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Recap: Saskatchewan 25, Winnipeg 24

WINNIPEG -- Sandro DeAngelis' 40-yard field goal with no time remaining capped off an eventful afternoon at Canad Inns Stadium, as the Roughriders took the 2012 edition of the Banjo Bowl 25-24 over the Blue Bombers on Sunday.

Backup QB Drew Willy came up big in a relief effort for the injured Darian Durant, completing 17 of his 23 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown pass in just under three quarters of action for the Riders.

The Bombers entered Sunday afternoon’s matchup hoping to exact some revenge over their prairie rivals. Last week, the Blue and Gold came out on the wrong end of a 52-0 thrashing at the hands of the Roughriders, in a game where they were outplayed on all areas of the field.

Related: Riders at Bombers

» Video: Saskatchewan at Winnipeg Recap
» View Game Stats
» Images: SSK at WPG
» Video: Saskatchewan's Winning Drive
» Video: Washington's Punt Return TD
» Video: Sheets Rumbles for 33-Yard TD
» View Updated CFL Standings

With the outcome of the Labour Day Classic still sitting fresh in the front of their minds, the Bombers were hoping to get off to a fast start on the offensive side of the ball.

But it was the Riders who made the early statement, as cornerback Terrell Maze forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage immediately following a Terrence Edwards catch.

The ball was recovered by former Bomber Odell Willis, who was making his first appearance in Winnipeg since being traded during the off-season.

Fortunately for the Bombers, the Roughriders were unable to reach the endzone, and were forced to settle on a 34-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis.

However, the Bombers would answer back on their very next possession.

Quarterback Joey Elliott put the first drive behind him and orchestrated an impressive six-play, 60-yard drive that was highlighted by a 44-yard strike to a wide open Edwards near the sidelines.

Three plays later, Winnipeg equaled the score as Justin Palardy split the uprights from 22 yards out.

Last week, one of the main reasons for Winnipeg’s disappointing outing was their play during the first quarter. The offence was unable to generate any traction with the ball, while the defence was victimized for 10 points against.

This week, however, it was a far different story.

While the offence was on the sidelines trying to figure out a way to break through the league’s second-best defensive unit, the defence and special teams were busy making their marks.

After the Bombers defence held the Riders to a second-straight two-and-out, forcing the Roughriders to send out Chris Milo for his second punt of the quarter, it was time for Washington to cement his name in Banjo Bowl lore.

The first-year Bomber ignored a no yards flag and returned Milo’s offering 82 yards for a touchdown for his second punt return major of the season.

The score gave Winnipeg their first touchdown since their Week 9 loss to the Lions. It was also the first opening-quarter touchdown for the Bombers this season.

However, Winnipeg’s lead was short-lived, as the Riders answered back in the finest of fashions.

With Durant on the sidelines because of a hip flexor injury, Saskatchewan inserted backup pivot Drew Willy into the ball game for his second appearance in as many weeks.

Willy would waste no time getting the Green and White back into the game, connecting with Kory Sheets for a 33-yard catch-and-run touchdown, one that saw Sheets rumble his way through the defence as he made his way towards the corner of the endzone.

Things almost went from bad to worse for the Bombers soon after, as it appeared as though the Riders found the endzone for a second time when Willy connected with fullback Scott McHenry in the endzone for his first career touchdown.

However, a forward pass interference penalty on Riders receiver Chris Getzlaf negated the score, forcing them to settle on a another DeAngelis field goal, this time from 23 yards out.

Prior to Sunday's matchup, Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke made a gutsy move with respect to his defensive personnel.

Willy the Winner

Coming in for relief of the injured Darian Durant, Drew Willy completed 17 of his 23 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown in Saskatchewan's wild win.
WATCH: Willy leads last-minute drive

Burke moved last season's Most Outstanding Defensive Player Jovon Johnson away from his usual post on the corner into the sam linebacker spot, paving the way for Brandon Stewart to take over at cornerback.

The move immediately paid dividends for Burke and the Bombers, as Stewart registered his first interception of the season, jumping in front of a Willy pass that was intended for receiver Weston Dressler.

Winnipeg would even the score three plays later, as Palardy connected on his second field goal of the half from 32 yards out.

The Bombers' prowess on the defensive side of the ball must have translated into some momentum during their time with it. On Winnipeg's ensuing offensive possession, it looked as though they had finally found their stride, with tailback Chad Simpson busting through the trenches for a 42-yard romp that brought the drive inside the Saskatchewan 30-yard line.

However, they were unable to translate the big gain into any big points, as the Riders conceded a single point after Palardy missed his field goal attempt.

The second half got underway with the defences tightening up against the offensive attacks.

After Saskatchewan received the ball to start the third quarter, Jason Vega and the Bombers defence forced them to another two-and-out, one that was highlighted by Vega’s six-yard sack on Willy.

The QB takedown was Vega’s third of the season.

Not to be outdone, the Riders defence also flexed their muscle during their next drive, as defensive back Milt Collins factored into two-straight plays, registering a hard hit on Cory Watson on the first, and registering a knockdown on a pass intended for Kito Poblah on the other.

Saskatchewan’s success on the defensive side of the ball seemingly rubbed off on their offence, as the Riders would take the lead on their very next possession.

