"We're really rollin', now we're on our way!"
As the theme song for the Saskatchewan Roughriders goes, the Green and White definitely appear to be rolling after back-to-back home wins over CFL West Division opponents the past two games. In Week 13 the Riders nudged the Calgary Stampeders 30-25 while this past Saturday night in Week 14, Saskatchewan dumped the league's best team, the BC Lions, 27-21 in front of another sellout crowd.
With five games to go and first- and second-place within striking distance, the up and down Riders appear ready to make their move and the fans are right there with them on the edge of their seats.
It was a very special night at Mosaic Stadium this past game. It was the only regular season night game of the year and the lights at the stadium were already on at the game's 8:10 pm kickoff time. It seems ever since the new stadium plans were announced, fans are eager to soak up every last ounce of Rider Pride there is to savour at home games and at this one there was a lot.
Before the game there was a lot of noise about the 'Occupy The Stadium' movement which was supposed to feature 30 or so protesters outside Mosaic Stadium before the game. Initially the group was anti-stadium but then they backed off on their stance. I'm not certain they even knew WHAT they were protesting and the only report of protesters I received was two guys sitting at a cardtable on the practice field with a cheesy sign.
No, the spirit of the Rider Nation was not going to be dampened Saturday night. Their team led throughout the entire contest and survived a late scare to post the victory and improve to 7-6. Slotback Weston Dressler was the hero of the night scoring two touchdowns just days after attending his grandfather's funeral in the USA. Dressler is going to go down as one of the all-time great Roughriders.
Something remarkable has gone on with this football team this year and it's been fascinating to watch. After a 3-0 start they then went 0-5 before rebounding to win four of their past five games. But it's the intensity they've put forth in the past two games which has made us sit up and take notice. They're not winning games with finesse nor are they trying to. They are physically dominating their opponents, both of whom were ahead of Saskatchewan in the standings.
"I told them to play every game like it's their last," Rider coach Corey Chamblin stated when asked what the difference has been lately. It certainly seems to be working.
Rider GM Brendan Taman said this week "there's something special" about this team but right now it's tough to a finger on just what it is. So I asked quarterback Darian Durant after Saturday's game what's unique about this 2012 Roughrider team.
"Our heart," Durant answered without hesitation.
And that could make things very dangerous for the rest of the CFL the rest of the way.
(Rod Pedersen is the voice of the Riders on CKRM radio)