Sunday, September 21, 2014

Riders top Ottawa in double overtime

Regina, SK. -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders mounted an improbable comeback in the second half Sunday, coming from behind to top the expansion Ottawa Redblacks 35-32 in double overtime, in front of a sellout crowd of 33,427 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

Ottawa took the opening kick and drove into Rider territory, thanks in part to the running skills of D.J. Harper, who broke one run for 25 yards. The Redblacks converted twice on second down, but were stopped by a penalty and a sack at the 45 and ended up having to punt. On their second possession, Ottawa started at the Saskatchewan 39. On the first play, Henry Burris threw down the left sideline to Alexander Krausnick for 31 yards down to the 8. On the next play, Burris went the rest of the way, his first rushing touchdown since last year's Grey Cup. Brett Maher kicked the extra point and the Redblacks were up 7-0, with 7:59 to play in the first quarter. The Roughriders would reposnd, driving into position for a 40 yard field goal by Chris Milo, making it a 7-3 game just 2:53 from the end of the opening period.

Maher opened the second quarter with a 59 yard punt single just 17 seconds into the stanza, increasing the Ottawa lead to 8-3. Assisted by a roughing the passer penalty, the Redblacks drove into Saskatchewan territory once again on their next possession. Ottawa ran a fake field goal to perfection on the drive, keeping the ball by converting a third and short at the 20. At the 12, Burris would scramble out of trouble and find Wallace Miles in the end zone with a pass for a major score. Maher's convert was good and the Redblacks were up 15-3 with 5:47 to play in the half. The Riders' Tristan Jackson took the ensuing kickoff 39 yards, putting Saskatchewan in business at their own 52. However, two incompletions forced the Roughriders to punt. After holding Ottawa to a 2-and-out, the Redblacks punted. A possible roughing the kicker penalty was ignored and Weston Dressler would take the kick, go right and then straight, travelling 78 yards for a touchdown. Milo kicked the convert and the Ottawa lead was down to 15-10, with 2:47 to play in the half. The Redblacks made a big trick play on a punt to set themselves up in scoring position, throwing a cross-field lateral, then taking the ball 59 yards to the Saskatchewan 21 with 40 seconds left. There was an incompletion, a Marcus Henry catch to the 8, then on the next play, Burris scrambled out of big trouble, finding Miles for a touchdown. The Maher kick upped the lead to 22-10, with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Rider defence got a takeaway to start the third, as Tyron Brackenridge knocked the ball loose and Trevor Guyton recovered at the Ottawa 38. Rob Bagg caught a 20 yard pass from Tino Sunseri, then Sunseri tossed to a wide-open Will Ford in the left flat for an 18 yard touchdown. Milo's convert was good, bringing Saskatchewan back to within 5, at 22-17 with 3:23 gone in the second half. Ottawa responded by driving from their own 44, moving quickly into the scoring zone. They would finish off their fourth successful trip there, with Jeremiah Johnson scoring on a 13 yard pass from Burris. Maher kicked the convert, restoring the 12 point lead for the Redblacks at 29-17, with 7:28 to go in the third quarter. Aided by a major no yards penalty, the Riders would set up shop at the Ottawa 50. However, they would get no points out of it, as a snap went awry on a 43 yard field goal attempt.

Saskatchewan got a huge play to open the fourth from Dressler, who would spin his way out of several tackles, going 60 yards up the left sideline for a catch and run touchdown on a pass from Sunseri. Milo's convert 1:13 into the quarter brought the Roughriders to within 5, at 29-24. Late in the quarter, the Redblacks' Johnson went 29 yards, moving the ball to the Saskatchewan 21, with just over 3 minutes remaining in regulation time. With 1:53 left, Maher kicked a 24 yard field goal, upping the lead to 32-24. The Riders would mount a drive to try and get back in the game. After moving into Ottawa territory, a pass interference call in the end zone put the ball at the 1 yard line, with 54 seconds left. 5 seconds later, Anthony Allen would go over left tackle for a major score. Sunseri would then fire a strike to Dressler in the back of the end zone, tying the game 32-32.

In the league's first overtime of 2014, Burris was intercepted by Marshay Greene, ending the Redblacks' first turn with the ball. After two runs, Saskatchewan's Milo would come on for a 37 yard field goal attempt. The snap was low and the kick was no good, flying into the end zone. Ottawa kicked it back out and another kick back by the Riders was blocked, ending the first mini-game, with the score still tied 32-32.

Saskatchewan had the ball first in the second mini-game. After an incompletion, Chris Getzlaf made a cluth catch at the 19. A run took the ball to the 15, but Getzlaf couldn't hang on to a pass in the end zone. Milo would kick a 26 yard field goal and the Roughriders had their first lead of the day, 35-32. On the Redblacks' first play, Burris was sacked back at the 49. A penalty moved the ball to the 44. A pass to Marcus Henry took the ball into field goal position at the 30 yard line. Maher would come on for 38 yard field goal attempt to tie it, but the kick was blocked and Saskatchewan would take the ball and the 3 point win.

For the Roughriders, who now sit alone in second place in the West, Tino Sunseri was 20-32 passing for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also running 3 times for 22 yards. Anthony Allen ran 15 times for 52 yards and Weston Dressler had a big game, catching 7 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, running 5 punts back for 103 yards, a major and catching a two-point convert pass. Chris Milo was 2-for-3 on field goals, 3-of-3 on converts and punted 9 times for a 46 yard average. Tyron Brackenridge had 6 tackles, 1 special teams tackle and 1 forced fumble. Chad Kilgore had 4 tackles and 2 special teams tackles and Tearrius George had 5 tackles and 3 sacks. Ottawa was led by Henry Burris, who was 23-of-38 passing for 282 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception, while running 4 times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Jeremiah Johnson ran 7 times for 49 yards and caught 2 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Henry caught 8 passes for 87 yards, Wallace Miles caught 4 passes for 35 yards and a pair of majors and Brett Maher went 1-for-2 on field goals, 4-of-4 on converts and punted 10 times for a 49.2 yard average. Jasper Simmons led the defence with 7 tackles and 1 special teams tackle.

Next up for the 9-3 Riders is a week 14 road game at the 8-4 Edmonton Eskimos on Friday, September 26th. Kickoff at Commonwealth Stadium is set for 10:00pm EDT. Catch all the action with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri on 620 CKRM, the Rider Radio Network and The game can be seen in Canada on TSN and in the U.S. on 1-10 Ottawa, losers of 8 straight next plays on Friday, September 26th at home against Montreal.

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