The year was 1988. A long ago time where Bush was president, Bon Jovi was touring Canada, Sylvester Stallone was working on a Rambo movie and Saskatchewan hosted a playoff game. Now a mere 19 years later, Bush is president, Bon Jovi is touring Canada, Stallone is working on a Rambo movie and Saskatchewan will host a home playoff game. Just when I thought I'd lost the keys to the De Lorean...
That's right Rider fans, by now you know that this weekend the Riders clinched their first home playoff in 19 years... unless of course you have the perceptive abilities of a CFL official, in which case you are oblivious to the home playoff game and are probably trying to invent a penalty to compensate. "Illegal catching of the forward pass, Saskatchewan number 3..." (Although I suppose they just make those calls for the good of the game.)
Mark your calendars and get your tickets while you can Rider fans... Nov 11th will truly be a day to remember.
Onto the game...
The Riders had actually clinched the playoff game two nights before taking the field this weekend thanks to a Stampeder loss, so it probably wouldn't have surprised too many people to see the Riders mail it in on Sunday. Instead it was the Ti-cats who mailed it in en route to a 38-11 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders (or "the players that were too good to make the Ti-Cats", as they are known to some.)
Yet again, Nick Setta did all the scoring for Hamilton, notching 2 FGs and a punt single. I find it ironic that the Ti-cats spent half a million to sign Casey Printers as their "franchise player" when Nick Setta should by all means be the Ti-cat nominee for MVP, Special Teams Player and Rookie of the year. Now that's a franchise player!
Hamilton is so bad it's almost comical. Yesterday alone they managed 2 penalties for illegal formation and 2 more for having 13 men in the huddle. Apparently the players have difficulty counting to 12 and just start guessing when they run out of fingers... What do you think would happen if Szarka was on their team... still too soon?
For the Riders, Scott Gordon set the tone for the game early on when he laid a huge hit on Brock Ralph over the middle. As one of the fans in my section so nicely put it "That's how we do it in 306 baby!" Holmes also did a fantastic job filling in for Wes Cates (though I have to admit he looked more like a receiver than a starting RB out there... not that it was a bad thing). It should come as no surprise that Gordon and Holmes had big games as this was their final chance this season to pour salt in the wounds of their old team. It made me glad to see that we have a coaching staff that actually uses players' talents: Gordon hitting like a cannon ball and Holmes doing pretty much everything else.
Joseph continued his strong play, throwing for a TD and rushing for 2 more. He is now only 1 TD away from tying Doug Flutie's single season record for most rushing TDs by a QB. And in case you didn't know, here are a few more Joseph stats for you: He's 2nd in passing yds, 3rd in passing TDs, 3rd among all players in rushing TDs and one of the least intercepted starting QBs in the league. All this from a guy who had his salary cut by over 1/3 and had to compete for the starting spot in training camp. Saskatchewan fans haven't seen that type of "I'm going to do what's best for the Riders" attitude from a quarterback since Henry Burris signed with Calgary.
One final bit of CFL news for you today... Apparently Sean Millington's 2nd comeback has been put on hold as talks between Millington and the Argos broke down last week. Who does this guy think he is? Larry Johnson? Message to Millington: You're a CBC announcer who retired 5 years ago (and again 2 years ago). You're not exactly in a strong bargaining position! Note to the Diesel: The mere fact that the Argos were interested in you has more to do with their bizarre need to sign CFL rejects than your playing ability. I think they like the security of knowing that their players are experienced in signing contracts, which guarantees that the first 5 minutes of their career as Argonauts should flow smoothly.
This is the Rider Prophet signing off.