Canada

Riders take first loss of the season to Bombers in Labour Day Classic

REGINA —
Winnipeg spoiled the Riders’ Labour Day Classic and handed Saskatchewan their first loss of the season.

The Bombers won 23-8, not allowing the Riders to score a single touchdown.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo completed 59 percent of his passes and threw a career-high three interceptions.

“For me personally it was tough, probably the worst game I’ve played, definitely as a professional,” Fajardo said. “At the end of the day, we were hoping something would pop. It just seemed like every time we were going, something went wrong.”

In the fourth quarter, Fajardo targeted receiver Kyran Moore in the south end zone of Mosaic Stadium but hit the uprights. For the quarterback, it brought back memories of the 2019 western final against Winnipeg, which Saskatchewan lost 20-13. On the final play of the game, the Riders had a chance to tie the score. Fajardo threw a pass to Moore in the end zone but the football hit the uprights in the northside end zone.

“I think that was the cherry on top of what kind of a day it was,” Fajardo said. “Maybe that goalpost is a little jealous because I went to the other one at the beginning of the year and squashed our beef.”

Fajardo was sacked three times on Sunday. He was coming off one of his best personal performances against Ottawa in week three but wasn’t able to find tempo with his receivers.

“I felt a little out of rhythm, out of sync. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if it’s the bye week or what,” Fajardo said referencing their week off. “I don’t know what it was but I didn’t feel like I was in rhythm with the guys and the receivers and throwing the ball on time and my footwork was atrocious today.”

The Riders’ defense created opportunities. Defensive back Ed Gainey had a forced fumble and an interception, but neither of those translated into offensive opportunities.

“Such high expectations. I think everybody on the team knows we have such a great ball club. We know that the Labour Day games are more magnified than ever,” said linebacker Micah Teitz.

The Riders are now second in the west division with a 3-1 record, while the Bombers improve to 4-1. Next week, the team teams will re-match in Winnipeg for the Banjo Bowl.


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