Sunday, October 19, 2014

Comeback falls short in loss to Edmonton

Regina, SK. -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders hosted the Edmonton Eskimos Sunday in CFL action at Mosaic Stadium in Regina and 32,421 fans watched Kerry Jospeh try to will his team to victory, but it wasn't to be, as the Eskimos held on for a 24-19 win, clinching second place in the CFL West in the process of sending the Riders to their fourth loss in a row.

Edmonton got the first break, deflecting a Josh Bartel punt and recovering at the Roughrider 35. However, they went two-and-out, with a missed 47 yard field goal into the end zone being brought back into the field of play. After moving out near the 35, Saskatchewan punted and Fred Stamps threw cross-field, trying to set up a long return. However, the ball was intercepted by Mark LeGree. They'd turn that into a 43 yard Chris Milo field goal, giving the Riders a 3-0 lead, with 8:05 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Eskimos started a drive late in the first quarter, moving smartly downfield, mainly through the air. The drive stalled at the 31, which led to a 38 yard Hugh O'Neill field goal, tying the game 3-3, 3:22 into the second. On their next possession, Edmonton again sailed downfield, starting from their own 38. The drive stalled and O'Neill came on for a 35 yard field goal. However, the kick missed wide left, going through the endzone for a single, putting the Eskimos on top 4-3, with 6:45 left to play 'til halftime. On the next possession, Saskatchewan, aided by a challenge on a pass interference call, mounted a threat. However, a deflected pass was intercepted by Dexter McCoil, ending the threat at the Edmonton 30. The pick was McCoil's league-best 6th of the season. After holding on defence, a big punt return by Weston Dressler would set the Riders up at the 54 yard line with 2:17 left in the half. Behind the right arm of veteran quarterback Kerry Joseph, Saskatchewan quickly moved in to scoring position. The drive was capped off by a bullet pass to the goal line, where Brett Swain made a diving catch for the 17 yard major. The Milo convert, with 58 seconds to go, gave the Roughriders a 10-4 lead. On their first play on the next possession, Reilly was intercepted by Tyron Brackenridge. The return, coupled with a penalty, set Saskatchewan up with a first-and-goal at the 10. A first down pass fell incomplete and a second down pass, both into the end zone, was knocked down. Milo would then come on a boot a 17 yard field goal just 25 seconds away from two-quarter time, giving the Riders a 13-4 lead heading into the break.

The Eskimos leaped right into the second half with a 96 yard kickoff return touchdown by Kendial Lawrence. O'Neill converted and the deficit for Edmonton was down to 2, at 13-11, just 21 seconds into the third quarter. The Eskimos would take the lead late in the quarter on a 46 yard O'Neill field goal, which made the score 14-13 Edmonton, with 5:04 still to play in the third. After forcing a punt, Saskatchewan would take the ball at their own 20. On first down, Jospeh was intercepted and the Eskimos would start at the Rider 33, reaching the 16 at the end of the quarter.

The Edmonton drive would appear to reach paydirt, as Reilly stepped out of pressure and run it in from 11 yards out. However, the score was called back by a penalty, moving the ball back to the 22. A second down pass inside the 5 was knocked away, forcing O'Neill to come on for a field goal attempt from 29 yards out. The kick was good and with 1:50 gone in the 4th quarter, the Eskimo lead grew to 17-13. The Saskatchewan defence had a really tough time containing the Edmonton offence, as Reilly went 4-for-4 on second downs, reaching the 5. Reilly would run a bootleg to the right, covering the rest of the distance for the score. The drive, which started at their own 26, coupled with the O'Neill convert, raised the Eskimo lead to 24-13, with 7:28 to go in regulation time. Edmonton continued to control the play, reaching the Rider 38 at the 3 minute warning. The Eskimos would go for it on 3rd and 3, but a pass fell short, turning the ball over on downs with 2:22 left. Joseph would then take his team on the march, getting a 28 yard touchdown pass to Korey Williams, capping a 10 play, 72 yard drive. The two-point conversion failed and with 42 seconds remaining, Saskatchewan was down by 5, 24-19. The short kick didn't succeed and Edmonton ran out the clock, winning by the 5 point margin.

For the victorious Eskimos, Mike Reilly was 20-of-30 passing for 260 yards and 1 interception, while running twice for 12 yards and a major. John White rushed 16 times for 91 yards and Adarius Bowman caught 6 balls for 111 yards. Hugh O'Neill was 3-of-5 on field goals, 2-of-2 on converts, had a missed field goal single and punted 4 times for a 49.3 yard average. Kendial Lawrence ran back 3 kicks for 135 yards and a 96 yard touchdown. The defence was led by Dexter McCoil, who made 7 tackles and had an interception. For the Roughriders, Kerry Joseph was 17-of-36 passing for 213 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, while rushing 7 times for 21 yards. Will Ford rushed 9 times for 27 yards, Korey Williams caught 4 balls for 52 yards and a touchdown and Brett Swain caught 2 balls for 24 yards and a touchdown. Chris Milo was 2-of-2 on field goals and 1-of-1 on converts and Josh Bartel punted 9 times for a 37.9 yard average. The defence was led by a trio of players: Brandon Boudreaux had 4 tackles and a special teams tackle, Rod Williams had 5 tackles and Ricky Foley had 5 tackles and 3 sacks.

Up next for the 9-7 Riders is a week 18 matchup in Calgary against West-champion Calgary Stampeders, 13-2. Kickoff from McMahon Stadium in Calgary is 9:30pm EDT. Catch all the action on 620CKRM with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri. You can also hear the game on the Rider Radio Network and The game can be seen in Canada on TSN and in the U.S. on Edmonton next plays on Saturday, November 1st at home against BC.

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