Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last second miss preserves Rider win over Ti-Cats









A last-minute field goal by Saskatchewan's Luca Congi, plus Weston Dressler's return of a missed field goal on the game's last play, helped the Roughriders defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 30-29 today in CFL football at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Hamilton got on the board first, as the Riders conceded a single point on an 83 yard punt by Nicholas Setta in the opening minute of the game. Saskatchewan tied the game with 11:11 remaining in the first quarter, as a Congi miss of a 34 yard field goal was not run out of the end zone. Quinton Porter put the Ti-Cats in the lead with a 52 yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis. Setta's convert, with 9:05 remaining, put Hamilton on top 8-1 after one.

Saskatchewan tied the game early in the second, as Darian Durant hit Chris Getzlaff from 22 yards out. Congi's convert knotted the game 8-8 with 1:54 gone in the 2nd quarter. Setta kicked a 38 yard field goal for the Ti-Cats with 4:51 gone, then Congi answered for the Riders with a 55 yard field goal with 2:16 left. A Setta 58 yard punt with 32 seconds left in the half resulted in a single, giving Hamilton a 12-11 halftime lead.

Saskatchewan took charge with 9 points late in the third quarter. They stopped Setta for a 16 yard loss and a safety touch with 5:22 left, Steven Jyles, on in relief of Durant threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to Neal Hughes and Congi converted with 2:57 left, putting the green-and-white on top after three, 20-12.

The Tiger-Cats, just 3-12 entering the game, roared back with a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns. Scott Mitchell caught a 40 yard touchdown pass from Porter 15 seconds into the final frame, then Jykine Bradley returned an interception 22 yards for a score, with 1:24 gone. Setta converted both times, giving Hamilton a 26-20 lead. Setta pushed the lead to 29-20 with 9:29 remaining with a 30 yard field goal. The Riders weren't about to send the 30,945 fans home without a reason to celebrate however. Wes Cates, seeing his first action after missing several games with injury, scored on a 15 yard touchdown run. Congi converted with 6:37 left, cutting the Ti-Cats lead to 29-27. Saskatchewan completed the come back on their final possession, as Congi kicked a 36 yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining. Hamilton had one last chance, however. Porter completed six straight passes, to set up a Setta 54 yard field goal attempt on the games final play. The kick missed and Dressler preserved the win by returning the ball 18 yards, sealing the Riders 10th win of the season, 30-29.

Steven Jyles led Saskatchewan, completing 12 of 14 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Durant started, completing 7 of 16 passes for 92 yards and a score, but was lifted after throwing three interceptions. Wes Cates, coming off injury, rushed 17 times for 97 yards and a touchdown, while local product Chris Getzlaff led the receiving corps with 5 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. For the Tiger-Cats, Quinton Porter completed 26 of 40 passes for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, Chris Davis and Scott Mitchell each caught touchdown passes and Tre Smith caught 7 passes for 62 yards and rushed 9 times for 63 yards. The Riders had a pretty balanced offense, with 254 yards rushing and 241 yards passing, for 491 yards total offense. Hamilton had 367 yards total offense, on 83 yards rushing and 300 yards passing. Saskatchewan allowed 2 quarterback sacks and turned the ball over 4 times.

The Roughriders advance to 10-6 on the season for 20 points, good for a second place West Division tie with the B.C. Lions. The Ti-Cats slip to 3-13, last in the East Division, 16 points behind first place Montreal. They host West leading Calgary this coming Friday night. On Saturday, Saskatchewan hosts the Edmonton Eskimos, who trail the Riders by just 2 points in the West standings. Kickoff is set for 6:00p.m. Central time. As always, the game can be heard online, with Rod Pedersen (http://rodpedersen.blogspot.com) and Carm Carteri calling the plays on http://www.620ckrm.com. The Riders, defending Grey Cup champions, then wrap up their regular season schedule with a visit to Toronto, for a 6:30p.m. Central time contest against the Argonauts. The CFL playoffs open with the playoff semi-finals on Saturday, November 8th and the playoff finals on Saturday, November 15th. The Grey Cup championship game will be played at Montreal's Olympic Stadium on Sunday, November 23rd, beginning at 5:00p.m. Central time.

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