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The Morning After – Riders Beat Elks to Start Season

Published: Monday, Jun 12th 2023, 3:06pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


At the end of the day, they don’t ask how, just how many. The Saskatchewan Roughriders start their season with the most important stat, a win, after beating the Edmonton Elks last night 17-13. There were some definite highlights, some bad moments and a very poor decision made in this game that have me reminiscing a bit this morning. Here’s my thoughts on The Morning After:


– I really liked the defensive backfield last night. Amari Henderson made some great pass break ups on Geno Lewis and Steven Dunbar, both on 2nd downs that forced Edmonton to punt and settle for a field goal. 

– This defense has some HEAVY hitters… what a physical game from the D. Jeremy Clark with a tremendous read and hit on Dillon Mitchell on a screen pass, Rolan Milligan had some huge hits… it was great to see.

– Jayden Dalke was great to see as well. Dude had a GREAT game with some big hits, important tackles and made an impact on specials. I’m already a huge fan and he’s only going to get better. Another heavy hitter in the secondary that will have opposing teams thinking about how often they take a shot over the middle of the field. I’m not going to buy a new jersey, but if I did, #38 would be my choice.

– Outside of the 102 yard TD for Geno Lewis (what a great play by Lewis, not much else Jeremy Clark could have done there), the Riders D gave up NOTHING to the Elks. It was a pretty dominating performance.

– New punter Adam Korsak is GREAT! He’s got a great leg, and his placement is wonderful. That coffin corner punt in the first quarter? *chefs kiss* No way should Kaare Vedvik get his job back if Korsak continues like this.

– Mario Alford is somehow going to be better than he was last year. It won’t take long before he breaks a return for a TD (or 6).

– The play design on Derel Walker’s touchdown was brilliant. Having him in a misdirection with a fake handoff only works on first down near the goal line when the other team expects you to run… I expected them to run the ball there and that’s why Walker was so open. Great design and call from new Offensive Coordinator Kelly Jeffrey.

– The O-Line was okay. Not good, not terrible. Just okay. Only 2 sacks allowed, so I guess that’s considered good compared to last year?

– This game was almost exactly what you should come to expect from Trevor Harris. Generally speaking, he was able to move the ball, but could only finish once in the red zone. I won’t fault him or the team for settling for a field goal after a 103 yard drive… While I wish they could have put up 7 there, that was still one hell of a drive that tied the game up. That said, a couple of bad interceptions that need to be corrected. You can’t do that next week against Winnipeg and win the game. Good thing it happened to a bad Elks team.

– The BEST part about the game for Trevor Harris happened on Saturday in his media interview with Ryan Rishaug. I’ve never seen a pro football player call someone a “butt sniffer” but oh my goodness did I laugh at that! Forever, will he be known as Ryan “Butt Sniffer” Rishaug.

– How about that goal line stand from the Riders to essentially win the game? 3 cracks from the 1 yard line should be an AUTOMATIC in the CFL. Jason Shivers and his group should be proud of that.

– The following drive by the O to kill the final 3+ minutes of the game should be applauded too… except for that final play

– WHAT THE HELL IS CRAIG DICKENSON THINKING?? Sure, Brett Lauther has been shaky a bit, but you HAVE to trust he will make a field goal in that situation. From that distance, even if he misses, the ball likely gets out of the endzone and kills the rest of the clock. Instead, you leave your starting QB in there with a suspect O-Line and ask them to block for 7 seconds? There are many times per game these guys can’t block for 2 seconds!! I don’t hate the play call itself, but put your running QB Shea Patterson in there to dance around instead. Harris took a HUGE hit, was down for a bit after and for the sake of Coach Dickenson’s job, he better hope that Harris doesn’t have any kind of lingering injury here. Absolutely brutal decision. You have 45 men on that roster, Harris is the LAST one that should be taking that kind of hit.


Oh, and I don’t care if it wasn’t intentional and even the ref KNOWS it was an accident, you can’t somersault into a ref. ZERO contact on an official means ZERO CONTACT ON AN OFFICIAL. It SHOULD have some discretion involved, but Jake Ceresna needs to know his surroundings before celebrating. I saw a LOT of people blaming the ref for that last night, but ultimately, the onus is on the player. A bit of a dumb rule (though look elsewhere in pro sports, you can NOT touch an official), but it was the correct call.


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