The Canadian Press
REGINA–Ed Gainey won’t forget his most recent CFL performance.
And neither will Jonathon Jennings.
Gainey was all smiles after he and his Saskatchewan Roughriders blasted the B.C. Lions 41-8 last night at Mosaic Stadium.
He was the ring leader of a dominant defensive showing from the ‘Riders, who just six days earlier were manhandled 30-15 by the Lions at BC Place.
Gainey had four interceptions and a fumble recovery while the unit, as a whole, registered five picks and four sacks.
“I started off slow these first six games of the season and I expect a lot more out of myself,” Gainey said.
“These past two weeks I’ve been able to get my hands on some balls and wasn’t able to bring them in,” he noted.
“I had my son [10-month-old Grayson] coming in to town this week, and I just had a feeling that I was going to be able to make some plays out there today,” Gainey added.
“I didn’t think it was going to be four, but they came and I took advantage of them.”
Gainey’s four interceptions is a franchise record.
It was a performance head coach Chris Jones was waiting for and, perhaps, anticipating after a “very direct” conversation he had with his veteran defensive back earlier in the week.
“I told him, ‘You know, you’re a good player, but you’re not playing like a good player,'” Jones said of that talk.
The victory helped the Riders (3-4) keep pace in the competitive West Division, including the fourth-place Lions (5-3), who they trail by four points.
Jennings, understandably, didn’t match his opponent’s enthusiasm after throwing four picks.
“It was the toughest game of my career,” Jennings said after his return to the starting lineup.
“It was the toughest game of my life, actually,” he conceded. “I’ve never gone through something like that.
“It was tough,” Jennings added. “It seemed like I couldn’t do much of anything.
“It seemed like everything was a struggle.”
Gainey’s first two interceptions–both in the first quarter–led to points.
Jennings heaved a deep pass that Gainey snatched at the Saskatchewan 31-yard line.
Four plays later, Kevin Glenn hooked up with Bakari Grant on a 35-yard touchdown pass and catch that gave Saskatchewan an early 8-0 lead.
On the ensuing B.C. drive, Gainey again picked off Jennings and returned the ball 49 yards for another touchdown.
The Riders’ defence forced a Lions’ punt on their next possession and Glenn again marched the offence 90 yards for another touchdown.
Cameron Marshall (one-yard run and a 29-yard reception) scored back-to-back majors to give the home team a 29-0 lead at halftime.
“We all know that we put a bad product on the field last week, so we wanted to come out here and make a statement,” said Riders’ defensive end Tobi Antigha, who had two sacks in the game.
“This just gives us confidence that we can compete and actually play very well against the Western teams,” he reasoned.
“Going forward, this is the expectation,” Antigha stressed. “We don’t want this to be just a one-game thing.
“We want this to be the standard, especially on defence–domination up front, domination in the secondary, domination at the linebacker position.”
Jennings missed the previous three games with a right shoulder injury.
His best drive last night came on the opening possession in the second half, when he pushed the Lions to the Saskatchewan five-yard line.
However, his fourth inception snuffed that scoring chance.
“I had some mistakes, some big mistakes that made it tough,” Jennings admitted.
“It’s only one game,” he reasoned. “It doesn’t define us as a team. It doesn’t define us as players going forward.
“I’m not going to let this define me.”
Jennings finished the night 14-of-30 for 195 yards and one touchdown–a 56-yard bomb to Chris Williams in the fourth quarter.
Glenn, meanwhile, was 19-for-25 for 320 yards and three touchdowns.