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  • October 24, 2017 8:58 PM PDT

    Darian Durant found another level in helping lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory last season. Michael Brockers Jersey . For an encore, hell have to find an even higher level still. Durant was sensational last year, posting career numbers (325-531 for 4,154 passing yards, and a career best 31 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions), and featuring regularly in the MOP Watch. By the increasingly criticized metric that is Quarterback Rating, Durant had the best year of his career last year at 95.7, a full seven points higher than his career mark. But Durant had an awful lot of help on the teams third-ranked offence. First and foremost was league all-star and team nominee for Most Outstanding Player Kory Sheets. In his sophomore CFL campaign Sheets was second in league rushing with 1,598 yards and a gaudy 5.6 yards per carry average and 12 touchdowns.  His Grey Cup performance will also be remembered in Saskatchewan – and Hamilton, albeit much less fondly – for years to come. The 29-year-old will be preparing for NFL training camp in Oakland when the Roughriders begin their title defence, and while hes in tough to make the Raiders roster, the best case scenario for Saskatchewan is a return sometime around Labour Day. Another Roughriders mainstay and fan favourite Durant will no longer have at his disposal is slight receiver Weston Dressler. The 57 slotback was a 1,000-yard receiver in five of his six CFL seasons, falling just 59 yards short in his sophomore campaign, and scored a combined 45 touchdowns. Durant and Dresslers time in Saskatchewan had coincided, the two emerging together in 2008. But now the favourite target is in Kansas City with no guarantee of returning. So this year Durant enters the unquestioned leader on offence, and with more unknowns on the roster than previous seasons, hell have to shoulder a greater load. The good news of course is that the cupboard isnt completely bare. While Dresslers sure hands and elusiveness will be missed in the receiving corps, two other pass catchers, ones still on the roster, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as well last season in Chris Getzlaf, who led the team with 1,045, and Taj Smith, who hit the mark in just his second season. And if Rob Bagg can stay healthy all year, that will be another receiver for Durant to lean on. The running back position is much more of a toss-up heading into the season. The team has five RBs with a combined two carries CFL experience (Clifton Smith, which he gained with the Calgary Stampeders last season). But the last time they tried to replace a solid veteran running back, Wes Cates in 2012, they found a guy who would one day lead them to a Grey Cup victory at home. So, theres hope. Things could work out around Durant; he may have a support staff as talented as the one hoisting the Grey Cup alongside him last year. But the inexperience and uncertainty heading into the season alone means hell have to do even more as both a leader and performer to keep the Roughriders in Grey Cup contention. The football crazy fans in Saskatchewan already love their veteran quarterback; if he can elevate his game and bring more success to the province, theyll cherish him even more. Notes Expansion Draft Roughriders fans were surprised to see DT Keith Shologan get picked by the Ottawa Redblacks in the national portion of the expansion draft after the veteran spent the past six seasons in Saskatchewan. Ottawa also grabbed Shologans backup in Zack Evans one round later, it being evident the Roughriders were making a ratio change. OT James Lee was Saskatchewans international loss in the draft. Coach of the YearIn his second season as head coach of the Roughriders, Corey Chamblin had a dream year. He led Saskatchewan to a scorching start to the season before guiding them to a Grey Cup win in front of a boisterous hometown crowd. Chamblin was awarded in the off-season with the leagues Coach of the Year award, beating out former Roughriders coach Kent Austin. Free Agency The Roughriders lost a lot more talent in free agency than they signed back. Notable losses included S Craig Butler, LBs Abraham Kromah and Graig Newman, WR Kierre Johnson, RB Jock Sanders, and QB Drew Willy, not to mention Kory Sheets and Weston Dressler who are now in the NFL. The team did lock up some of their pending free agents however, including DBs Paul Woldu and Terrell Maze, and WR Taj Smith. CFL DraftThe Roughriders traded out of the first round, stock piling picks later in the draft. With their first pick in the second round the team landed CFL Combine star Dylan Ainsworth, a DL from Western, before also grabbing WR Alex Pierzchalski from