Saturday, September 26, 2009

Riders hang on, beat Edmonton in front of CFL record crowd








A determined offense and a solid defense were the difference Saturday night, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 23-20, in front of a CFL regular season record 62,517 fans at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton opened the scoring, as a Darian Durant pass was intercepted and returned 59 yards for a major score by T.J. Hill. Noel Prefontaine converted, putting the Eskimos up 7-0, with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter. Saskatchewan made it a 2-point game after one quarter, as Luca Congi botted a 26-yard field goal with 4:09 left, and Prefontaine conceded a safety touch with 2:33 to go, making it 7-5 Edmonton.

Prefontaine kicked a 22-yard field goal 1:53 into quarter number two, putting Edmonton up 10-5. The Riders would take the lead into the halftime locker room, as a 46-yard punt by Jamie Boreham was fumbled into the endzone, where it was recovered by Renauld Williams for the touchdown. Congi's convert, coming with 2:01 to go in the half, gave Saskatchewan a 12-10 lead.

The lead went back to the Eskimos just 1:56 into the third quarter, as Prefontaine drilled a field goal from 42 yards away. After a battle for field position between the two teams ate up the clock, Congi's 36-yard field goal with 3:18 still on the third quarter clock, giving Saskatchewan the lead at 15-13.

The lead changed hands for the fifth time, as Arkee Whitlock rumbled 55-yards for a touchdown. Prefontain's convert put Edmonton back in front, 20-13, with 1:20 gone in the final quarter. The Riders pounded it right back at Edmonton, regaining the lead with a 6-play, 65-yard drive. Wes Cates ran to the 1, where Maurice Lloyd forced a fumble. However, the bounce went the way of Saskatchewan, as Marc Parenteau recovered at the 1-yard line. Steven Jyles punched in the touchdown with a 1-yard run, then Durant passed 5-yards to Andy Fantuz for the 2-point conversion, giving the Riders a 23-20 lead, with 9:33 remaining in regulation time. after more battling for field position, the Eskimos took over at their own 39 with 2:10 left, looking for a comeback victory over Saskatchewan for the second time in a week. Edmonton advanced to their own 53, but Ray's pass for Jamaica Rector on 3rd and 3 fell incomplete, giving the Riders the ball back on downs with 59 seconds to go. Saskatchewan was able to run out the clock from there, holding on to the 23-20 win.

Darian Durant was 23-of-33 passing for the Riders, for 269 yards. He threw 3 interceptions and no touchdowns. Steven Jyles scored Saskatchewan's only rushing touchdown of the night, and Renauld Williams scored a touchdown on a fumbled punt recovery. Luca Congi had 2 field goals and a convert for 7 points. For the Eskimos, Ricky Ray was 15-of-29 passing for 244 yards. Arkee Whitlock's 55-yard score was Edmonton's only rushing touchdown, while T. J. Hill returned an interception for a touchdown. Noel Prefontaine kicked 2 field goals and 2 converts. The Riders had 381 yards total offense, allowed 5 sacks and committed 3 tournovers. They were penalized 5 times for 45 yards. The Eskimos had 321 yards total offense, allowed just 1 sack, turned it over only twice, and were penalized 8 times for 76 yards.

Saskatchewan and Calgary are tied for first in the CFL West at 7-5 for 14 points. Edmonton is a game back at 6-6, while BC is 4th at 5-7 for 10 points.

The Riders make the cross-country trip to Vancouver on Friday, October 2nd, to play the hated BC Lions. Kickoff at BC Place is 10:30p.m. EDT. The live broadcast, with Rod Pedersen calling the action at http://www.620ckrm.com/ begins at 9:30p.m. EDT. The Lions lost at Calgary 27-18 Friday. The Eskimos are at Winnipeg on Friday, October 2nd.

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