July 16th, 2024

Patterson to make first CFL start when Riders host Argonauts

By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press on July 3, 2024.

It will now be up to Shea Patterson to keep the Saskatchewan Roughriders on their winning ways. Patterson (5) dives for a touchdown against Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the second half of CFL football action in Regina, on Sunday, June 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

It will now be up to Shea Patterson to keep the Saskatchewan Roughriders on their winning path.

Patterson makes his first career CFL start Thursday night when Saskatchewan (3-0) hosts the Toronto Argonauts (2-1). Patterson has at least had time to prepare as the Riders are coming off the bye week.

Harris, 38, went on the six-game injured list with a knee ailment. Last season, Saskatchewan won three of its first four regular-season games before Harris suffered a season-ending tibial plateau fracture in his right leg that required surgery.

The good news this time around is head coach Corey Mace has said Harris suffered a moderate MCL sprain.

Harris was injured in Saskatchewan’s 36-20 home win over Hamilton on June 23. Patterson saw action in that game, completing four-of-10 passes for 41 yards while also running for a Riders’ TD.

The six-foot-two, 202-pound Patterson is in his third CFL season, second with Saskatchewan. But in 21 career regular-season games, he has completed eight-of-16 passes for 73 yards with no TDs or interceptions.

The 27-year-old American has run 29 times for 61 yards and four TDs.

Patterson played collegiately at Mississippi and Michigan, passing for 8,800 yards, 68 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. He began his CFL career with the Montreal Alouettes in 2021 before joining the Riders last season.

Toronto is coming off a 30-20 home loss to the Montreal Alouettes. This is the Argos’ first road game this season.

Starter Cameron Dukes was 22-of-32 passing for 199 yards but threw his first interception of the season. Backup Bryan Scott came in late and provided Toronto its only TD of the night, a 40-yard scoring strike to Makai Polk.

But Toronto didn’t do itself any favours with 11 penalties for 120 yards.

The contest features an interesting family twist involving Saskatchewan defensive line coach Phillip Daniels and his son, Toronto receiver DaVaris Daniels. The elder Daniels is in his first season as a CFL coach but served as a defensive line coach with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles (2016-19) and earned a Super Bowl ring following a 15-year career as a defensive lineman with Seattle, Chicago and Washington.

DaVaris Daniels is in his eighth CFL season, fourth with Toronto. The league’s top rookie in 2018 with Calgary, the junior Daniels is a two-time Grey Cup champion (’18, ’22).

Saskatchewan is looking to go 4-0 for the first time since 2013 when it last won the Grey Cup. The Riders currently sit atop the West Division but the B.C. Lions (3-1) are close behind.

The Riders will also be minus American receiver Shawn Bane Jr., who had three TDs in their season-opening 29-21 win over Edmonton. However, running back A.J. Ouellette, a former Argo, had a season-high 98 yards rushing on 20 carries versus Hamilton.

Toronto leads the CFL in rushing (136.3 yards per game) while Saskatchewan (57.7) ranks last. Both defences have been very solid against the run with the Riders tops (32.7 per game) and Toronto second (40 yards).

Each unit is allowing a league-low 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

Pick: Toronto.

Ottawa Redblacks versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Friday night)

At Winnipeg, Zach Collaros (thorax) is expected to start for the Bombers (0-4). He was hurt in last week’s 22-19 overtime loss to Calgary and didn’t practise Tuesday. The Bombers’ losses have been by a combined 24 points but the last three have been by just nine points. One was a 22-19 road loss in Ottawa (2-1) on June 13 to former Bomber quarterback Dru Brown, who threw for 265 yards and a TD in last week’s 26-24 home win over Hamilton.

Pick: Winnipeg.

Calgary Stampeders versus Montreal Alouettes (Saturday night)

At Montreal, the Alouettes (4-0) play just their second home game but come off a solid 30-20 road win in Toronto. Cody Fajardo threw for 284 yards and a TD while backup Caleb Evans had a touchdown pass and rushing score. Canadian rookie Geoffrey Cantin-Arkin had two sacks in the Als’ solid defensive performance. Linebacker Cam Judge and cornerback Demerio Houston had seven tackles each for Calgary (2-1) last week against Winnipeg, adding a sack and interception, respectively.

Pick: Montreal.

B.C. Lions versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Sunday night)

At Hamilton, B.C. (3-1) makes its second trek East after its season-opening 35-27 loss in Toronto but last played June 27 in a 24-21 home win over Edmonton. Vernon Adams Jr. has a CFL-best 1,369 passing yards with seven TDs and one interception while Alexander Hollins has 27 catches for a league-leading 457 yards with three TDs. The Ticats (0-4) led 24-19 late last week in Ottawa but couldn’t hold on as Lewis Ward’s game-ending 46-yard field goal sealed the Redblacks’ win.

Pick: B.C.

Last week: 4-0.

Overall: 9-7.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2024.

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