Jones doesn’t see ‘anything positive’ from Riders home pre-season loss to Stamps

Bo Levi Mitchell is ready for the CFL’s regular season to kick off.

His Friday night counterparts, on the other hand, have some work to do before the season begins in a week’s time.

Mitchell connected with Kamar Jorden on a 40-yard touchdown strike and helped the Calgary Stampeders roll over the Saskatchewan Roughriders 39-12 Friday night in the final exhibition game for both teams.

“This is a good confidence builder for us, we put up points,” Mitchell said. “Honestly, everyone made plays tonight. It was impressive to see. Our O-line gave us time and allowed us to go over the top a little bit and our receivers made some big plays.”

Jorden squeezed behind the coverage for his major score. Rookie receiver Nick Truesdell hauled in a pair of touchdowns for the Stampeders, who were 1-1 in exhibition play. Tailback Terry Williams added an 86-yard touchdown on a punt return and Calgary led 23-3 at halftime.

“I’m just doing what I can to make this team,” Williams said after he totalled 145 return yards on special teams.

Williams played five games last season and recorded 187 yards and one touchdown and 312 yards on kickoff returns. He also had five catches for 88 yards.

In his only start of 2017, Williams was named the CFL’s player of the week in Week 15 after he rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns against the Montreal Alouettes.

“He’s so explosive,” Mitchell said of the second-year running back. “When he touches the ball he’s like a rocket. He just takes off with a quick burst. He’s a little different than the guys we’ve had in years past and I think he’s going to add something to this offence.”

The Riders were less optimistic after Friday’s showing, and understandably so. Saskatchewan’s quarterback duo of Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge struggled to get on track. Collaros started the game and finished 6-for-16 for 41 yards before he left with an apparent injury.

The former Tiger-Cats star left the game in the third quarter after he was nailed on a pass attempt by a pair of Stampeders rushers.

Bridge also was ineffective. He completed 2-of-5 pass attempts for 21 yards.

The Riders scored just one touchdown – a 33-yard pass from third-string quarterback David Watford to Caleb Holley – in two exhibition games. The Riders lost both those games.

“I don’t see anything positive come out of tonight,” said Riders head coach Chris Jones, whose team was penalized 10 times for 139 yards.

Jones said he knows who his starting quarterback will be on Friday when the Riders open the regular season at home against the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts. Though Jones won’t reveal who will be under centre until Monday.

“Collaros looks a little bit rusty,” Jones said. “The ball didn’t come out of his hands the way I would liked, and he missed two deep throws.”

“I have the luxury of having a guy who helped us win 10 football games last year (Bridge), so if a guy is struggling then Brandon Bridge will play, or it’ll be the opposite.

“Collaros has started a lot of games and has been a good football player for a long time. He has won too many football games to be rusty forever.”

Watford passed for 172 yards and completed 9-of-17 pass attempts. Jordan Williams-Lambert was his favourite target, catching three passes for 57 yards.

Nick Arbuckle, who relieved Mitchell in the second quarter, threw for 89 yards to lead all Calgary quarterback. He, Ricky Stanzi and Larry Brihm all threw touchdown passes. Boston Rowe had Calgary’s fourth touchdown, a 28-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Calgary will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday to open the regular season.

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