Toronto. Saskatchewan also had two picks in the third round, nabbing John Mark from Calgary and WR Kristopher Bastien from Concordia. Their remaining picks included DB Matt Webster from Queens and OL Kyle Paterson from Regina in the fifth round, LB Travis Bent from Concordia in the sixth round, and OL Terry Hart from St. Francis Xavier in the seventh round. New Mosaic StadiumRoughriders fans got a glimpse at the teams new stadium late in the off-season and not much longer ground was broken. The $278 million project should be completed by August 2016 and will give the 33,000 fans surely to pack the place on a regular basis a more comfortable viewing experience than the one they are getting now. Pharoh Cooper Jersey . The group of Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Fedorov, & Slava Kozlov were a dominant force for The Wings at one point in the 90s. Johnny Hekker Jersey . -- Kansas City Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar will have Tommy John surgery that will sideline the pitcher for the season.PHILADELPHIA -- Strong defence makes St. Johns a tough opponent, even if the Red Storm dont get a win to show for it. Darrun Hilliard scored 18 points, Ryan Arcidiacono had 12 and No. 9 Villanova beat St. Johns 57-54 on Saturday. It was the second straight win for Villanova (24-3, 12-2 Big East) since its second loss of the season to No. 11 Creighton. "That was old-school, Big East basketball," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "Ugly. Great defence. Physical. You had to be physically and mentally tough to play that game. It was the Big East. Im glad to see our conference at that level. It was just the kind of game in the 80s when I was an assistant here." DAngelo Harrison had 15 points for St. Johns (18-10, 8-7), Rysheed Jordan scored 13 and JaKarr Sampson had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Red Storms six-game winning streak ended. "It was a Big East battle right to the end," Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said. "We punched and counter-punched right until the end in a hostile environment." Though moral victories dont show up in the standings, games like this increase St. Johns NCAA tournament chances. "If you know basketball, our team is coming together," Lavin said. "Now its up to us how we play the last two weeks." Wright thinks the Red Storm should get an invitation to the field of 68. "I think we can get five teams in on a year when our conference is down," Wright said. "Rivalries are getting interesting. Im getting excited about this league." Arcidiacono banked a three-pointer from the top of the circle to give Villanova a 53-50 lead with 3:43 left. After the Red Storm missed a shot, JayVaughn Pinkston grabbed two key offensive rebounds for the Wildcats and Hilliard made a free throw. St. Johns went 3:36 without a point before Sampsons free throw with 1:14 remainingg. Cory Littleton Jersey. Arcidiacono then threw away the inbound pass following a timeout, and Harrison made a driving layup to cut it to 54-53. Daniel Ochefu made one of two free throws to give Villanova a two-point lead with 34 seconds left. With a chance to tie or give the Red Storm a lead, Phil Greene IV was called for travelling with 14 seconds to go. Arcidiaconos free throw made it 56-53. But the Red Storm couldnt get a three-point shot off and Harrison was fouled going for a layup with 1.5 seconds left. He made the first free throw and purposely missed the second, but a lane violation gave the ball to Villanova. "We were trying to get a three, but just couldnt do it," Harrison said. Josh Hart made one free throw and the Red Storm missed a desperation three-point shot at the buzzer. "Its frustrating," Sampson said. "We knew it was a big game. We just have to look forward to the next one." St. Johns came in allowing the second-fewest points in the nation (68.0). They also had the top field goal percentage defence and three-point percentage defence. It showed as the Red Storm forced 15 turnovers and held the Wildcats 23 points below their average (80.7). The Wildcats tied for the fewest points they have scored in a win this season. James Bell hit a three-pointer to give Villanova its biggest lead, 44-38, in the second half. But the Red Storm answered with a 9-3 run capped by SirDominic Pointers driving layup that tied it at 47. After both teams traded misses and turnovers for two minutes, Bell drained another three for a 50-47 with 5:52 left. Villanova, which beat St. Johns 74-67 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11, jumped to an 8-0 lead behind two threes by Hilliard. The Red Storm scored the next nine points and the teams played a tight, defensive first half that ended with Villanova leading 28-27.Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '