THE Saskatchewan Roughriders on Wednesday purchased a billboard near BC Place and no, it wasn’t to say good luck to their Division rivals. Instead it was promoting the Riders’ with the slogan “Green is the new Orange”. Of course, the Lions were going to respond. Lions’ President and CEO Dennis Skulsky would make not just a guarantee but THE guarantee. Skulsky guaranteed that the Lions would come out with a win Sunday but if they fell short, all fans in attendance would be able to redeem their tickets for a remaining regular season home game this year.
With all this going on, it was easy to forget who was going to be taking snaps once the whistle blew. After the way Glenn has played this month it wasn’t all that surprising to see him getting the go-ahead for this game and with a much healthier Lions squad in front of him, including a returning Andrew Harris and Dante Marsh, Skulsky had to be feeling confident.
In back to back weeks Tim Brown has gotten the crowd on their feet early and often, making this time no different. Five minutes in, he returned a punt 75 yards through a sea of green as he stepped into the end zone for the first time this season to put BC up 10-0. Unfortunately that was the only touchdown for BC. Yes, they scored a couple field goals but that wasn’t enough.
Coming out of the half, Roughriders’ QB Darian Durant couldn’t continue due to a hand injury, providing the home side with a little extra hope, but BC wasn’t immune to the injury bug. First it was the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, Solomon Elimimian, who went down with an apparent leg injury and then Kevin Glenn fell to the same fate. Neither would return.
Enter Travis Lulay. They couldn’t go back to Glenn, so it was Lulay or bust, and for the first time this season he threw a pass, but a pass was not enough to guarantee the Lions a win. Durant’s replacement would record his first CFL touchdown which would be enough to shatter the Skulsky guarantee. 20-16 would be the final score but for the fans in attendance there is another chance, if they aren’t too discouraged.
Could this whole guarantee business have pumped up Saskatchewan more than BC? Yes, especially judging by the view in the visiting locker room. On each locker was a picture of Skulsky saying, “We’re gonna go and win and we’re guaranteeing it”. I guess a billboard wasn’t enough for the Lions.
BC has a bye week which will be torturous for them, knowing they had a legitimate chance to impact the standings Sunday but fell to 5-4 and still sit last in the west. Lucky for them they’ll come out of a week off to face a new Ottawa Redblacks team who has won just once this year. With just 9 games left there is still a lot of work to do but with the rest of the West keeping pace, it’s going feel more like 3.
– BY NICHOLAS BASRAN