Saturday, August 17, 2013

Milo kicks Riders past Montreal

The Saskatchewan Roughriders survived a scare from a scrappy Montreal team, getting a Chris Milo field goal on the game's final play, beating the Alouettes 24-21 Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd of 40,637 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, the largest crowd in the CFL this season.

Montreal started their second possession at their own 22 and on second down, Anthony Calvillo eluded pressure and found S.J. Green down field, who made a move on a defender for more yardage before being downed at the Rider 7. Calvillo overthrew a wide open Green in the end zone on second down and the Als had to settle for a 14 yard Sean Whyte field goal and a 3-0 lead with 9:02 to play in the opening quarter. Jock Sanders found an outside lane on the ensuing kickoff, running the ball out to the 51 yard line. From there, Saskatchewan appeared to turn the ball over two plays later on a Kory Sheets fumble that Montreal's Jerald Brown ran back to the 5, but the play was overturned on a challenge and the Roughriders retained possession at the Alouette 32, with 7:59 left in the first. Two plays later, Darian Durant would zip one through the goalposts to the diving Weston Dressler at the back of the end zone for the touchdown, his 4th of the season and Durant's 16th scoring strike of the season. Milo kicked the convert and with 6:13 remaining in the first, Saskatchewan took a 7-3 lead.

Whyte would miss wife left from 51 yards out and Dressler would concede the single point 34 seconds into the second, trimming the Rider lead to 3, at 7-4. Ricky Schmitt would blast a 68 yard punt single with 10:52 to play in the first half, reestablishing the 4 point lead for Saskatchewan, at 8-4. After holding the Alouettes to a 2 and out, Sanders would fumble away a punt at the 17, where Kyries Hebert would recover for Montreal. The Als would reach the 3, but again couldn't get to the end zone, settling for a 12 yard Whyte field goal and with 5:46 to go before halftime, cutting the Rider lead to 8-7.

Sanders returned the opening kick of the second half to the 35, but dropped the ball again, with Montreal recovering there, Saskatchewan's third turnover of the game. Aided by a penalty, the Alouettes would quickly reach the red zone. Josh Neiswander, subbing for an injured Calvillo, who was hurt in the first half, couldn't get his team to the end zone. Whyte would come on to kick a 25 yard field goal, putting Montreal on top 10-8, with 2:10 gone in the third. With 4:37 gone, Schmitt would boom another punt single, this one for 63 yards, cutting the Als' lead to 10-9. Whyte would kick a 48 yard punt single with 5:22 remaining in the third and the Montreal lead was up to 2, at 11-9. After a 63 yard Schmitt punted pinned the Alouettes back at their own 11, the Riders would force a two and out and a conceded safety touch from Whyte, tying the game 11-11, with 2:28 to play in the third quarter. Saskatchewan would move quickly downfield and aided by a penalty, would move the ball to the Montreal 5, with a penalty negating a touchdown scamper by Sheets. The penalty took the ball back to the 20 and another running play lost more yardage, as the quarter came to an end.

The first play of the fourth quarter was an incomplete pass into the end zone, forcing the Roughriders to settle for a 26 yard Milo field goal and with just 32 seconds gone in the final quarter, Saskatchewan was back on top, 14-11. The Als would respond by marching the ball downfield with an effective mixture of passes and runs, getting a 38 yard field goal from Whyte, tying the game 14-14, with 4:23 off the 4th quarter clock. Montreal would threaten late in the quarter, starting at their own 41, moving across midfield, but Tyron Brackenridge would force a fumble, with John Chick recovering at the 35 with 3:13 left in regulation time. A grounding penalty and a short gainer forced a Schmitt punt, with the Alouettes setting up shop at the their own 48 with 2:27 to play. However, Dwight Anderson would intercept Neiswander at the Saskatchewan 51 on the next play. Two plays after that though, Durant eluded pressure, but would end up coughing up the football, with Jerald Brown would scoop up the ball and return it 57 yards for the major. Whyte kicked the convert and with 1:45 to play, Montreal grabbed a 21-14 lead. With a 1:39, the Rider offense went to work at their own 25. Durant passed to Chris Getzlaf at the 42, Dressler took a screen pass to the 46, then Durant found a streaking Taj Smith down the left sideline for a 64 yard touchdown. Milo converted with 1:02 remaining, tying the game 21-21. The Alouettes, aided by a penalty, started their next possession at their own 34, but would go 2 and out, punting the ball back to Saskatchewan, with Dressler running the ball back to the Montreal 38, with just 28 seconds to play. A first down run gained 5, a second down run gained to the 29 with 11 seconds to play, then Milo came on to kick a 36 yard field goal on the game's final play, giving the Roughriders a dramatic 24-21 win.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 18-of-32 passing for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns and 2 sacks. Kory Sheets rushed 19 times for 74 yards, Chris Getzlaf caught 5 passes for 95 yards, Taj Smith caught 4 balls for 84 yards and a touchdown, Weston Dressler caught 5 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown and Geroy Simon caught 2 passes for 14 yards, giving him 1,000 receptions for his illustrious CFL career. Chris Milo was 2-for-2 on both field goals and converts, Ricky Schmitt punted 11 times for a 48.8 yard average with 2 singles and a long of 68. Weldon Brown led the defence with 8 tackles, Rey Williams and Craig Butler had sacks, while Dwight Anderson and Tyron Brackenridge had interceptions, while John Chick recovered a fumble. For Montreal, Josh Neiswander was 12-of-30 for 147 yards, 2 interceptions, Anthony Calvillo was 4-of-8 for 85 yards. Jerome Messam ran 15 times for 54 yards, S.J. Green caught 7 passes for 147 yards, Sean Whyte was 4-of-5 on field goals, kicking 1 convert and 1 single. He also punted 8 times for a 43.5 yard average, with a long of 49. Chip Cox led the defence with 11 tackles, while Marc-Olivier Brouillette had 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Jerald Brown, John Bowman, Kyries Hebert and Daryl Townsend each recovered a fumble. The Riders had 18 first downs, rushed for 93 yards, had 343 yards total offence and lost 4 fumbles. The Alouettes had 13 first downs, rushed for 78 yards, had 310 yards total offence, lost 1 fumble and threw 2 interceptions. With the win, Saskatchewan improves to 6-1, while Montreal falls to 2-5. Next up for the Riders is a Saturday, August 24th game at the Edmonton Eskimos. Game time on 620 CKRM, the Rider Radio Network, TSN and is set for 4:00pm EDT. The Als next play on Thursday, August 22nd at home against the BC Lions.

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