It was a game of many mistakes, but the Riders were able to pull off a slim 30-29 victory over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In a game the Riders needed to win to keep their chances of hosting a play-off game alive, they just barely managed to best a bad Tiger-Cats team.
The Riders got some help today with the returns on leading rusher Wes Cates and great receiver Matt Dominguez. Star slotbacks Andy Fantuz and D.J. Flick are also expected back next week against the 9-7 Edmonton Eskimos. Here is a recap of today's exciting game:
Hamilton opened the scoring with a 84-yard punt single by kicker Nick Setta after going two-and-out on their opening drive. The Riders responded right after with a single of their own when kicker Luca Congi missed a 41-yard field goal.
Hamilton was able to get the lead back on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Quinton Porter to Chris Davis, putting the finishing touches on a five-play, 75-yard drive for the Tiger-Cats.
With the Riders trying to tie the game once again, Darain Durant was picked off by Chris Thompson in the endzone and the Tiger-Cats lead the game 8-1 after one quarter of play.
The Riders were able to tie it up quickly in the second quarter when Durant was able to hit Chris Getzlaf for a 22-yard strike just one minute and 54 seconds into the quarter.
Porter then marched the Ticats down field on their next drive and Setta hit a 38-yard field goal with 9:57 to go in the half to regain the lead. The three-pointer made it 11-8 Hamilton.
After an amazing kick-off return by James Johnson, Durant threw his third interception of the game, this time looking for Matt Dominguez in the back of the endzone. The defense was able to keep Hamilton at bay and Congi tied it up with just two minutes left in the half with a 54-yard field goal.
The drive was lead by Steven Jyles at quarterback after Darian Durant was removed from the game because of poor play. The Tiger-Cats did take a slim lead though when Setta managed a 57-yard punt single.
Despite going with the wind, the Riders struggled during the third quarter and the score remained 12-11 Hamilton for quite a while.
The Riders got the lead though when Nick Setta conceded a safety with 4:54 left in the third quarter. That made it 13-12 Saskatchewan. The Ticats were third-and-four from their 16-yard line and coach Marcel Bellefeuille elected to give up two points.
Hamilton then kicked off and Neal Hughes capped off a 95-yard drive with a 13-yard catch and run pass from Steven Jyles, putting the Riders ahead 20-12.
Despite being down, Hamilton never gave up and they scored two quick touchdowns just two minutes into the quarter, a 40-yard touchdown reception by Scott Mitchell and a 20-yard interception return by Jykine Bradley off a errant pass from Jyles.
Setta then hit a 29-yard field goal and the Riders quickly found themselves in a deep hole with time running out. The Riders proved resiliant though when Wes Cates, back after missing two games with a leg injury, scored his team leading 12th touchdown of the year on a 15-yard pitch and run.
Then, Down by two, Luca Congi was faced with a tough 36-yard field goal as he was kicking into heavy winds, but he kept his amazing season going by kicking the all important field goal with just 46 seconds remaining in the game.
The Tiger-Cats would not let that faze them however, and their kicker was set up with a chance to give Hamilton the victory. He was lined up for a 54-yard field goal, but the wind was with him and everyone knows about his strong leg.
Unfortunately for him, his kick went wide right and Weston Dressler ran it out of the endzone to preserve the 30-29 victory for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders!