CFL Pass

Uncanny foresight sends Fajardo, Riders diving to victory

“In practice, I had a similar play where I told them (coaches) I’d dive for the pylon and they said ‘don’t do it, don’t do it’. I told them I’d do it anyways and obviously, it worked out for the best,” said Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Cody Fajardo, perhaps showing some foresight of what ‘would be’ on Thursday night.

Whether the extent of his prediction came this far, it came right down to the wire between the Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

For Cody Fajardo and the Roughriders, they were on the winning end of things in front of a home crowd at Mosaic Stadium, defeating the Cats 24-19.

“Anytime you get a win, those bumps and bruises feel a little bit better,” Fajardo said following his team’s win.


» Recap: Fajardo guides Riders back in victory over Ticats
» Watch: Chez Sez: Riders secondary stacked with skilled athletes

» By the Numbers: View Boxscore» Images: Tiger-Cats at Roughriders

In a week that saw both teams have shake-ups at the quarterback position — Saskatchewan traded Zach Collaros to the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli had been ruled out for the season with a knee injury — the battle between two quarterbacks handed the reigns of their offensive for the foreseeable future ended in favour of Fajardo.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played in a game like that where it comes right down to the last play,” said Fajardo. “Our defence kept us in that, our special teams as well.”

Having completed an impressive 80 per cent of his passes (25 of 31 attempts), the fourth-year man went for 313 yards through the air while also leading his team in rushing yards with 56 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

With less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Saskatchewan’s offence pieced together a drive to penetrate deep into Hamilton’s end fo the field. With 24 seconds remaining, Fajardo caught the edge of the Ticats’ rush, scampering his way to the far pylon before diving towards the front corner of the endzone, something which the Riders quarterback joked was against coaches orders in practice all this week.

Despite doubling up on the Tabbies come half time, Dane Evans and the Ticats responded and made in a one-possession game towards the end of the fourth quarter.

With the defence holding their end of the bargain for much of the game, Fajardo and the offence knew it was time to turn on the momentum after letting their lead slip.

“I told them it was a one-possession game,” the quarterback said of his message to the huddle ahead of their game-winning drive. “I told them we go down, score a touchdown and kick the extra point then we’re winning this game. They were excited, the offensive line was really fired up.. anytime you see those guys excited and jumping up then you know you’re going to get a pretty clean pocket.”

There were doubters when it came to the quality of football team that the Roughriders were fielding with critics down-playing the team’s wins over the Argonauts and Lions, however, Fajardo was quick to shoot such criticism down.

“I think in professional football, anytime you get a win it’s a quality win. I’ve stated this before, there’s a salary cap for a reason. Everybody has good talented players, some teams might just not figure it out earlier than others. Anytime you can get a win, doesn’t matter if the team’s at the top of the standings or the bottom of the standings, when you win a professional football game — that’s a good win.”

Fajardo and the Roughriders will spend a few days healing any bumps and bruises before hitting the road for Montreal. They’ll be facing the Alouettes next week on Friday, who currently sit second (3-2) in the East Division behind the Ticats.

With some uncanny foresight leading up to Thursday’s tilt against the Ticats, what else might Fajardo be envisioning for the Riders’ future?


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