Saskatchewan Roughriders Cruise to Grey Cup Victory over Tiger-Cats

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Saskatchewan Roughriders Cruise to Grey Cup Victory over Tiger-Cats
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Saskatchewan Roughriders scored 24 second-quarter points to build up a huge lead and never looked back en route to a lop-sided 45-23 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 101st Grey Cup.

Playing in front of a sold-out hometown crowd of 44,910 fans, a first-quarter touchdown pass from Darian Durant to Geroy Simon put the Riders ahead early, and it was a lead they would never relinquish.

It could very easily have gone the other way, however. On their first possession, Durant fumbled while getting sacked, but he was able to recover the ball.

In their next offensive possession, a few plays prior to the touchdown pass, Durant was flushed out of the pocket and fumbled the ball while scrambling. The ball took a wild hop and dropped into the hands of Roughriders running back Kory Sheets who extended run for a 42-yard gain on the play, putting the green-and-white in scoring position.

Had either of those first two fumbles resulted in a turnover, the Tiger-Cats may have been able to take advantage and put more early points on the board. And in fact, Hamilton's field goal late in the second quarter came swiftly on the heels of a third Durant fumble which the Ti-Cats were able to recover.

Instead, Hamilton was unable to recover those early fumbles and, aside from a field goal on their first possession, they found their offense neutralized for most of the game. 

Part of the issue was their running game. After a couple of unsuccessful runs by C.J. Gable in the first quarter, the Ti-Cats almost completely abandoned their ground attack, forcing quarterback Henry Burris to throw repeatedly against pressure in the pocket and coverage waiting for the ball in the secondary. 

Burris was subsequently sacked three times, fumbled the ball twice (with one lost) and threw an interception while only completing 20 passes on 43 attempts.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Kory Sheets ran at will against the Tiger-Cats

Aside from the early struggles to hang on to the ball, Durant settled in for a very solid game, completing 17 of 24 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 26 yards along the way.

Durant played all three playoff games this season without throwing a single interception. His steady play has resulted in his first Grey Cup victory in three tries.

Sheets had a record-setting night running the ball for Saskatchewan. His 197 yards of rushing are a new Grey Cup record and, along with two touchdowns, earned him the game MVP

Hometown hero and Roughriders slotback Chris Getzlaf was named the Most Valuable Canadian for the game on the strength of his three catches for 78 yards. Getzlaf was born and raised in Regina along with his younger brother Ryan, who plays hockey for the Anaheim Ducks.

Wind was a major factor in the game as well. Of the 68 points scored in the game, 48 were scored when the offense had the wind at their back.

The win is Saskatchewan's fourth in team history and their first while playing at home, making it special for the Riders faithful.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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