Sports Football

Roughriders welcome back leader Durant 0

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
Darian Durant will suit up behind centre Sunday afternoon for the Roughriders. Sun file photo.

Darian Durant will suit up behind centre Sunday afternoon for the Roughriders. Sun file photo.

REGINA - 

Their leader is back, so the Saskatchewan Roughriders offence hopes the swagger comes with it.

On Friday night, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers got a boost when starting pivot Buck Pierce returned from injury, and they won an important divisional game.

Darian Durant only missed one and a half games, but now he’s ready to suit up Sunday against the Calgary Stampeders, despite a sore hip flexor.

Durant will start, while Drew Willy will be the backup again, and the Riders hope that will get them back in a winning mode after last week’s loss in Montreal.

“Drew coming in for us, he did some good things,” receiver Weston Dressler said. “But we have that familiarity with Darian.

“The offensive guys have been with him all year and many guys have played with him in years past. There is that comfort level, playing with a guy we have chemistry with.”

Durant admitted Saturday he won’t be 100% when he faces the Stamps, but he didn’t want to put a number on how he feels.

All he would say is he wouldn’t put the team in jeopardy because of his health.

“Darian is the master of his own fate,” Riders head coach Corey Chamblin said. “He knows his body better than anyone, including the trainers.

“He’s mature enough to know what he can do. He’s tough enough to push through it. If he can’t go from there, we will happily hand the reigns to Drew Willy and try to win this game.”

Unlucky losing streak

Even No. 7 doesn’t find that number lucky, right now. Riders receiver Weston Dressler finds it hard to believe the Stamps have won seven straight regular-season games against Saskatchewan, dating all the way back to Sept. 17, 2010.

“I can’t really remember the last time we beat them,” Dressler said. “This year, we played two pretty good games against them where we didn’t do quite enough at the end of the game to get it done.

“We’ve played well enough to win some games, but there are little things here or there where we’re not finishing it off at the end.”

Defence tightens up

The last time the Stamps came into Mosaic Stadium, they were 3-4 and struggling a bit to find themselves. Now, they ride in at 7-4 and as the hottest team in the CFL.

Chamblin points to their defence as the main reason why. The group is coming together under first-year co-ordinator Rick Campbell after giving up an average of 28 points through the first seven games.

“He’s scrapped the things that were giving up explosions and tightening down,” Chamblin said. “Now they are giving up (15.5) points. They had a good offence anyway. They look like the old Calgary Stampeders with a good offence AND good defence.”

Extra points

With three receptions, Stamps SB Nik Lewis will move into the top 10 all-time past Rocky DiPietro. Lewis also needs just 65 yards to move into 14th on the all-time receiving yardage list, past Earl Winfield … The Riders have allowed just 14.6 points per game at home this season … This is a matchup of the two most disciplined teams in the CFL when it come to penalty yardage. The Riders have taken just 97 penalties for 767 yards, while the Stamps have been flagged 101 times for 825 … Stamps RB Jon Cornish needs 120 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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