September 5, 2018 7:08 pm
Updated: September 5, 2018 7:10 pm

Roughriders focused on stopping Bombers run game in Banjo Bowl

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris celebrates with fans after a touchdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during first half CFL football action at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018.

Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive unit believe they need to be better in stopping the Bombers run game when the two teams meet up in Winnipeg on Saturday for the Banjo Bowl.

Despite their 31-23 win over the Bombers at the Labour Day Classic on Sunday, the defence gave up 158 rushing yards to Andrew Harris – the league’s leading rusher — on 15 carries.

“I don’t know if [players] on defence were listening to the fans, saying how great we’ve been playing, but that first half, first quarter we just came out slow,” linebacker Samuel Eguavoen said.

“[We were] not physical at all [and] we weren’t triggering. I don’t know why, but [it] definitely can’t happen this game.”

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Facing the top running back in the league is not an easy assignment for any defence and Rider’s linebacker Sam Hurl said that’s just the reality of facing Harris and the Bombers offence.

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“On defence, I felt that there were some good plays. The problem is – when you’re playing [against] Winnipeg’s offence – they have a lot of really good players,” Hurl said.

“If you’re not in the right place at the right time, they’re going to expose you.”

Although it may not have seemed like their best showing on defence Sunday afternoon, Eguavoen said he doesn’t want to take anything away from the win, the confidence he has in the entire group and their past success.

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“It lets us know what type of monster we have in that locker room. When we are on, we’re on and it’s hard to stop us. It’s great we always have that in our back pocket, but we need to take it to another level,” Eguavoen said.

When it comes to how much Hurl believes in this defensive unit, he was quick to rank them amongst the best in the Canadian Football League.

“I love the way the play calls are given, I like what we are doing out there [and] we have beast players,” Hurl said.

“I feel privileged to be surrounded by these guys.”

READ MORE: Collaros leads Roughriders to comeback win over Bombers in Labour Day Classic

Currently sitting second place in the CFL’s West Division, the Riders will look to move to 7-4 on the season on Saturday and 7-8 all-time in the history of the Banjo Bowl.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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