After it was announced that they would be without Durant for the remainder of the game, Willy connected on a 28-yard strike to Dressler that brought the drive to the two-yard line.

Sheets would give the Green Riders a six-point lead one play later, as he trotted into the endzone untouched from two yards out.

The well-documented animosity between the two clubs would begin to show its true colours soon after the Sheets major, as both teams would land their respective big hits in the late stages of the third quarter.

First, former Blue Bomber Joe Lobendahn would register a crushing blow to Simpson, one that sent him airborne and head-over-heels, but the Bombers would respond when James Green ignored the no yards area of the field on a punt and plowed through Jock Sanders just as he fielded a Palardy punt.

Green would be flagged for no yards, in addition to being called for unnecessary roughness for the hit.

On that possession, the Riders would add to their lead with Milo sending a booming 73-yard punt into the endzone for a rouge. However, the Bombers would begin to claw away at Saskatchewan's lead, as Palardy made up for his earlier miss, splitting the uprights for a 19-yard chip shot.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bombers would receive another jolt of momentum from their special teams unit, as Milo would fumble the snap on the punt attempt, giving the Bombers excellent field position to begin their next possession.

The Bombers would continue to cut into the Riders' lead, as Palardy would boot his fourth field goal of the game, bringing the Bombers to within one point of a tie with just over 10 minutes to go in the game.

With the fourth quarter winding down, both teams would squander opportunities to add points onto the scoreboard. The Riders missed a chance to extend their lead to four when DeAngelis missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, while the Bombers failed in their shot to take the lead, when Palardy's field goal attempt was blocked.

However, Winnipeg would finally regain the lead with just under three minutes remaining in the final frame, as Palardy kicked his fifth field goal of the game to give his team a 23-22 lead.

The Bombers would increase their lead on their next drive, when Burke opted to punt for the corner instead of kicking a field goal with less than one minute remaining. However, the Mike Renaud would miss the coffin corner, as his punt sailed into the endzone, giving the Bombers a two-point lead.

On Saskatchewan's next drive, Willy would orchestrate a veteran-like possession, leading the Roughriders into field goal range with four seconds remaining in the game.

One play later, DeAngelis would connect on a 40-yard field goal to give the Riders an improbable 25-24 win.

Next Week for Winnipeg: The Bombers travel to Calgary to take on the Stampeders. BUY TICKETS

Next Week for Saskatchewan: The Roughriders will gun for their third-straight win, as they take on the Alouettes. BUY TICKETS

Fan Comments
als rule
well cflsteve must finally be happy as his man willy finally shows his stamp in the green victory!!
September 11, 2012 - 12:20am
als rule
yeah green!! BBs and HC tim burke in for a rough ride for the reason of the season!!
September 10, 2012 - 2:21pm
gbombersgo - Sorry for the misinformation - I will myself because I thought I had heard Palardy was kicking into the wind when in fact he had the wind advantage which makes the decision less palatable for BBs fans. I think he should have gone for it and relied on ST coverage in case it was run out.
September 10, 2012 - 11:25am
I hope this doesn't dash somebody's dreams, but these latest recaps are pretty poorly written. It's not creative writing class, it's journalism: state the facts and move on. Also, changing tense in the middle of a story doesn't do a lot for readability. It's not like it actually matters, but it doesn't exactly scream professionalism.
September 10, 2012 - 1:59am
gbg The FG was in to the wind and if missed could be run out for either a TD or at least good field position with still enough time to score. A tough decision for sure for Burke in just his second game. A one point loss with a last second Fg is tough but preferable to not even being in the game IMO as the BBs were last week. A good, close, well-fought game on both sides. Battle of the young QBs - rookie vs inexperienced. Both had their good plays and not-so-good plays but it was an entertaining game for sure.
September 09, 2012 - 9:55pm
The Blue Bomber's actually had the wind in the 4th quarter, t'was the Riders who kicked against the wind to win the game..
September 10, 2012 - 4:30pm
Thank goodness..... this was a far more interesting game today and the Bombers were playing equal to their play in the five games before the LD game in Saskatchewan. And, as was the case in almost all of those previous five games, victory was once more within their grasp.
It is unfortunate that much of the focus is and will be, on the last play by the Bombers (punt vs FG attempt) when in fact other factors such as costly and totally avoidable rough play penalties etc. were key ingredients to their loss.
Under normal circumstances this would just go down as a quite exciting game that could have easily gone the other way, but now with all of the hype who knows what will follow!!
September 09, 2012 - 7:12pm
simply. stunning. coaching decisions single handedly lost them the game. they literally threw this game away. why on earth punt it away when you have a change at a FG??
September 09, 2012 - 4:26pm
because he missed from 30 some yards earlier and its easy to get good field position off of a missed field goal. You guys didn't put a single offensive touchdown on the board, didn't deserve it anyway...
September 09, 2012 - 7:37pm
You said it. It was just unbelievable. A shame.
September 09, 2012 - 8:12pm
your kicker has one job. to kick the ball through the uprights. give him a chance to do what he is paid to do. worst coaching decision ever!!!!
September 09, 2012 - 11:38pm
Whats worse- Losing by 52 or losing by 1? Either way, tough break for Winnepeg. Atleast they got some points though.
September 09, 2012 - 4:15pm