Roughriders 33 Tiger-Cats 23
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders had been here before. This time they were happy to show what they had learned.
“We didn’t want to do that again,” Roughriders head coach Ken Miller said Sunday after his team’s 33-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium.
Miller was referring to the Riders’ previous home game, a 38-33 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in which they gave up a 22-0 lead.
Sunday’s game appeared to be going down a similar path. Saskatchewan’s defence held the Ticats to negative yardage and no first downs while the offence wasted few opportunities in staking out a 23-0 halftime lead.
Hamilton returned fire in the second half, tying the game on the strength of three Nick Setta field goals and touchdowns from Arland Bruce III and DeAndra’ Cobb.
But Weston Dressler put the Riders ahead for good with a 13-yard touchdown run and Luca Congi kicked his third field goal of the game with less than three minutes to play to cap the scoring.
“You’ve got to play 60 minutes to win in the CFL, you can’t play 30 minutes,” said Tiger-Cats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
A resurgent running game was the key to Saskatchewan’s success Sunday. Wes Cates became the first Roughrider to rush for over 100 yards this year, finishing with 117.
The Riders finished the game with 214 rushing yards.
“(It was) not as much for myself but more for the naysayers,” said Cates. “Yeah I needed a big game like that to stop the rumours and stop people from talking bad about me.”
Saskatchewan’s defensive line was equally dominant against the Hamilton run, limiting the Ticats to 31 rushing yards. The Roughriders had not allowed less than 114 in a game all season.
Kevin Glenn replaced Quinton Porter at quarterback for Hamilton after the first quarter and finished the game 12-for-27 with 183 yards. Porter was 1-for-5 for three yards before he was pulled.
Roughriders starter Durant completed 15 of 30 attempts for 193 yards while Steven Jyles, who replaces Durant in short yardage situations, was 2-for-2 for 21 yards.
Glenn started slowly but spearheaded the Ticats’ comeback with completions of 37 yards to Chris Davis and 49 to Bruce on the first two series of the third quarter.
Durant’s favourite target was Jason Clermont, who caught four passes for 66 yards.
An unlikely target, defensive lineman Keith Shologan opened the scoring when he picked up a one-yard toss from Jyles to cap a 10-play drive on the Riders’ second possession of the game.
Jyles also ran for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the Riders up 19-0.