Saturday, July 31, 2010

Riders overcome sluggish start to beat pesky Tiger-Cats 37-24

The Saskatchewan Roughriders overcame an inability to convert red zone opportunities Saturday night, coming from behind to grab a 37-24 CFL win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in front of a sell-out crowd of 30,048 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

The Riders got on the board first on an Eddie Johnson punt single 4:34 into the game. Hamilton then drove the field, going 75 yards in 10 plays, ending with a 25 yard Kevin Glenn to Arland Bruce touchdown pass. Sandro Deangelis converted with 4:56 left in the opening quarter, giving the Ti-Cats a 7-1 lead. Saskatchewan drew even with a pair of Luca Congi field goals, a 37 yarder with 1:23 left and a 40 yarder 59 seconds into the second, knotting the score at 7-7.

Hamilton regained the lead with 10:35 left in the half, when Dave Stala caught an 11 yard pass from Glenn for the major score. Deangelis converted, putting the Tiger-Cats up 14-7. The Riders drove to the 2 with just under 3 minutes on the clock, but had to settle for a 9 yard Congi field goal with 2:14 remaining. They would get the ball back one more time, setting Congi up for a 42 yard field goal with 40 seconds left, cutting the Hamilton lead to 14-13 at halftime.

Saskatchewan took charge in the third, posting 13 points. After a great catch by Andy Fantuz put the ball at the half yard line, Wes Cates scored from there over left tackle and with the Congi convert with 8:19 left in the third, the Riders led 20-14. Congi nailed two more field goals, from 35 yards with 5:07 left, and from 15 yards with 50 seconds remaining, extending the Saskatchewan lead to 26-14 through three quarter time.

Hamilton threatened early in the fourth, but had to settle for a 17 yard Deangelis field goal, cutting the deficit to 26-17 with 11:11 left in regulation time. After a screening penalty on Jerome Dennis covering Rob Bagg in the endzone put the ball at the 1, Cates dove over for his second major score of the game. After video review upheld the score, Congi kicked the convert, giving Saskatchewan a 33-17 lead, with 3:34 left. Johnson launched the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for his second single, making it 34-17 Riders. The Cats struck back on a brilliant 36 yard catch and run touchdown by Bruce, who eluded four tackles on his way to the endzone. Deangelis kicked the convert, cutting the deficit to 34-23 with 2:12 remaining. After Chris Szarka recovered a short kick, Saskatchewan drove the short field to get Congi's 7th field goal of the game, this one from 19 yards with 23 seconds left on the clock, giving the Riders the final winning margin of 37-24.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 21-for-35 passing for 270 yards, with 1 interception. Wes Cates ran 13 times for 66 yards and 2 touchdown, and also caught 5 balls for 75 yards. Andy Fantuz had 8 catches for 100 yards and Luca Congi had a career night, kicking 7 field goals, 1 off the CFL single game record, plus 2 converts and kicker Eddie Johnson belted 2 singles. For Hamilton, Kevin Glenn was 31-for-45 passing for 425 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Arland Bruce caught 16 passes, 1 off the CFL single game record, had 272 receiving yards, taking 2 of those catches in for touchdowns. Dave Stala also had a touchdown reception and Sandro Deangelis kicked 1 field goal and 3 converts. The Riders, now 4-1 on the season, had 366 total yards, 23 first downs, allowed 1 sack, had 1 turnover and were penalized just twice for 15 yards. The Tiger-Cats, who slipped to a surprising 1-4, had 473 yards total offense, 29 first downs, turned the ball over 3 times and committed 8 penalties for 87 yards.

It's on the road next Friday for Saskatchewan, for a big early season matchup with the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes, a team they beat in that memorable Canada Day classic on August 1st, 54-51 in overtime. Kickoff from Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal is set for 7:00pm EDT on 620 CKRM Radio and the Rider Radio Network. Hamilton is home next Saturday against Winnipeg, beginning at 7:00pm EDT.

Wes Cates plows his way to the first of his two touchdowns.

Coach Ken Miller heads out after his teams' 4th win in 5 tries this season.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this info;this was the only place I could easily find out how many yards Wes Cates gained (from my Blackberry). I think CFL games to date show that there isn't that much difference in the ability of top teams compared to bottom ones. There is parity which makes the season quite exciting.

John Meissner said...

I agree that the CFL is pretty even from top to bottom. With perhaps (right now, anyway) Edmonton and possibly BC, the entire league is a toss-up. I didn't think Hamilton is as poor as their record says they are, and I still wouldn't be surprised to see both the Eskies and Leos become a factor before the season is over.

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