It wasn’t easy but the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-1) earned their first victory against the Calgary Stampeders (1-2) since October of 2021 with a 29-26 2OT win at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.
Nic Marshall intercepted the ball in the endzone on the final play of the game to seal the win for the Roughriders.
Jamal Morrow led Saskatchewan with 133 rushing yards.
Saskatchewan QB Trevor Harris had 273 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Stampeders QB Jake Maier had 288 yards passing with a touchdown and three interceptions.
The opening quarter was dominated by both teams running games and defences, with each squad only collecting field goal in the first 15 minutes.
Dedrick Mills led the Stampeders on their opening possessions with a pair of first downs before Calgary’s offence stalled settling for a 39-yard field goal to open the scoring.
On the Roughriders second drive of the game, Morrow got the offence rolling with three first downs of his own, but like the Stampeders, the green and white were unable to find the endzone as Brett Lauther kicked a 18-yard field goal to tie the game.
Calgary regained the lead with Rene Parades second field goal of the game as the Stampeders led 6-3 after the first half.
Saskatchewan suffered a major blow to their offensive line as left tackle Jerald Hawkins had to leave the game on a cart after his leg was rolled up on in the second quarter.
Things began to open in the second half. Saskatchewan opened with the ball on offence, but the Stampeders forced a turnover as Cameron Judge picked up an interception off a deflected pass.
Despite the turnover, the Roughriders were the first team to score a touchdown after Rolan Milligan intercepted Maier’s pass and after recovering his own fumble, ran it back to the one-yard line. Shea Patterson would come for the rushing touchdown to give Saskatchewan their first advantage of the game.
The Stampeders regained the lead when Malik Henry made a 52-yard touchdown reception.
On the final play of the third quarter, the Roughriders regained the lead when Harris connected with Tevin Jones for a 44-yard touchdown reception, giving Saskatchewan a four-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Calgary had a glorious chance to move ahead early in the fourth quarter but Maier’s pass was deflected off C.J. Reavis leg and was scooped up by Larry Dean before the ball hit the turf allowing the green and white to escape without surrendering any points.
On the drive following the Dean interception, ex-Stampeder Shawn Bane Jr. got a chance to gain some revenge on his old team with a 66-yard reception,
Maier trimmed the Roughriders lead by to within a field goal with a three-yard touchdown run just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
It appeared Saskatchewan was heading to victory after Samuel Emilus hauled in a 22-yard reception followed by some tough running from Morrow. But a third down sneak by Patterson was denied by the Stampeders.
Maier led Calgary down the field enough for Parades to kick a 52-yard field goal with 11 second remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
After the teams traded field goals, Lauther kicked his second field goal to give Saskatchewan a 29-26 advantage setting up the Marshall at the end of the game.
Dean finished with nine tackles along with his interception while Reavis had eight tackles to lead the Roughriders defence.
Jones ended his night with 75 yards receiving and a touchdown in the win.
Lauther was 3/4 on field goal attempts.
After the game, head coach Craig Dickenson said he was ecstatic with his team’s win.
“I mean, that was a war 0ut there and we knew it would be, I mean that was a CFL game to celebrate, two teams, slugging it out, comes down to the last play, couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
Looking back at his decision to go for it on third down gamble in the late stages of the game, the Roughriders head coach doesn’t regret the decision.
“We got a chance to win the game right there, so we’re going to take it, we just got to convert those.”
Dickenson also noted he didn’t like the fact it was the booth who decided to move the ball and not the on-field officials but added the Roughriders still need to execute in the situation.
With Nelson Lokombo injured after the first play, it was Reavis who stepped in safety, for a big defensively the Saskatchewan head coach told 620 CKRM’s Luc Mullinder that the 27-year-old had a strong game.
“C.J. jumped in and did a great job, you know played a lot of plays, his tongue is dragging right now Luc, but he showed a lot of courage today. ”
Reavis said he was ready when the team lost Lokombo.
“Let’s get it.” He said.
“I prepare like a starter all week, I kind of do the same thing every day, so nothing changes just when my number is called I got to make the plays.”
The Chester, Virginia product added that the Riders defence was calm and ready for overtime.
“Just go out and do our jobs, keep doing what we’ve been doing all game and just know they can’t get into the endzone.”
Morrow said they were prepared for a battle against the Stamps.
“Coach had talked about it earlier this week, it was going to be a physical game, a fist-fight we just wanted to go out and keep swinging , swinging, swinging from the first quarter to the fourth quarter to overtime, no matter how long it took, Coach Kelly (Jeffrey) always talked about swinging, swinging, swinging and that’s what we did today.”
Once again injury news plagued both teams on Saturday. Calgary lost another top receiver when Henry left the game.
Saskatchewan lost their starting left tackle tonight in Hawkins, Dickenson couldn’t confirm the left tackle’s status, but they are bracing for the worst.
“It’s not good, he felt something in there, guys know their body, we’ll try and be as positive as we can, but we do think it’s something fairly seriously.”
The Roughriders will now head to their first bye week of the season above .500. Over their next two games, they will have a chance to clinch a pair of divisional season series if they are able to defeat Edmonton and Calgary.
Saskatchewan will host the Elks on Thursday, July 6 at Mosaic Stadium.