Unbeaten Roughriders pounce on winless Tiger-Cats 36-20

Despite losing quarterback Trevor Harris to an injury, the Saskatchewan Roughriders improved to 3-0 with a convincing 36-20 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday.

Harris was injured late in the second quarter when tackled by Ticats defensive lineman Nick Usher. Harris walked off the field on his own, limping gingerly on his left leg. The 38-year quarterback missed the majority of the 2023 CFL season after suffering a tibial plateau fracture of his right knee in a Week 2 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman Charbel Dabire (99) tackles Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (19) during the first half of CFL football action in Regina, on Sunday, June 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

Harris returned to the Riders sideline midway through the third quarter. He was wearing a brace on his left knee. He tossed passes on the sideline but the Riders decided to stick with backup Shea Patterson for the remainder of the game.

With Patterson at the controls and the Riders holding an 18-7 lead, the Riders defence took control of the game. Saskatchewan forced three turnovers in the third quarter with Hamilton quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell losing a fumble on the Riders five-yard line and tossing two interceptions. Jameer Thurman had the first interception, returning it 28 yards for a touchdown, and DeMarcus Fields intercepted Mitchell on the next series.

Thurman’s touchdown, along with a 16-yard field goal from Brett Lauther early in the fourth quarter, increased Saskatchewan’s lead to 28-7.

Hamilton cut the lead to 28-14 with 6:29 remaining when Ante Litre scored on a one-yard run. The 70-yard drive was kept alive by three Saskatchewan penalties, two for roughing the quarterback and one for pass interference in the end zone.

The Riders went up 35-14 when Patterson scored on a one-yard run with 2:43 remaining in the game.

Kiondre Smith caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell with 2:06 left. The ensuing two-point conversion failed, giving the Riders a 36-20 lead.

The Riders got off to a fast start when Hamilton’s Lawrence Woods fumbled the opening kickoff with Saskatchewan recovering on the Ticats’ 20-yard line. After a four-yard pass to Shawn Bane, Harris hit Sam Emilus on a 14-yard touchdown pass. Emilus slipped making his cut but still managed to make the catch.

The Riders increased their lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter when rookie receiver Ajou Ajou hauled in a 40-yard pass from Harris. It was the first regular-season CFL touchdown for Ajou.

On the final play of the first quarter, Lauther connected on a 34-yard field goal to give the Riders a 17-0 lead.

Bridges caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell late in the second quarter to cut Saskatchewan’s lead to 18-7.

UP NEXT

Tiger-Cats: Travel to Ottawa next Sunday for a tilt with the Redblacks (1-1).

Roughriders: Bye week. Next game is July 4 when Riders host the Toronto Argonauts.

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