Saskatchewan Roughriders name QB Jake Dolegala starter for Labour Day Classic

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have named quarterback Jake Dolegala as their starter for the annual Labour Day Classic in an interview with 620 CKRM.

The 26-year-old passer threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns in his first career win as a starter in a surprise 34-29 victory over the B.C. Lions on Aug. 20. The club was on a bye this past week.

Mason Fine, who originally replaced Trevor Harris as the team’s starting quarterback, suffered a hamstring injury against the Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 11 and hasn’t played since. Head coach Craig Dickenson originally estimated that the injury would keep Fine out of the lineup for two to three weeks. On Monday, he indicated that Fine is still unable to practice due to the injury.

Dolegala signed with the Cincinnati Bengals after going unselected in the 2019 NFL Draft and spent the entire season on their active roster. He later had stints with the New England Patriots (2020-21), Green Bay Packers (2021), and Miami Dolphins (2021) before signing with the Riders in 2022.

The six-foot-seven, 242-pound passer saw action in two games over the course of his rookie CFL season last year. He completed 16-of-35 pass attempts for 154 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, starting a Week 7 loss to the Toronto Argonauts after a number of players had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Blue Bombers currently sit atop the West Division standings with a 9-2 record and have won five straight games. The club visited Saskatchewan on June 16 and earned a 45-27 victory at Mosaic Stadium in the first of three regular season meetings between the prairie rivals this year.

“We’ve got a juggernaut coming into our place this next week, Winnipeg looks awfully good. From watching film these last few days on them, it’ll be a tough game,” Dickenson told 620 CKRM. “But we do feel like we’re playing better and getting healthier and I think our confidence is a little bit higher than it was a few weeks ago and hopefully that bodes well for these big games.”

Saskatchewan is 37-20 all-time in the Labour Day Classic dating back to 1949, though Winnipeg has won the last two meetings. The Blue Bombers have not won the annual rivalry game three consecutive times since 1982.

The Riders (5-5) will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-2) on Sunday, Sept. 3 with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT.