Rider pride sea to sea

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Those green-clad fans mixed among the crowds throughout the country have once again made their team the most popular one in the CFL.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the runaway leaders for road attendance this season, getting an average of 34,834 spectators when they play outside Regina.

Of course, this total was boosted by a record crowd of 62,517 in Edmonton Sept. 26. But if the Riders and their fans didn't show up, the number would have been much less for that game.

The next best draw on the road this season are the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders, who had an average of 28,854 witness their away outings.

The worst team is the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who had 26,683 spectators for their visits around the CFL, but they had two lacklustre outings in Hamilton, which is seventh for home attendance, to bring down their numbers.

The Eskimos have the highest home attendance with 38,058 with the Grey Cup-host Stampeders second with 36,608, a number above McMahon Stadium capacity due to temporary seating.

OPENING DRIVE

Stamps SB Nik Lewis needs just 144 yards to be the first player in CFL history with 1,000 yards but no TDs. If Lewis ends the season without a major, he would already have the record for most yards without hitting paydirt. The current record holder is Saskatchewan's Chris DeFrance, who had 696 yards in 1985 without scoring. DeFrance also has the fewest majors during a 1,000-yard campaign, with just two in 1982, a record he shares with Montreal's James Hood, who had 95 catches for 1,411 yards in 1986 but hit the endzone just twice. Thanks to CFL statistician Steve Daniel for looking this up ... Speaking of major futility, the Argos went 234 pass attempts without a passing TD before Kerry Joseph hit Jeff Johnson with one Friday against the Eskimos. The loss officially eliminated Toronto from the playoffs for the second straight year.

ENDZONE TOSS

Kevin Glenn's 506-yard performance against the Alouettes ranks as the 27th-best passing day in league history. It was the first 500-yard game since 2004 when Jason Maas of the Eskimos did it against Winnipeg. Glenn's great afternoon was also the first time it happened during a loss since Hamilton's Danny McManus in 2002 against Ottawa. The 500-yard game was one of four in the 2000s, with B.C.'s Dave Dickenson having the other ... When the Riders lost Gerran Walker to injury Saturday against the Stamps, they had just one import receiver on the active roster (Johnny Quinn). With an occasional all-Canadian receiving corps and backfield, the Riders could have fielded just two imports on offence (right tackle Joel Bell and quarterback Darian Durant) ... Two QB injuries to keep an eye on: Anthony Calvillo (calf) seems like he will be OK but will likely rest down the stretch and Buck Pierce (shoulder) could be gone long-term. The Lions will have to hope Jarious Jackson recovers from a rotator cuff injury or go with Travis Lulay and Casey Printers.

EXTRA POINTS

The last time a team went undefeated at home, it also won the Grey Cup. The 1997 Toronto Argonauts did it en route to the first of two straight titles. Only the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stand in the Montreal Alouettes' way of doing it this season after the defending East Division champs ran up a 8-0 home record so far ... The only team in history to go 16-2 was the 1989 Eskimos, while six times a team has gone 15-3. The last time it happened was 1998 by Toronto, the third straight Don Matthews-coached team to do it. Wally Buono's Stamps had three straight 15-3 seasons in the early 1990s as well.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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