Has a 5-0 Canadian Football League team ever been so banged up as the injury-riddled B.C. Lions?
The Lions' depth will be tested tonight as third-string quarterback Jarious Jackson is set to lead B.C. against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at B.C. Place Stadium (7:30 p.m.) Buck "Bruised" Pierce (ribs, hand, foot) will be available, but emergency acquisition Gino Guidugli could see some snaps.
With Dave Dickenson gone indefinitely after suffering a concussion early in B.C.'s July 13 win at Regina, Pierce was supposed to carry the team. His bruised ribs during a dull 11-11 first half in Calgary allowed Jackson to step in and lead B.C. to the 32-27 win by dealing Geroy Simon and Corey Rodgers their first touchdowns of 2007.
Defensive backs Mark Washington and Korey Banks claim they'll be ready, despite ankle injuries suffered last week. The secondary will be without Dante Marsh, sidelined nine weeks with a knee ligament tear. Linebacker Otis Floyd (hamstring) and wide receiver Tony Simmons (foot) are gone another week.
The inconsistent 3-2 Roughriders come to the coast after beating the Edmonton Eskimos 54-14 in Regina last weekend. The week earlier they let a 20-1 halftime lead turn into a 21-20 loss in Edmonton.
The difference? Saskatchewan exploited Edmonton miscues, parlaying turnovers into 29 points. Quarterback Kerry Joseph also managed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for majors twice himself.
The task is simple for B.C. Hold onto the ball or be haunted by the Roughriders' jinx. In the last two seasons, Saskatchewan has beaten B.C. in five of seven regular season games.