Over the last three games, the Roughriders defence has allowed a whopping 339 yards rushing.
And over the last three games, Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. has rushed for 380.
The Argonauts number one running back has really come on over the last several weeks and the Roughriders know they can’t let him put up big numbers if they want to win on Saturday.
“(Wilder Jr.) has been there the whole year, but as of late they’ve really been handing him the rock and he’s had a really good past couple games,” said defensive lineman Eddie Steele.
The Riders run defence has steadily declined over the last few games, culminating in a season high 203 yards allowed last week against the Redblacks.
The club was only able to get past Ottawa when they hunkered down and stopped running back William Powell late in the game and then added a few points themselves.
Now, they’re going to need all of the magic the defence had in the middle of the season.
“When we were playing as a full 12 defensive unit, we were playing pretty well and they weren’t running (against us) the way they were,” said Steele.
So what needs to change?
“We just got to get back to basics and everybody needs to buy in on every single play,” Steele said.
“Forget all of the outside noise and just focus on every single play that’s at hand and I think we’re going to be just fine.”
On the other side of the ball, the Riders offence will have some reinforcements.
Naaman Roosevelt will play for the first time since taking a nasty hit from Tunde Adeleke two weeks ago and suffering a concussion.
“(I only felt symptoms for) probably a day or two after and then, after that, I was feeling good,” Roosevelt told reporters in Ottawa after he starting practicing again.
“It was a big hit and I feel like I’ve had hits like that all of the time. For me, it just happened to be bad. I know that everyone is happy to see me back and I’m excited to be back with my guys.’’
Roosevelt is on pace to have another 1000 yard season this year. He’s currently sitting at 929 with five more regular season games to go.
The Riders will also have a new face in at running back this week as former NFLer Trent Richardson will take his first reps in the CFL.
Kick off is at 2 p.m. With the Green Zone 10-hour game day beginning at 10 a.m.
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