Saturday, August 24, 2013

Riders move to 7-1 with hard fought win at Edmonton

Chris Milo kicked five field goals and Kory Sheets scored two majors, leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 30-27 win over the Edmonton Eskimos before 41,688 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, the largest CFL crowd this season..

The Eskimos, powered by the running of Hugh Charles, moved the ball smartly down field on the game's opening possession, but stalled at the 39 yard line. Hugh O'Neill came on to kick a 46 yard field goal and Edmonton had the early 3-0 lead 2:47 into the contest. On second and short on their first series, the Riders' Darian Durant hit Weston Dressler for a 36 yard gain into Eskimo territory. They reached the 20, then settled for a 27 yard Chris Milo field goal, tying the game 3-3, with 9:31 to go in the opening quarter.

Milo kicked his 18th consecutive field goal this season, this one from 35 yards out just 49 seconds into the second quarter, putting Saskatchewan on top, 6-3. Edmonton would get the games' first major on the next possession, as Mike Reilly rolled out of pressure and found a wide open Fred Stamps in the end zone for a 33 yard touchdown. O'Neill kicked the convert and with 11:38 to play in the period, the Eskimos were up by 4, 10-6. Late in the half, the Riders put together a drive that would bring them within one point, thanks to Milo's 43 yard field goal with 2:48 left in the second, making it a 10-9 game, with Edmonton on top. Saskatchewan would grab the lead on their next possession. Spurred on by a nice punt return from Dressler and a 35 yard pass from Durant to Chris Getzlaf, Milo would kick a 36 yard field goal with 40 second left on the clock to put the Roughriders on top, 12-10.

Saskatchewan took the ball to start the second half and turned it into points. Starting at their own 39, they would drive 7 plays later into position for a 36 yard Milo field goal and with 10:48 to play in the third, the Riders were up 15-10. Edmonton would bounce right back, with Reilly finding Stamps with a bullet from 21 yards out, capping a 7 play, 75 yard drive. O'Neill booted the convert and with 6:50 left in the third the Eskimos were back on top, 17-15. Taj Smith made a couple of nice catches on Saskatchewan's next possession, Geroy Simon made a grab and Kory Sheets had a couple of nice runs, the second finding pay dirt from 10 yards out and with the Milo convert, coming with 3:04 remaining in the third, the Riders were back on top, 22-17. The score, Saskatchewan's first major of the game, capped a 6 play, 74 yard drive. Cary Koch answered, catching a 12 yard touchdown pass from Reilly on the ensuing possession for Edmonton. O'Neill converted and the Eskimos were back on top, 24-22 with 39 seconds to go in the third.

Edmonton extended the lead early in the fourth, on a 42 yard O'Neill field goal 4:16 into the frame, making it a 27-22 Eskimo lead. On the ensuing Rider possession, Dressler and Smith made key receptions, but it was Sheets who made it into the end zone for the major, diving in at the end of an 18 yard run. Milo converted and with 8:00 still to go, Saskatchewan was back on top, 29-27. Following a Charles kick return to the 49, Reilly went to work for Edmonton, quickly moving his team into scoring position in the shadow of the goal line. The first down play lost yardage to the 4, then Reilly's second down pass was intercepted in the end zone by the Riders' Dwight Anderson, turning away the Eskimos and preserving the lead for Saskatchewan. The Riders would get a couple of nice catch and runs from Sheets on the ensuing possession, moving from their own 25 out near midfield, after a penalty pushed them back to their own 51. The drive bogged down two plays later and Saskatchewan would get a 55 yard punt single from Ricky Schmitt with 2:05 to play, for a 30-27 lead. Edmonton would move out towards midfield, where Reilly would get rocked at his own 44, coughing up the football. The Riders would recover there with 1:18 to play, then grind the time off the clock, holding on for the 30-27 win.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 24-of-30 passing for 334 yards. Kory Sheets ran 24 times for 139 yards and 2 majors, Chris Getzlaf caught 5 passes for 90 yards, Weston Dressler 5 for 89 and Taj Smith 6 for 80. Sheets caught 4 balls for 45 yards. Chris Milo kicked 5 field goals and 2 converts and Ricky Schmitt punted 5 times for a 47.8 yard average and 1 single. Rickey Foley recovered a fumble, Dwight Anderson and Tyron Brackenridge each intercepted a pass and Ray Williams had 8 tackles and 1 special teams tackle. The Riders had 25 first downs, 153 yards rushing, 487 net yards and held the ball for 33:44. For the Eskimos, Mike Reilly was 19-of-29 passing for 303 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Reilly was also his teams' leading rusher, with 8 carries for 76 yards. Fred Stamps caught 8 passes for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns and Cary Koch caught a touchdown pass. Hugh O'Neill kicked 2 field goals and 3 converts, Grant Shaw punted 5 times for a 51.6 yard average, Rennie Curran had 8 tackles. Edmonton had 21 first downs, 132 yards rushing, 435 total yards and held the ball for 26:16.

With the win, Saskatchewan is 7-1 for just the second time in their history, while the Eskimos slip to 1-7. Next up for the Riders is the Labour Day Classic on Sunday, September 1st against the 1-7 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Game time at Mosaic Stadium on 620 CKRM, the Rider Radio Network, TSN and, is 4:00pm EDT. Edmonton next plays on Monday, September 2nd at Calgary.

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