Ground game leads the way for Riders | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League


REGINA -- Weston Dressler is once again a Roughrider, but the fan favourite's return was a footnote on a Labour Day Classic dominated by Saskatchewan's ground attack.

Running back Anthony Allen's 15-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds remaining in the game proved to be the crucial score for the Riders in their 35-30 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.

“It's probably not very pretty and it has a lot of people saying our offence is sputtering, but a win is a win,” said Roughriders left guard Brendon LaBatte, whose team's sixth win in a row moved them into a tie for second place in the West Division with a 7-2 record.

“We're doing what we need to do to get a win, and if that means running the ball then we'll do that. We have the group here to get that done.”

Winnipeg's Lirim Hajrullahu kicked a 41-yard field goal with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter that gave the Bombers a slim 30-28 advantage. It was Hajrullahu's third field goal of the quarter and one that forced the Riders to come up with a late score to appease the 33,427 fans in attendance.

Allen, Darian Durant and Jerome Messam all rushed the ball on the decisive scoring drive. Durant put the ball in the air just twice, but otherwise leaned on his offensive line and stable of running backs to get the job done.

“It meant a lot for me for the coaches to trust me in that situation by giving me the ball,” said Allen, who was bumped on the depth chart after a fumble earlier in the season.

“We know we have a great quarterback and he told us to keep being patient and that this game would eventually come to us. He would put the ball in our hands when the time came and for me that time came late in the fourth quarter.”

Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin admitted he was looking to exhaust the clock and maybe win the game with a last-second field goal.

The Riders rushed for 160 yards in the game, led by Messam's 64 yards. Allen chipped in with 38 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, with 23 yards coming on the final drive. Allen's first touchdown was a three-yard run in the third quarter.

Dressler, meanwhile, had three catches for 28 yards as the Riders eased the slotback back into the lineup following his return Thursday from NFL training camp with Kansas City.

“This is what this group is all about,” LaBatte said. “When the game is on the line, whether it's running out the clock or driving for the win, we're getting stronger as the game goes on."

“We took the game over along the ground. That's always our goal.”

Durant finished 14-for-26 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown, while Blue Bombers quarterback Drew Willy went 15 for 23 for 171 yards and one interception.

Winnipeg trailed 14-7 at halftime and 21-7 midway through the third quarter before it rallied with a Willy touchdown run, followed by a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown from Troy Stoudermire. The Blue Bombers then assumed a 27-21 thanks to field goals from Hajrullahu.

Saskatchewan responded with a 59-yard touchdown strike to receiver Taj Smith that put the home team back in front 28-27 with 5:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. Hajrullaha struck again from 41 yards out with 2:58 to go, setting the table for the Riders' offence.

The Riders defence limited Nic Grigsby, the CFL's leading rusher, to 68 yards rushing and one touchdown on 15 carries.

Fan Comments
stanthefan.....You may be the one who is surprised, as the riders haven't faced the best offence & defence of the STAMPEDERS yet! Go Stamps!
September 03, 2014 - 2:20pm
GC Bound
Calgary nor Edmonton have faced the leagues hottest team for 4 weeks; THE Green Machine: Best Defensive Rush in the league, Leading Rushing in the league and Defending Grey Cup winners, not to mention, a devastating aerial attack that Cortez has yet to Reveal.
Just keep underestimating the Riders. lolol
Go Riders Go!!
September 03, 2014 - 11:48am
I agree with Ray X. Taman has done a great job supplying the depth this team needed in transition with smart choices. I still think Massam could break records as a feature back behind that O line but they ve been patient not throwing their eggs in one basket. Allens picked up his game, looks quicker, and Ford a shifty option. A back for every game plan. They got everyone contributing. The Esk Stamps Riders are going to be great games come crunch time. I think Lawrence is a great back too.
September 03, 2014 - 9:50am
It will be a big deal on Oct 3. Cornish hasn't faced the Riders yet.
September 03, 2014 - 8:29am
I love that in addition to having a great ground game, the riders have kept the three leading RBs in the league Whitaker, Harris, and Grigsby, completely out of all their respective games consecutively. Can't wait for the real test of stopping Cornish. I definitely think the stamps'll be shocked when he's limited to around sixty yards against the green.
September 03, 2014 - 3:40am
I Agree Mr. X. As much as their is a lot of "yah but" going on, I Always appreciate the efforts of a ground game. I'm glad Cornish is back. As much as he's ripped us up in the past, It would not be the same without him. Last years West final spoke volumes about the better team. This is a new year and you are only as good as the game you just played. I know the Green front seven will no doubt welcome Mr. Cornish back as well. It will feel like the West Final all over again.
September 03, 2014 - 10:02am
Orange & Black
Okay Bombers, knock their watermelons off in the Banjo Bowl. GO BOMBERS!
September 03, 2014 - 1:53am
Every week your telling the world hoping for the Riders opponents to knock off their watermelons. One of these weeks you will be right. Must be pleased with the TigerCats moving up in the Power Rankings.
September 03, 2014 - 10:10am
I really believe O&B. Know why? Cuz he GUARANTEED IT!!!
September 04, 2014 - 3:12am
Big deal! The riders three ball carriers rushed for 160 yards while Jon Cornish rushed for 163 by himself!
September 03, 2014 - 12:45am
O lines never get credit. Rider O line is a big factor in the ground game success. Likewise in Calgary. Put Cornish behind the Ottawa O line and he would be lucky to get 60 yds per game on 20 touches.
September 03, 2014 - 10:44am
Easy for Corndog to rack up the yards against a defense that was clearly demoralized by the end of the game.
September 04, 2014 - 3:13am