Sunday, August 16, 2009

Riders survive ugly third quarter to beat TiCats

A strong 4th quarter negated a flat third, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat a determined Hamilton TigerCats team 33-23 in front of 30,360 soggy fans at rain-soaked Mosaic Stadiun in Regina on Sunday night.

The first half belonged to Saskatchewan. The Riders took the lead on a trick play with 6:03 left in the opening period. Short-yardage quarterback Steven Jyles rolled right and found defensive tackle Keith Shologan, who had reported in as an eligible receiver, with a 1-yard touchdown toss. Luca Congi converted for a 7-0 lead. After recovering a fumble, Saskatchewan scored again less than two minutes later, as Congi kicked a 38-yard field goal, giving the Riders a 10-0 lead after one.

In the second, Hamilton punter Nick Setta conceded a safety touch for 2 points, then Steven Jyles scored on a 2-yard run and Congi kicked the convert with 8:36 remaining in the half, with Jamie Boreham booting a 92-yard single on the ensuing kickoff, to put Saskatchewan up 20-0. Congi's 12-yard field goal on the final play of the half gave the Roughriders a 23-0 advantage through 30 minutes.

The TiCats caught Saskatchewan flat-footed in the third quarter. After not gaining a first down in the entire first half, Hamilton quickly got back in the game with 16 points. Setta kicked a 41-yard field goal with 13:20 left, Arland Bruce III made a spectacular grab on a 49-yard pass from Kevin Glenn for a major score, with Setta adding the convert with 11:22 to go. Setta tacked on a 43-yard field goal with 8:37 left, then a 32-yarder with 4:32 still on the clock, cutting the deficit to 23-16 after three quarters.

After a blocked punt set the visitors up deep in Riders territory, DeAndra' Cobb scored on an 8-yard run and Setta converted 2:07 into the fourth quarter for the TiCats, tying the game 23-23. That score seemed to bring Saskatchewan back to life. Weston Dressler scored on a 13-yard run around end and Congi converted with 5:57 remaining to put the Riders back on top for good at 30-23, then Congi thumped through a 15-yard field goal with just 2:48 to go, and the Riders held on from there for the 33-23 win.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 15-of-30 passing for 193 yards, and Steven Jyles was 2-of-2 for 21 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a major score. Wes Cates rushed 19 times for 117 yards, Weston Dressler scored a rushing touchdown and Keith Shologan caught a touchdown pass. Luca Congi had a solid night kicking with 3 field goals and 3 converts, while Jamie Boreham added a single. Kevin Glenn, in relief of starter Quinton Porter, was 12-of-27 passing for Hamilton for 183 yards and a touchdown to Arland Bruce. DeAndra' Cobb scored a rushing touchdown, while Nick Setta had 3 field goals, 2 converts and conceded one safety touch. Defensively, James Patrick and Mike McCullough had 3 tackles each for the Riders, while Markeith Knowlton had 10 tackles and 1 sack to lead the TigerCats.

With the win, Saskatchewan improves to 4-3 for 8 points, tying Edmonton for first in the West Division. Hamilton slips to 4-3 for 8 points, 4 points behind Montreal in the race for first in the East Division.

The Riders have a short week, as they travel to Montreal for a Friday matchup with the 6-1 Alouettes, who won 43-13 in Regina in week #3 play, back on July 18th. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm EDT, with the live broadcast on beginning at 6:30pm EDT. Hamilton's next game is a week #9 contest at Edmonton on Saturday, August 29th.

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