The Saskatchewan Roughriders are moving on in the CFL playoffs after yet another nailbiter which is something they have become synonymous with this season.
Brett Lauther’s 34-yard field goal in overtime gave the Riders a hard-fought and dramatic 33-30 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in what was a tale of two halves.
“It’s gotta be up there you know.” Lauther said when asked if this was the biggest field goal he has ever kicked. “Playoff game, overtime, pretty cool scenario and stuff too, but I have to deflect the credit and give it to how hard the guys fought today and all year just ignoring what was said on the outside and righting some wrongs over the last two years. It feels good.”
Cody Fajardo had a rough night, but when the team needed him to come through with a big touchdown he did so. Despite throwing four interceptions on the night, Fajardo took the field late in the fourth quarter with the Riders down 24-20 and proceeded to march the team on a nine-play, 75 yard drive that he capped off with a one-yard run to give Saskatchewan the lead.
Fajardo told reporters after the game that it was a game he will remember because of how it went down.
“If you told me I’d have had four interceptions and we won the game, I would tell you that you are psychotic.” Fajardo said with a laugh.
Head Coach Craig Dickenson said what transpired was playoff football and that they found a way to win at the end. He gave a lot of credit to Fajardo for not letting what was a bad night get in the way of him making some big plays at the end.
“He’s a tough guy and he is very resilient.” Dickenson said. “He’s a warrior. He takes a lot of hits and just keeps truckin along. He is an ultimate competitor. I’m not surprised by him and I am sure glad he is on our team because he finds a way to win games.
The victory means the Riders will now head to Winnipeg to meet a Bombers team that was the class of the CFL in the regular season going 11-3 in the regular season with two of those losses coming at the end of the season in what were nothing games to them and saw them rest many of their regulars. Dickenson knows the challenge they present is formidable.
“My brother (Calgary Coach Dave Dickenson) and I were joking this week that whatever team won the game this week will be facing Goliath.” Dickenson said. “They are the best team and they have been the best team all year. We’re going to go there and try to win.”
Next week’s game will go at 3:30 and can be heard on 620 CKRM.
- Calgary defensive lineman Shawn Lemon was ejected at the end of the first half for throwing a punch at Duke Williams. Stampeders defensive back Jonathan Moxey told TSN at half-time that someone had spit on a fellow Stampeder player causing the ruckus. Moxey did not wish to discuss it any further after the game
- The game was the first playoff overtime contest for the Riders since a semi-final win over BC at Taylor Field in 2010
- Jamal Morrow electrified the Mosaic Stadium crowd when he returned a second quarter punt 69 yards for a touchdown. It was the second return touchdown Morrow had, but the first one was called back due to an illegal block penalty
- The road team had won the previous three Western semi-finals
- It was the first home playoff game the Riders were victorious in since beating BC in the 2013 West semi