Sunday, September 6, 2009

Riders beat Bombers by 15 in Labour Day Classic

Two interceptions by Tad Kornegay, plus touchdowns from Weston Dressler, Wes Cates and Steven Jyles, powered the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 29-14 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sunday in the Labour Day Clasic game in front of 30,945 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg scored on the opening kickoff, as Jason Armstead caught the kickoff from Alexis Serna ten yards deep in the end zone, giving the Bombers a single and a 1-0 lead. Saskatchewan came right back on their opening possession to take the lead. Darian Durant led the team on a 9 play, 75-yard drive, with short yardage quarterback Steven Jyles taking it in from one yard out. Luca Congi converted, put the Riders up 7-1 5:08 into the game. Winnipeg cut it to 7-4, as Serna punched through a field goal from 48 yards out with 6:22 left in the opening quarter. Saskatchewan moved quickly downfield on their next possession, with Wes Cates scoring on a 3-yard run up the middle. Congi converted with 1:58 left in the first, putting the Riders up 14-4.

Saskatchewan got their next chance to score, after Tad Kornegay recovered a fumble at the Winnipeg 35. Congi kicked a 21-yard field goal with 11:12 to go in the first half, giving the Riders a 17-4 lead. It was 18-4, after Jamie Boreham booted a 53 yard punt single with 6:52 left in the half. As time wound down, the Bombers stopped a Saskatchewan drive with an interception and moved quickly the other way, reaching the 1 yard line with 1 second remaining, but were denied points as the Riders' Luke Mollinder stopped Fred Reid for a 2-yard loss on the final play of the first half.

Winnipeg's Serna kicked at 17-yard field goal to open second-half scoring, cutting his team's deficit to 18-7, just 3:20 into the third quarter. Moments later, Saskatchewan caught a pair of breaks when an apparent interception was overturned on review, then they recovered a fumble on a punt return near midfield, but the season-long 3rd quarter woes continued and the Riders were unable to capitalize and increase their lead. After getting the ball back at their own 16 on a Boreham punt, former Saskatchewan quarterback Michael Bishop moved his team 94 yards in 5 plays, with Adarius Bowman catching an 18-yard touchdown pass. Serna's convert made it 18-14 Riders, with 6:02 to go in the third. Kornegay breathed some life into the Mosaic Stadium crowd, intercepting Bishop and returning the pick to the Bomber 14. Two plays later, Durant found Weston Dressler with a 13-yard scoring strike. Congi converted as time expired, giving Saskatchewan a 25-14 lead heading into the final quarter.

A Congi 29-yard field goal with 7:22 left and a Boreham 88-yard single on the ensuing kickoff were the only points of the final quarter, giving the Riders a 29-15 win and a 27-16 record all-time in CFL Labour Day Classics.

Darian Durant was 23-of-37 passing for 246 yards and one touchdown for Saskatchewan, with one interception. Weston Dressler caught a touchdown pass, Wes Cates and Steven Jyles rushed for touchdowns, Luca Congi kicked 2 field goals and 3 converts and Jamie Boreham added two singles, one on a punt and one on a kickoff. Tad Kornegay had 5 tackles and 2 interceptions, while John Chick had 4 tackles and 2 sacks. For the Blue Bombers, Michael Bishop was 20-of-33 passing for 329 yards and a touchdown, plus 3 interceptions. Fred Reid, who rushed for 260 yards in his last game was held in check, carrying the ball 12 times for just 41 yards. Yvenson Bernard, who exceeded 100 yards in the last game was Mister Invisible, with no rushes and just one reception for 13 yards. Adarius Bowman caught a touchdown pass, while Alexis Serna kicked 2 field goals, a convert and a kickoff single. The Riders had 344 yards total offense to Winnipeg's 353. Saskatchewan benefitted from a case of sticky fingers, forcing 6 turnovers, while giving up the ball just once. Each team allowed two sacks.

With the win, the Riders improve to 5-4 for 10 points, tying Edmonton for first in the CFL West, pending the outcome of the Eskies' game at Calgary Monday night. The Bombers slip to 3-6 for 6 ponts, 8 points behind Montreal in the CFL East.

The scene shifts to Winnipeg next Sunday for the annual Banjo Bowl, with kickoff set for 4:00pm EDT. The live broadcast on CKRM Radio begins at 3:00pm EDT.

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