Saturday, August 16, 2014

Riders slip past Montreal for 5 point win

Regina, SK. -- It wasn't easy against a determined opponent, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders put 8 points on the board in the fourth quarter, pushing their way to their fourth straight win, in a 16-11 victory over the Montreal Alouettes Saturday night, in front of a sell-out crowd of 33,427 at Mosaic Stadium.

Montreal had the first scoring opportunity, driving their opening possession behind Alex Brink all the way to the Rider 35. However, a sack by John Chick and a short gain on second down, forced the Alouettes into a kicking situation. Sean Whyte missed a 43 yard field goal wide right and the game remained scoreless just over 5:30 into the contest. They would threaten on their next possession, driving into the shadow of the Saskatchewan goal line. However, on first and goal from the 8, a botched hand off, then a fumble on the carry by Brandon Whitaker, resulted in a recovery and run back out beyond the 40 by Sam Hurl and the Montreal scoring threat was turned away. The Riders would move into Montreal territory, but the drive would stall. Josh Bartel then came on to boot a 56 yard punt single, giving the Roughriders a 1-0 lead, with 1:51 to go in the opening quarter.

Whyte would open the second quarter for the Als with a 74 yard punt single, tying the game 1-1, just 43 seconds into the period. On the ensuing possession, Saskatchewan would reach the Montreal 23, where they would get a 30 yard field goal from Chris Milo, giving the Riders a 4-1 lead, with 5:28 gone in the quarter. Keyed by a 17 yard run by Brink, the Alouettes would move to the Saskatchewan 38, where they would get a 45 yard field goal by Whyte, squaring the contest 4-4, with 5:43 left in the half.

Both offences continued to sputter, with the opening score of the second half being a 55 yard Bartel punt single 2:58 into the half, putting the Roughriders back on top, 5-4. Montreal caught a break moments later, as a Macho Harris 62 yard interception return for touchdown was overturned by review.However, the Als couldn't capitalize, as Brink threw a deep ball that was picked off on the next play by Tyron Brackenridge deep in the Rider end of the field. Both teams continued to struggle, with no more scoring in the period.

The opening play of the fourth quarter resulted in the night's first major. Under furious pressure, Darian Durant threw to an open Rob Bagg flying down the right side, right before taking a big hit. Bagg gathered it in at the 3 and sped into the end zone for the touchdown. Milo converted and Saskatchewan went up 12-4, with just 36 seconds played in quarter number four. On their next possession, the Roughriders got out of the shadow of their own end zone, thanks to a 25 yard dash by Jerome Messam. The drive reached just across midfield, before they punted the ball away, with 8:23 to go in regulation time. Aided by a 15 yard no yards penalty, Saskatchewan started their next possession at the Montreal 34. The Riders would attempt a 39 yard field goal, but Milo would miss it wide right. Duron Carter caught it 12 yards deep in the end zone and rain it 122 yards for an Alouette touchdown. Whyte kicked the convert and the Saskatchewan lead was down to 1, at 12-11, with 3:14 remaining in regulation time. After a Rider two and out, Bartel would boom an 83 yard punt single with 2:16 left, giving the Roughriders a 13-11 lead. Montreal would cross midfield, but have the field position negated by penalty. The Als would go on third and four in their own territory, but a Chick sack of Brink would turn the ball over on downs. On the ensuing possession, Durant would scramble for a first down, but have the play called back by a penalty, forcing Saskatchewan into a 2nd and 15, with just over a minute to play. Durant would call his own number and come through, dashing 17 yards for the first down. After two more plays, Milo would drill a 32 yard field goal and the Roughrider lead was 5, at 16-11, with 12 seconds left. A Montreal gain of 36 yards on a pass by Brink to Carter was nullified by penalty, with 4 seconds, forcing the Alouettes into the hope of a miracle. There would be none forthcoming, as Saskatchewan's Tristan Black recovered a fumbled pitch after a completed pass as time ran out, giving the Riders the win, 16-11.

For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was 19-of-30 passing for 221 yards and 1 touchdown. Jerome Messam rushed 10 times for 54 yards, Rob Bagg caught 6 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, Chris Milo was 2-of-3 on field goals and 1-of-1 on converts and Josh Bartel punted 10 times for a 47.4 yard average with a pair of singles. Defensively, Tearrius George had 5 tackles, while Tyron Brackenridge had 5 tackles and forced a fumble and John Chick had 4 tackles, 3 sacks and forced a fumble. For Montreal, Alex Brink was 19-of-31 for 187 yards and an interception, while rushing 3 times for 32 yards. Duron Carter caught 7 passes for 69 yards, Sean Whyte was 1-of-2 on field goals, 1-of-1 on converts, punted 7 times for a 50.1 yard average, with a punt single. Aaron Lavarius and Jerald Brown each had 5 tackles.

Up next for the 5-2 Roughriders is a road game against the BC Lions on Sunday, August 24th. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm EDT. Catch all the action with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri on 620CKRM, the Rider Radio Network and The game can be seen in Canada on TSN and in the U.S. on The 1-6 Alouettes next play at Winnipeg on Friday, August 22nd.

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