Riders secure home playoff game with win over Lions

REGINA — Mike McCullough shouldn’t have to visit the unemployment office any time soon. The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ middle linebacker forced two fumbles before halftime and knocked down a key second-down pass early in the first quarter as the Riders clinched a home playoff game for the first time since 2010 with a 35-14 win Saturday over the B.C. Lions.

REGINA — Mike McCullough shouldn’t have to visit the unemployment office any time soon.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ middle linebacker forced two fumbles before halftime and knocked down a key second-down pass early in the first quarter as the Riders clinched a home playoff game for the first time since 2010 with a 35-14 win Saturday over the B.C. Lions.

Saskatchewan (11-5) won its third straight game and the season series with B.C. (9-7), meaning it can finish no lower than second in the CFL’s West Division. The Lions (9-7) will finish third and travel to Regina or Calgary for the West semifinal.

The Riders and Stampeders will play next Saturday in a must-win for Saskatchewan if it wants to maintain a chance at first place.

“Mike lives one more week. He’ll keep the job for one more week,” quipped Riders head coach Corey Chamblin. “That’s what I’ll say about Mike McCullough.

“His biggest test will be against (Stampeders running back) Jon Cornish. If he can prove that he can stay there, then he can play for the rest of the year at that spot.”

McCullough forced turnovers two and four during a stretch in which B.C. coughed up the ball four times in five offensive plays.

His first came when he stripped Lions running back Stefan Logan at the end of an 11-yard run to set up a 14-yard field goal by Chris Milo.

His second victim was B.C. receiver Courtney Taylor, who coughed up the ball near midfield.

Riders quarterback Darian Durant then threw 42 yards to Weston Dressler to set up a one-yard TD plunge from Kory Sheets and extend the team’s lead to 27-7

The game was McCullough’s sixth straight start in place of the injured Rey Williams.

“I’m not going to replace him, he’s one of the best in the game,” McCullough said of Williams, out for the season with a knee injury suffered Sept. 8.

“I just come in and do my own game. If I’m going to try and beat him I’m not going to be successful. So I’ve just got to do what I can do and we’re doing good on defence so we’re happy.”

They were good enough Saturday to force eight turnovers in all, six of which resulted in 28 points.

Late in the first quarter B.C. quarterback Thomas DeMarco fumbled under pressure from John Chick and the returning Weldon Brown returned the loose ball 46 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Saskatchewan lead.

Three offensive plays later, DeMarco threw over the middle right into the arms of Riders halfback Carlos Thomas, leading to a 20-yard touchdown pass from Durant to Dressler.

McCullough forced his second fumble of the game on the very next play, and on the play after that Taylor bobbled a catch that ended up in Craig Butler’s hands after a diving interception near midfield.

Milo missed the ensuing field-goal attempt but the ball went deep enough for a single, and he nailed a 15-yard kick before halftime to extend the lead to 31-7.

Milo had kicked his longest score, from 30 yards out, on Saskatchewan’s third possession of the game to get the Riders on the board.

The Lions let Saskatchewan know they were still alive when Lin-J Shell intercepted Durant in the third and turned that into a seven-yard TD catch by Shawn Gore. But Tristan Jackson and Dwight Anderson added interceptions for Saskatchewan in the fourth quarter, and B.C. turned the ball over on downs late in the quarter allowing Milo to kick a 38-yard field goal to put the game away.

Just Posted

Victim in 2015 murder stabbed a dozen times

Daniel Boyd Sawyer on trial for second-degree murder

North Pole Stroll returns with Red Deer Lights the Night, Late Night Shopping

Red Deer’s Lights the Night and late night shopping events are back… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort is ready for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

The upgrades prepare the resort to host free-style skiing and snowboarding events

Red Deer man patrols streets at night after his truck was stolen twice in 3 months

‘I stay up every single night, they drive around, they test every car door…’

Lowry has strong words for Raptors’ lack of communication after loss

TORONTO — Raptors coach Nick Nurse might not have had a good… Continue reading

S. Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ accuse coaches of derailing team

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The Garlic Girls, South Korea’s hugely popular… Continue reading

Trump administration defends its case against CNN’s Acosta

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to fend off a… Continue reading

Long hidden, Marie Antoinette’s jewels go up for auction

GENEVA — Diamond and pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, a giant pearl pendant… Continue reading

A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

TORONTO — Rotating Olympic hosts? A single go-to destination every four years?… Continue reading

Predators may have NHL’s best goalie combo on, off ice

NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than… Continue reading

Canadian Premier League buys Ontario’s League 1, looks to develop talent there

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League has bought Ontario’s League 1 and… Continue reading

Most Read