Riders to start running back Shaq Cooper against Ticats

Screengrab courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be rolling with a new running back this week, as the newly signed Shaquille Cooper will draw his first start of the season in a pivotal contest with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Riders were forced to finish last week’s loss to Winnipeg without a healthy running back after Canadian Kienan LaFrance suffered a knee injury, lining up receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker and fullback James Tuck in the backfield. LaFrance has been placed on the one-game injured list, while the Riders’ regular American tandem of Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson both currently reside on the six-game injured list.

Cooper signed with Saskatchewan on September 30, his third stint with the team this season. The 29-year-old ball carrier spent training camp with the club but was released as part of final cuts, returning for a two-week stretch at the start of August in which he dressed for one game as a backup.

The Fort Hays State product began his CFL career in 2018 with the Edmonton Elks and spent two seasons with the organization, before splitting the 2021 season with the B.C. Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In 15 career games, he has carried the ball 123 times for 623 yards and three touchdowns while adding 32 receptions for 225 yards and a score through the air.

The Riders (6-9) are scheduled to travel to Hamilton on Friday, October 7 to take on the Ticats (4-10) at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The result of the game could have serious ramifications, with both teams in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the East Division.