Sunday, September 22, 2013

McCallum kick sends Riders to third straight loss

Regina, SK -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders hosted the BC Lions, but the home field advantage didn't hold, as Paul McCallum's 42 yard field goal with no time left, gave BC a hard fought 24-22 win over the Riders at Mosaic Stadium in front of a Sunday night crowd of 39,373.

Saskatchewan took the opening kick at the 45, but fumbled it away on the second play, with the Lions recovering on the Rider 46. They would cap their short drive with a 12 yard Paul McCallum field goal, taking a 3-0 lead just 4:33 into the contest.

In the second quarter, Saskatchewan got a 66 yard punt single from Ricky Schmitt just 25 seconds into the quarter, cutting the BC lead to 3-1. Halfway through the quarter, Schmitt would add a 68 yard punt single, slicing the deficit to 3-2. After a change in quarterbacks that saw Buck Pierce enter the game, the Leos put together a drive that reached the Rider 20 before stalling. McCallum would come on to kick a 32 yard field goal with 3:05 remaining in the half, for a 6-2 lead.Saskatchewan put together a late drive that came up empty with 61 seconds remaining, as Chris Milo hit the right upright from 35 yards out. The miss kept the score at 6-2 in favor of BC. The Riders would get the ball back just into Lion territory and turn it into points, as Darian Durant would loft a pass down the right sideline to running back Chris Garrett, who hauled it in for a 37 yard touchdown catch, capping a 3 play, 51 yard drive. Milo added the convert with 2 seconds left, giving Saskatchewan a 9-6 halftime lead.

A 29 yard McCallum punt after a 2 and out set the Riders up for their first second half possession just shy of midfield. Saskatchewan would reach the 8, but had to settle for a 17 yard Milo field goal and a 12-6 lead, with 8:37 to play in the third. BC would regain the lead, putting together a 7 play, 96 yard drive, which ended with Thomas DeMarco finding Nick Moore for a 43 yard catch and run major. McCallum's convert with 5:29 to go, gave the Lions a 13-12 lead. Durant would lose a fumble and BC would use that to expand the lead, getting a 20 yard TD pass from DeMarco to Shawn Gore. McCallum converted and with 3:24 left on the third quarter clock, the Lions were up 20-12. The lead would grow 3 seconds later, as McCallum's kickoff sailed to the back line of the end zone, where the single was conceded, upping the BC lead to 21-12. Tristan Jackson nearly broke a punt return at the end of the third quarter, before being tackled at the Lions' 38.

The great field possession didn't pay off however, as Milo once again his the right upright, this time from 37 yards away, keeping the BC lead at 21-12. He would redeem himself moments later, kicking a 47 yard field goal and with 9:56 remaining in regulation time, bringing Saskatchewan to within 6, at 21-15. The Riders would piece together a drive late, aided by a big roughing the passer penalty on a third down play that was stopped short of the line to gain. A big gainer to Taj Smith put the ball at the Lion 8, with 43 seconds to play. On the next play, Durant would throw his career-best 26th TD pass of the season, finding Weston Dressler in the right corner of the end zone. Milo converted with 38 seconds left, putting Saskatchewan ahead 22-21. BC's Marco Iannuzzi returned the kick out to the 44 with 31 seconds to play. DeMarco hit Shawn Gore at the Rider 49, then threw an incompletion, as the ball was knocked away from Paris Jackson with 21 seconds left. John Chick batted down a pass with 17 seconds left, then DeMarco hit Courtney Taylor at the 35 with 11 seconds to play. DeMarco then ran the ball to the middle of the field, setting up McCallum for a 42 yard field goal on the game's final play, giving the Lions the dramatic 24-22 win.

For the Roughriders, Darian Durant was 35-of-52 passing for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns, but lost a pair of fumbles that led to 10 BC points. Chris Garrett ran 9 times for 30 yards and caught a 37 yard touchdown pass. Taj Smith caught 10 passes for 104 yards, Weston Dressler caught a touchdown pass, Geroy Simon tied Ben Cahoon in career receptions, catching 5 balls for 60 yards. Chris Milo was 2-of-4 on field goals and 2-of-2 on converts, Ricky Schmitt punted 9 times for a 47.1 yard average and Craig Butler led the defence with 6 tackles and a sack. For the Lions, Thomas DeMarco was 18-of-33 passing for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns, Buck Pierce was 2-of-3 for 16 yards. Andrew Harris caught 7 passes for 27 yards,Shawn Gore had 6 catches for 74 yards and a major, Nick Moore caught a touchdown pass, Paul McCallum was 3-for-3 on field goals, 2-for-2 on converts, punted 12 times for 42.8 yard average and booted a kickoff single. Dante Marsh led the defence with 13 tackles. Saskatchewan had 22 first downs to 16 for BC, were outrushed 67 to 39, but outgained the Lions 365 to 291. BC recovered a pair of fumbles as well.

For the Lions, they improve to 8-4 on the season, leaping the 8-4 Riders into second place in the West. Saskatchewan's next game is next Sunday, September 29th at the Montreal Alouettes. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm EDT. You can hear the game on 620CKRM, the Rider Radio Network and and watch on TSN in Canada and in the U.S. BC's next game is Friday, September 27th at Winnipeg. The Lions host Saskatchewan on Friday, October 4th at 10:00pm EDT.

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