The Lions won’t have the services of standout DT Khalif Mitchell for the next two games after the league upheld his suspension for a dirty hit on Edmonton’s Simeon Rottier back on July 20.
While Mitchell is a huge cog in B.C.’s defense, rookie Maurice Evans is out to prove he’s a suitable replacement. Evans won’t start against the Riders Sunday but will be promoted to the active roster and is expected to be a part of the regular rotation in the trenches.
“He’s (Evans) the most explosive guy we have up front,” Lions defensive line coach Carl Hairston told reporters. “Saskatchewan ain’t seen a guy like him. He’s got the attitude and guts. And he’s a talented guy. The only thing I worry about is, he’s going to try so hard, he’s going to get tired. That energy is going to be so high.”
British Columbia has the No. 1 defense in the league, giving up less than 20 points on 293.3 yards against per game this season. The Lions fell 23-20 in their last meeting with Saskatchewan, failing to cover the spread as 3-point road favorites on July 14. That snapped B.C.’s three-game winning streak over the Riders and was just Saskatchewan’s third ATS victory over the Lions in their past 10 meetings.
That win was also the last time the Roughriders celebrated a victory, dropping three straight since. Saskatchewan suffered a crushing 28-20 defeat to the rival Edmonton Eskimos last week and is trying to remain positive about the upcoming schedule.
“We just have to keep going, keep fighting, keep plugging,” quarterback Darin Durant told reporters. “That’s why we play next week.”
Durant threw for 401 yards in the loss to the Eskimos but was also picked off twice and failed to find the endzone. On the season, he’s completed just 63.6 percent of his passes and has an 8-to-4 TD-to-INT count. He passed for only 172 yards without a touchdown or interception in the Week 3 win over the Lions.
Under is 8-1 in the last nine meetings in B.C.
Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
Roughriders are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings.
Roughriders are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings in B.C.