Saturday, July 27, 2013

Riders beat Ti-Cats to stay unbeaten

The Saskatchewan Roughriders stayed perfect Saturday night as Drew Willy threw three second quarter touchdowns, leading the Roughriders to a 32-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Saturday night at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, Ontario.

Hamilton took the opening kick and moved quickly into scoring position, finally cashing in with a Luca Congi 15 yard field goal, 3:24 into the opening quarter, for a 3-0 Ti-Cat lead. The second Hamilton possession netted more points, as Lindsey Lamar caught a 17 yard pass from Henry Burris and made his way into the end zone. The score was the 307th career touchdown pass for Burris, moving him into 4th place all-time in the CFL. Congi converted with 7:50 left in the opening quarter, giving the Tabbies a surprising 10-0 lead. The Rider offense took the ball their third time at the Hamilton 42, converting a key 3rd down along the way, finally getting a 17 yard field goal from Chris Milo with 1:47 remaining in the opening quarter, cutting the Tiger-Cats' lead to 10-3.

A conceded safety touch by Hamilton's Josh Bartel 1:22 into the second, made it a 10-5 Ti-Cat advantage. Saskatchewan took the lead in the ensuing possession, as Drew Willy connected with Geroy Simon on a corner route, for a 30 yard touchdown, the 101st touchdown catch of Simon's career. Milo capped the 4 play, 64 yard drive with the convert, putting the Roughriders on top 12-10, with 11:15 left 'til two quarter time. Greg Ellingson caught a  38 yard pass from Burris on the next possession and made his way to the end zone for the major, with the Congi convert putting the finishing touches on a 6 play, 98 yard drive and with 7:15 to play in the half, Hamilton was back on top, 17-12. The lead see-sawed right back to Saskatchewan moments later, as Chris Getzlaf scored his third touchdown on the year, slipping a tackle on a 19 yard pass and run from Willy for the major. Milo converted with 4:21 to go in the second and the Riders were back on top, 19-17. On the next possession, Willy fired a  strike over the middle to Weston Dressler for a 24 yard touchdown. Milo converted again and with 2:08 remaining until half-time, Saskatchewan took a 26-17 lead. 

In the third quarter, the rain poured down on the two teams early on. Perhaps because of the conditions, plus a heavy Rider rush, Burris coughed up the ball and Saskatchewan was in business with a short field. They would reach the 10, but had to settle for a 18 yard Milo field goal and with 3:37 gone, the Rider lead was 12, at 29-17. Late in the quarter, another T-Cat turnover, a Burris fumble recovered by Tearrius George, set up Saskatchewan with a short field once again. Four plays later, Milo would kick a 12 yard field goal and with 2:20 left, the Roughrider lead grew to 32-17. 

Congi kicked a 35 yard field goal for Hamilton on the first play of the fourth quarter, cutting the Saskatchewan lead to 32-20 just 15 seconds into the period. The Tiger-Cats worked their way downfield on their next possession, which started at centrefield, Hamilton worked their way to the 1 yard line, but Burris was stacked up in the middle of the line on third down and was denied the touchdown. After the turnover on downs, Willy found Simon for a 45 yard gain, but the Tabbies stiffened on defence, forcing the Green-and-White into a 3rd and a long one at the 55, where Willy would move ahead on second effort for the first down. On the next series of downs, Saskatchewan would convert another third down play, keeping the ball and keeping the clock running, before eventually punting the ball away with less than 4 minutes to play. Hamilton, starting at their 15, reached the On 3rd and 17, Eddie Russ forced Ellingson out of bounds at the Rider 17, short of the first down and the Ti-Cats turned it over on downs. Saskatchewan would keep the ball on the ground, running precious time off the clock before punting it away with less than a minute to go. Hamilton would get the ball at their own 17 with 52 seconds to play. Burris was sacked at the 8 with 34 seconds left, the 5th turnover of the night by the Ti-Cats. The Riders would take a knee three times, run out the clock and leave Guelph with the 32-20 win.

For Saskatchewan, Drew Willy was 14-of-25 passing for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns and was sacked three times. Kory Sheets ran 25 times for 140 yards, Geroy Simon caught 5 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf each caught a touchdown pass, Chris Milo was 3-of-3 on both field goals and converts and Tearrius George had 3 sacks, 3 tackles and a fumble recovery. Ricky Schmitt punted 9 times for a 45.33 yard average. For Hamilton, Henry Burris was 26-of-41 for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was sacked 4 times. C.J. Gable ran 4 times for 31 yards, Greg Ellingson caught 5 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, Lindsey Lamar caught a touchdown pass Nate, Busey had 7 tackles and Josh Bartel punted 6 times for a 40.83 yard average. Luca Congi kicked 2 field goals and 2 converts.

Each team had 20 first downs. The Riders out rushed the Tiger-Cats 145 to 74 and Hamilton outgained Saskatchewan in total yards, 469 to 414. The Ti-Cats lost 2 fumbles and turned it over on downs 3 times.

With the Win, Saskatchewan improves to 5-0, while Hamilton slips to 1-4. Next up for the Riders is the bye week, followed by a Friday, August 9th game at the Calgary Stampeders, a team they beat 36-21 in week two. Game time is 9:00pm EDT on 620 CKRM, the Rider Radio Network, TSN, NBC Sports Network and The Ti-Cats play next Friday, August 2nd, 9:00pm EDT at the 1-4 Edmonton Eskimos.

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