Despite being on a team that has lost nine of their last 11 games, slid down to fourth in the West Division and needs help to make the playoffs, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receiver Kyran Moore does not lack for confidence.
“100 percent confident,” Moore told the Saskatchewan media about his belief that the Riders will win Saturday’s pivotal matchup with the Calgary Stampeders.
“We know how important the game is. We know Calgary still has a sour taste in their mouth from last year from the playoffs so we know they are going to give us their best shot.”
That sour taste stems from the Riders’ 33-30 overtime victory over the Stamps in last year’s West Semi-Final. Thanks to the CFL’s bizarre scheduling quirks this season, Saturday’s matchup will be the first meeting between these two teams since that fateful day last November.
Neither team is the same as the ones that met almost 11 months ago. The Stamps made a quarterback change earlier this season, benching future Canadian Football Hall of Famer Bo Levi Mitchell in favour of Jake Maier, while the Riders just made their own by sitting Cody Fajardo and replacing him with second-year man Mason Fine.
For Moore, a new quarterback means new responsibilities.
“Just making sure Mason is good. I just want to make sure he’s comfortable, give him words of encouragement. Anything that helps,” the receiver said.
“We don’t want him to get too low, even if the game is not going his way or our way. We just got to make sure that he knows we got him.”
Moore also knows the differences between the two quarterbacks will take some adjusting to for himself as well as the entire receiving group.
“I’m shorter and Mason’s short so I got to see him see me. Cody is on the taller end so I see him on my break,” the five-foot-10 Moore said about the six-foot-two Fajardo and five-foot-11 Fine.
“They both have their different throwing styles. Mason got some zip on it, Cody got faster reads.”
The 26-year-old missed the start of the season recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last October. Moore made his return to the lineup in late August and has since played in six games, catching 34 passes for 291 yards.
With their season on the line, the Austin Peay State University product knows that playing in front of the ravenous horde that descends upon Mosaic Stadium will play a role in Saturday’s game.
“It’s always 100 percent confidence playing in front of this crowd no matter who comes in,” Moore said. “Just having the crowd behind us, it’s always a blessing because Rider Nation gets loud and they are a big part of who we are.”
By virtue of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ victory on Friday night, another Riders’ loss would eliminate the team from post-season contention for the first time since 2016.
“We just got to get it done,” Moore said. “We still not out of the playoffs, we still got a chance to make it, we know this is a game we got to get.”
If the Riders can get it done against the Stampeders this week and next, and the Ticats slip up next week against the Ottawa Redblacks, then Saskatchewan will still have a chance to make a run at the franchise’s fifth Grey Cup title.