The defending Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders did not disappoint in their season opener, as they defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31-10.
It was a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup, but the results were similar. Saskatchewan jumped out to an early lead, and it was too much for Hamilton to overcome.
Even though these were the same teams, the players were different. The Tiger-Cats decided to part ways with veteran quarterback Henry Burris in the off-season, and pursue a young and promising quarterback in Zach Collaros.
Collaros showed resiliency and did not give up, despite the lopsided score, the fact that he was sacked 10 times, and the gusting winds, rain and crazy weather that you should expect to see in Saskatchewan.
For Hamilton’s sake they better find ways to protect Collaros, sooner than later, because they don’t want to have a replica of the Edmonton Eskimos disastrous 4-14 season last year. Edmonton quarterback Mike Riley got sacked more than any quarterback.
With the Saskatchewan win, I think it shows fans that the team is ready to move on without Weston Dressler, Kory Sheets, Geroy Simon, Keith Shologan and other key contributors who are not on the team from last year.
The biggest question mark heading into the season was "Who is going to replace Grey Cup MVP Sheets?" The Roughriders have found their answer in Anthony Allen, who rushed for 156 yards and scored two touchdowns in his CFL debut.
Saskatchewan has always been known for their productive running game, and they’ve had some great running backs the last decade: Corey Holmes, Wes Cates and Sheets.
Unlike some previous running backs for the Riders, who were the quick and smaller types, Allen is a bigger back. He provides that physical presence and looks more like a receiver than a running back.
He is not quick like Sheets, but he is more physical and can break tackles.
For the Roughriders to have a productive season, and contend for a second consecutive Grey Cup, quarterback Darian Durant needs to be consistent every week. He had a productive first half, and finished with two passing touchdowns.
Having Chris Getzlaf back in the receiving core helps, as they have been play together since Durant has been the starter.
The Riders have gotten to the start they need by winning the first game, and they will continue to contend in the West on their way to that second consecutive Grey Cup.