The Saskatchewan Roughriders may have won an ugly one at Mosaic Stadium that they didn’t deserve to two weeks ago, but they certainly deserved to walk off the field a winner at Tim Hortons Field on Thursday night.
The green-and-white saw their record improve to 3-2 as they beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31-20 in a game where the TiCats were favoured by 11.
The first half was not a great one for the Riders as Chris Jones flip-flopped his quarterbacks again in an attempt to find a spark. That spark came on the first play of the third quarter.
Marcus Thigpen took a handoff from Brandon Bridge and went up the middle running 80 yards for a touchdown. On the next drive, Bridge found a wide-open Naaman Roosevelt in the endzone from 32 yards out to give Saskatchewan a lead they would not give up. They added to that lead in the last minute of the 3rd when Christion Jones took a punt back 61 yards to give the team a 28-20 lead.
While the story of the game might have been big plays in the third quarter, it may also have been the sheer will and determination of Brendon LaBatte. The Weyburn product had his leg rolled up on during a first quarter field-goal attempt. The offensive lineman needed help to get off the field and limped back to the dressing room. The toughness of LaBatte would not allow him to call it quits on this night as he found a way to get back on the field and help his teammates out.
The Riders next game will be a challenge for sure as the 5-0 Calgary Stampeders come to Mosaic on Saturday, July 28 in a 7:00 start.
- Saskatchewan has now won five in a row against the Tiger-Cats
- Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli failed in his attempt to set a CFL record by throwing for 300 or more yards for the 10th game in a row. Masoli threw for 184
- The Riders had 213 yards rushing on the night with Thigpen leading the way with his 80 yard touchdown on what was his only carry of the game
- The Riders lost two members of their defence to injury as both linebacker Derrick Moncrief and defensive back Crezdon Butler went down. Head Coach Chris Jones indicated after the game the injury to Moncrief is likely one that will keep him out of the lineup for a while.
- Former Rider and Ti-Cat Andy Fantuz was recognized with a standing ovation during the game. Earlier Thursday, the 34 year old announced his retirement.