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Game Preview: Lions look to clinch home playoff game versus Riders

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Trevor Knapp Nov 05, 2016 4:12 am 171

It’s simple for the BC Lions this evening: beat the Roughriders at home today and second place in the West is theirs.

The Leos are going for a second consecutive season sweep of Saskatchewan, as they prevailed in all three meetings in 2015 before taking the first two matches this season.

Let’s get right into it.

Matchup

Venue: BC Place, Vancouver

Date/Time: Saturday, November 5 at 4 pm

TV: TSN

Radio: TSN 1410

Lineup

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See also

Standings update

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Winnipeg beat Ottawa on Friday night, putting them into a tie for second place with BC. That means the West semi-final matchup is set, with the only thing left to decide being the host stadium.

The Blue Bombers hold the tiebreaker over BC by virtue of winning the season series. That means BC needs a win (or a tie) tonight to secure home field.

McCallum’s return to the Orange and Black

Good on just over 80% of his field goal attempts last season as a member of the Roughriders, Paul McCallum has come out of retirement, dawning a Lions uniform for the first time since 2014.

McCallum hasn’t kicked footballs around for a while before re-joining the Leos earlier this week, but believes as a kicker, it won’t be hard to get comfortable again. You can’t help but agree considering he’s such a grizzled vet with a longtime reputation of being clutch.

It’ll be interesting to see how McCallum fares later today.

Riders already looking at next year

Ending yet another disappointing season for the third straight year, Rider Nation is once again forced to stay positive and say, “maybe next season”.

Today, Saskatchewan will be without their star quarterback, Darian Durant.

Mitchell Gale, a 26-year-old backup, will start in place of Durant. Gale has played in eight games this year,  throwing for almost 900 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions. Expect GJ Kinney and Brandon Bridge to get looks in this one as well.

Durant hits free agency this summer, so tryouts for a possible new pivot in Saskatchewan might be brewing.

Will BC rest their stars at some point?

Wide receiver Shawn Gore (concussion) won’t play, meaning Stephen Adekolu is set to get some reps, BC could be taking more of their starters out if things get out of hand early.

Expect backup QB Travis Lulay to see some action in the second half, and for Anthony Allen to receive some carries in the backfield.

Securing a home playoff game is huge for this franchise, but risking injury to a star player in a blowout just doesn’t make sense.

Prediction

31-14 BC. Jonathon Jennings finishes passing for 5,000 yards passing on the season, while wideout Manny Arceneaux reaches 100 catches on the year. Lions clinch a home playoff game for next Sunday.


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Trevor Knapp
Daily Hive Vancouver sports writer

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