Cody Fajardo effective as Saskatchewan Roughriders starting quarterback

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback CodyFajardo (7) releases the ball during CFL second half football action against Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa Thursday, June 20, 2019. Fred Chartrand / The Canadian Press

Cody Fajardo is giving rookie head coach Craig Dickenson a very pleasant problem.

With incumbent Zach Collaros on the six-game injured list, Fajardo has thrown for 790 yards with four TDs in two starts with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Fajardo had a career-best 430 passing yards in leading the Riders past Toronto 32-7 for a rain-delayed first win of the season Monday night.

Fajardo was a one-man show in the first half. He threw for 293 yards and two TDs while rushing for another in staking Saskatchewan to an emphatic 25-0 second-quarter advantage before rain and lightning forced action to be delayed over two hours.

He has amassed the most passing yards by a Riders quarterback in his first two CFL starts in club history, surpassing longtime starter Darian Durant (688 yards).

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That could present Dickenson with quite a decision when Collaros returns.

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Fajardo was 27-of-34 passing for 360 yards and two touchdowns in his first start of the season, a 44-41 road loss in Ottawa on June 20.

The six-foot-two, 215-pound Fajardo began his CFL career with Toronto in 2016 and earned a Grey Cup ring with the franchise the following year. He spent last season as a backup with the B.C. Lions before joining the Riders.

Fajardo has completed 60-of-82 passes (73.2 per cent) for 856 yards with four TDs and no interceptions this season. He’s also scored three rushing touchdowns.

Collaros, 30, opened the season as Saskatchewan’s starter but went on the six-game injured list after being hit in the head by Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence in the Riders’ season-opening 23-17 loss.

Collaros missed four regular-season games and the West Division semifinal last year with a concussion.

He guided Hamilton to a Grey Cup appearance in 2014 — his first season with the Ticats — and led the team to an 8-3 start in 2015 before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

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Collaros was leading the CFL in passing (3,376 yards), TDs (25) and passer rating (113.7) at the time.

He appeared in just 10 games the following season then lost his starting job to Jeremiah Masoli after Hamilton’s 0-8 start in 2017. Collaros was dealt to Saskatchewan in January 2018 and re-signed with the Riders last year.

Saskatchewan hosts the Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders (1-1) on Saturday night.

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