Thursday, July 1, 2010

Big 2nd half comeback nets OT win for Riders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who stumbled through an awkward preseason and fell behind by 21 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter tonight, roared back to grab a 54-51 OT win over the defending Grey Cup Champion Montreal Alouettes in the 2010 CFL opener for both teams.

The Riders grabbed the lead 2:34 into the game, thanks to a 17 yard field goal by Luca Congi to go up 3-0. Montreal started slow, but then put up two major scores in the latter stages of the opening quarter, going to work on the Saskatchewan secondary to do so. Anthony Calvillo hit Kerry Watkins for a 39 yard touchdown with 7:24 remaining, then Calvillo found S.J. Green for a 48 yard touchdown with 4:33 to go. Damon Duval converted both times, giving the Als a 14-3 lead after one quarter.

The Riders got within 4 early in the second. After a 53 yard run by Wes Cates got the ball to Montreal 9, Darian Durant scooted around left end for a 9 yard scoring run. Congi's convert cut cut the Alouette advantage to 14-10, with 10:58 left in the half. Montreal would take a two score lead into the half, as Calvillo threw a 34 yard touchdown pass to Watkins, with Duval converting with 6:08 to go, then Duval toed a 9 yard field goal with 1:47 left, boosting the Als lead to 24-10. Saskatchewan threatened late, but fumbled the ball away deep in enemy territory to trail by 14 through two quarter time.

Montreal appeared to take a stranglehold in the late stages of the third quarter. After the two teams each conceded safety touches, first by the Riders' Louis Sakoda with 8:39 to go, then by Duval of the Als with 7:41 remaining that set the Montreal lead at 26-12, Saskatchewan then moved the ball into scoring position, only to see the drive stall. Congi would attempt a 43 yard field goal, but the kick missed wide right. Tim Maypray took the ball 15 yards deep in the end zone and ran the ball back 125 yards for the major score. Duval converted and the stunned crowd stared in disbelief, as the Alouettes expanded the lead to 33-12 with 5:09 to go in the third. However, the mood in the stands would change quickly. Durant hit Prechae Rodriguez with a 43 yard touchdown pass, followed by the Congi convert with 3:09 to go, then Durant hit Rob Bagg with an 87 yard scoring strike. Congi converted with 58 seconds left in the quarter, cutting the Rider deficit to 33-26 at three quarter time.

Saskatchewan would tie the game early in the fourth. After holding Montreal, the Riders marched smartly down the field. Cates took over, breaking off two straight big runs, then going the final 10 yards on the next play for the touchdown. Congi converted with 10:48 remaining in full time, tying the game 33-33. The Alouettes regained the lead 40-33 with 3:49 to go, on a 1 yard run by Avon Cobourne and a Duval convert. But the home team wouldn't panic. Durant led his team quickly down the field. Andy Fantuz caught a pass at the 8 with 1:10 left, then again caught a toss from Durant. The ball was initially ruled down at the 1, but after review, the major score was awarded. Congi kicked the convert with 42 seconds left in regulation time, tying the game for Saskatchewan at 40-40, forcing overtime.

CFL overtime consists of two mini games, with each team starting at the opponent's 35 yard line. The Riders went on offense first to begin the first mini-game. The first down play lost 3 yards, then Durant hit Weston Dressler at the 14. A catch by Jason Clermont moved the ball to the 10, then Fantuz ran a crisp post route, catching a 10 yard touchdown pass from Durant. In CFL overtime, teams must go for two after a major score. Ryan Getzlaf ran a similar route as Fantuz did, catching a 2 point convert pass from Durant, to put Saskatchewan up 48-40. On the fifth Montreal play, Calvillo threw incomplete on 3rd down. But, in an instance that was eerily similar to how they lost the Grey Cup, the Riders were caught with too many men on the field, giving the Als a first-and-goal at the 9. After a Cobourne run to the 1, Green caught a pass in the deep right corner of the endzone for the touchdown. Green then made a spectacular catch just inside the end line, tying the game once again, at 48-48.

Montreal went first in the second mini-game, but had to settle for a 42 yard Duval field goal, to go ahead 51-48. On Saskatchewan's possession, Dressler made a difficult catch at the 2 for a first down. Then, on the next play, Dressler started deep in the formation on the left side, then slanted to the goal post and made a diving, rolling catch of a Durant pass for the winning score, giving the Riders a 54-51 win, sending the sell-out crowd of 30,945 into a frenzy. The game was the third highest scoring game in CFL history and the highest-ever opening day point total. "In the first half we did as many things wrong as you can possibly do and we were only down 14" said Head Coach Ken Miller after the game. "The play that really sparked us was the long pass to Rob Bagg." Talking about the change in strategy that opened up the deep ball in the second half, Miller said that "Well, we had to change our protection a little bit because when we tried to go down deep early, they were getting to Darian a little bit a little bit, so we had to change our protection. When we did that, we were able to have more time and get the ball down field a little bit."

Darian Durant had a huge opening night for Saskatchewan, completing 30-of-44 passes for 478 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushing 5 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. Weston Dressler caught 10 balls for 154 yards and 1 touchdown, Andy Fantuz had 8 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns, Rob Bagg made 4 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown and Prechae Rodriguez had 2 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Wes Cates rushed 13 times for 112 yards and a touchdown and Luca Congi kicked 1 field goal and 5 converts. The Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo was 28-for-42 passing for 368 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Kerry Watkins had 5 catches for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns and S.J. Green caught 5 balls for 61 yards and a pair of major scores. Avon Cobourne carried the ball 10 times for 39 yards and a touchdown and Damon Duval kicked 2 field goals and 5 converts. Montreal's star of the game was kick returner Tim Maypray, who not only had the 125 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown, but also returned 5 kickoffs for 118 yards and 1 punt for 12 yards. The Riders had 641 yards total offense, allowed 2 sacks, turned the ball over twice and committed 9 penalties for 115 yards. The Alouettes had 417 yards total offense, allowed 4 quarterback sacks, had 2 turnovers and were flagged 6 times for 69 yards.

Saskatchewan, 1-0 to start the season, travels to Vancouver for a matchup with the BC Lions on Saturday, July 10th. Kickoff on 620 CKRM, the Rider Radio Network at is set for 10:00pm EDT. Montreal, 0-1, plays at Edmonton on Sunday, July 11th, at 7:00pm EDT.

Riders celebrate Weston Dressler's game-winning catch in overtime win.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

unbeleivable game , fyi , yesterdays game and 13 other cfl games will be on the nfl network

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