Pringle (four consecutive ’97-2000).

Not surprisingly, Cornish has been nominated for the CFL’s outstanding player and Canadian awards, honours he captured last season.

But it was B.C. linebacker Solomon Elimimian who had a record-breaking campaign. Elimimian registered a league-record 143 tackles, 54 more than runner-up Bear Woods of Montreal. Elimimian was also the only CFL player to register more than 100 tackles this season.

Despite missing Toronto’s season-ending win over Ottawa with a concussion, Argos quarterback Ricky Ray finished the season as the league’s top passer. Ray threw for 4,595 yards, the only player to crack the 4,000-yard plateau.

Ray also led the CFL in touchdown passes (28) and was its most accurate starter (68.5 per cent).

Adarius Bowman led the league in receiving (112 catches, 1,456 yards and six TDs) and yards from scrimmage (1,470). Bowman was one of just three players to surpass the 1,000-yard plateau, the others being Winnipeg’s Clarence Denmark (65 catches, 1,080 yards, three touchdowns) and Montreal’s Duron Carter (75 receptions, 1,030 yards, seven TDs).

Saskatchewan’s John Chick led the CFL in sacks with 15. He anchored a Riders’ defence that posted a league-leading 61 sacks, six ahead of second-place Edmonton.

Toronto’s Swayze Waters had two solid accomplishments. He finished the season as the CFL scoring leader with 192 points and connected on 47-of-52 field goals (90.4 per cent). Waters was also the league’s top punter with a 47.7-yard average.

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

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read