Saturday, August 1, 2009

Big play late propels Riders past Calgary










Darian Durant hit Chris Getzlaff with a 65-yard touchdown pass late in regulation Saturday night, sending the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 24-23 come-from-behind win over the Calgary Stampeders in a CFL battle at sold-out McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta.

The Riders, looking to break a two-game slide, hit the scoreboard first, taking the opening kickoff out to their 35, then going the remaining 75 yards in 7 plays, with Darian Durant finding Chris Getzlaff with a 9-yard scoring strike. Luca Congi's convert put Saskatchewan up 7-0, just 2:14 into the game. On their third possession, Wes Cates ripped off a 28 yard run, keyed by a block from Gene Makowsky, seeing his first action on the Riders offensive line this season. But, the drive ended on the next play, as Durant was intercepted at the Calgary 20. A couple of big plays put the Stamps into Saskatchewan's half of the field for the first time on the night. Joffrey Reynolds ripped a big 23-yard run to the 11, then Henry Burris finished the drive with an 11-yard completion to Jon Cornish for the major score. Sandro Deangelis booted the convert, tying the game 7-7 with 1:32 to go in the opening quarter.

Calgary, looking for their third straight win after starting the season in defense of the 2008 Grey Cup title at 0-2, took the lead in the second, driving from their own 6 to deep in Rider territory, but had to settle for a 12-yard Deangelis field goal with 9:09 left in the half, going ahead 10-7. The lead increased to 13-7 as Deangelis kicked an 35-yard field goal with 5:50 left. Saskatchewan responded with an 18-yard Congi field goal on the last play of the half, cutting the deficit to 13-10 at halftime.

The Riders regained the lead in the late stages of the third quarter. Starting in their own half of the field, Durant moved his team down the field then, from the Stampeder 19, a little 6-yard flip pass turned into gold, as Weston Dressler made a nice spin move on Brandon Browner to secure the major score. Congi converted with 4:51 remaining in the quarter, putting Saskatchewan up 17-13, a lead they would take into the 4th quarter.

The Riders drove deep into Calgary territory to start the 4th. A major score was called back, as Durant threw a pass after crossing the line of scrimmage. The do-over from the 20 fell incomplete as did a second down attempt, but a time count penalty moved the ball back to the 25. On the 2nd and goal from the 25, Saskatchewan gained just five yards, forcing Congi to attempt a 33-yard field goal. The kick hit an upright however and fell away, leaving the Rider lead at 17-13 with 13:04 left in regulation time. Aided by big plays and a questionable pass interference call against Omarr Morgan, the Stamps capped a 9 play, 85 yard drive to regain the lead as Burris ran around end for 18 yards and a touchdown. Deangelis toed the convert through the uprights, putting Calgary back on top at 20-17, with 8:20 to go. The Stamps held, got the ball back and drove into scoring position. The drive stalled and Deangelis kicked a 25-yard field goal with 4:18 left, stretching Calgary's lead to 23-17. The Riders couldn't move the ball and kicked it back to the Stamps, but Deangelis missed a 49-yard field goal wide left. Dressler returned the kick from his end zone out to the 45, with 1:32 on the clock. After a first down pass fell incomplete, Durant hit Getzlaff over the middle for an electrifying 65-yard major score. Congi's convert with 1:17 remaining in regulation stunned the sellout crowd and put Saskatchewan back on top by a point at 24-23. The Stamps started their last possession on their own 33, but Lance Frazier knocked down a Burris pass at the 50 with 1:06 to go. The 2nd down pass fell incomplete, with the Riders declining a Calgary holding penalty, forcing the Stamps into third-and-10. Burris underthrew an open receiver in front of his bench with 55 seconds left, turning the ball back to Saskatchewan. The Riders took a poor penalty to cost themselves field position on the ensuing possession and on second down, Cates ran for just a yard, forcing Saskatchewan to punt with 44 seconds remaining. Jamie Boreham's punt was returned to the Calgary 23. Burris threw incomplete on first down, leaving 28 seconds on the clock. On 2nd down, Burris hit his receiver in the back, forcing Calgary into a big 3rd and 10. Steve Baggs put heavy pressure on Burris, who threw incomplete up the sideline in front of the Rider bench, turning the ball back to the Green-and-White, who ran out the clock, heading back to Regina with a huge 24-23 win.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 18 of 30 passing for 282 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Steve Jyles saw action in the second quarter, going 5 of 7 for 35 yards. Weston Dressler had 9 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown and Chris Getzlaff, taking the place of the banged-up Andy Fantuz, had 5 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with just 77 seconds remaining. Wes Cates also had a big game, catching 3 passes for 34 yards, while running the ball 16 times for 98 yards. Luca Congi kicked a field goal and 3 converts for 6 points. Defensively, Renauld Williams had 6 tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks, while Donovan Alexander added six tackles. For the Stampeders, Henry Burris was 17 of 28 passing for 224 yards and a touchdown. Jon Cornish caught a touchdown pass for the Stamps, while Burris added a rushing touchdown. Kicker Sandro Deangelis booted 3 field goals and a pair of converts.

The Riders, who had 417 yards of total offense and just one turnover, snapped their two-game losing skid and improved to 3-2, good for a first-place tie with Edmonton in the CFL West. Calgary, with 369 yards total offense and no turnovers, had outscored their last two opponents 92-19 after losing their first two games. The defending Grey Cup champs slip to 2-3, a game out of first in the West.

Saskatchewan travels to Vancouver's B.C. Place next Friday, for a match-up with the 1-4 but always tough BC Lions. Kickoff is set for 10:30pm EDT, with the live broadcast on http://www.620ckrm.com/ beginning at 9:30pm. BC, off to their worst start in years, lost 30-18 at Hamilton on Friday. Calgary hosts Winnipeg next Saturday.

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