REGINA — Kevin Glenn was supposed to be the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ backup quarterback this season.
Less than two quarters into the 2015 campaign, Glenn was thrust into the starter’s role, a position he’ll continue after starter Darian Durant suffered a season-ending injury on Saturday.
"I know he’s out," noted Roughriders coach Corey Chamblin, whose team dropped a 30-26 decision to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the regular-season opener for both teams.
Durant was seen leaving Mosaic Stadium on crutches midway through the fourth quarter with a protective boot on his left foot. The team later announced that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season.
Saskatchewan fans and Durant’s teammates watched the star quarterback get carted off the field with 37 seconds remaining in the second quarter trailing 15-14. Durant wasn’t touched on the play — an incomplete pass attempt to Jamel Richardson. It appeared as though Durant landed awkwardly on his left foot after he released the pass.
Chamblin said Durant couldn’t put any pressure on the injured foot.
"It’s really tough to see that happen. I talk to Darian all the time and he’s like an older brother to me," said Bombers quarterback Drew Willy, a former backup behind Durant. "Darian took me under his wing when I first came up here, so to see him go down is really hard for me."
Willy carved up the Roughriders defence, especially in the second half. He connected with slotback Nick Moore, who made a sliding catch on an 18-yard touchdown strike, one that put Winnipeg ahead with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Willy finished the day 22-for-25 passing for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He hooked up with Cameron Marshall on a 14-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, and after Marshall added the two-point convert, the game was tied at 23-23.
Chris Milo then booted a 19-yard field goal to put Saskatchewan ahead 26-23 before Willy engineered a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped with Moore’s touchdown.
"Drew was just being Drew. That’s nothing new to us," Moore said. "We see him do that stuff every day at practice. Everybody stepped up big, the O-line, our running game, Drew was lights out. That’s all you can ask for."
Jerome Messam took a handoff from Glenn and rumbled 53 yards for a go-ahead touchdown that gave the Riders a 20-15 lead to start the second half. Chris Getzlaf caught a two-point convert from Glenn.
"I’ve experienced it two years in a row in Calgary and last year in B.C.," Glenn said of being pushed into the starter’s role. "I’m always prepared as if I’m going to play. I was coached that way when I first came into the league. I’ve tried to implement that over the course of my career.
"It’s one of those things where you never want to wish anything bad on anybody, but you’re still a competitor. When it comes down to your time to play, you want to go out and help the team win."
Durant tore a tendon in his right throwing elbow in Week 11 last season — also against Winnipeg — and missed the remainder of the regular season and the West semifinal.
Durant looked sharp on Saturday before the injury. He completed 13-of-18 pass attempts for 165 yards and two touchdowns including one to Taj Smith that covered 36 yards and one to Ryan Smith for 53 yards.
Glenn finished the day 13-for-18 for 120 yards and one interception.
Paris Cotton rushed 13 times for 108 yards to lead the Bombers. He added four receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown.