Riders’ defensive depth takes a hit ahead of Labour Day Classic vs. Bombers

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be without a trio of key defensive role players for Sunday’s rivalry matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Defensive backs C.J. Reavis (hamstring) and Nelson Lokombo (knee), as well as linebacker Justin Herdman-Reed (quadriceps), have all been placed on the one-game injured list.

Reavis has been the busiest member of the group, seeing significant time at strongside linebacker. In 10 games, the Marshall product has made 38 defensive tackles, five special teams tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Lokombo, the team’s second-overall pick in the 2021 CFL Draft, has been an important depth piece in the secondary, chipping in with eight defensive tackles and three special teams tackles. Herdman-Reed continues to be a critical special teamer, notching 13 defensive tackles and 10 more in kick coverage.

Former NFL linebacker T.J. Brunson is expected to take on a bigger role in the linebacking corps to compensate for the absences, while Canadian Brian Harelimana draws into the lineup as depth.

The remainder of Saskatchewan’s roster changes come on offence, where backup running back Frankie Hickson will dress for the seventh time this season. After rushing for 533 yards in 13 appearances a year ago, the 26-year-old has just 13 carries for 48 yards this year. Canadian Juwan Brescacin will also dress as a depth receiver.

The Riders (5-5) will host the Bombers (9-2) at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 3 in front of a sold-out crowd at Mosaic Stadium. Winnipeg has won the last two Labour Day Classics and can officially clinch a playoff berth with a third straight victory.

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders