Riders come up big down the stretch to top Eskimos | CFL.ca | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
 
Pre-Season Recap: Saskatchewan 31, Edmonton 24
THE CANADIAN PRESS
 

CFL.ca Staff

EDMONTON – A pick-six with under a minute left by non-import defensive back Graig Newman broke up a tie game to help the Roughriders battle back to a 31-24 win over the Eskimos in pre-season play.

Matt Nichols got the start for the Lions as he is entrenched in a heated battle with former BC Lions pivot Mike Reilly for the right to lead the Eskimos under centre come opening.

Drew Willy made the start for the Riders behind centre and wasted little time getting his team on the board, leading an impressive first possession, spanning 48 yards, which was capped off by a 40-yard Chris Milo field goal to put Saskatchewan up 3-0.

Nichols started the game moving the ball effectively between the 20s but couldn’t seem to capitalize on anything early.  Midway through the first quarter, he completed a 40-yard pass to receiver Ed Gant but stalled the drive a play later when he threw an errant pass into the arms of Riders DB Macho Harris.

Nichols Exits Early


Just under seven months removed from a serious ankle injury, Matt Nichols was helped off the field in the first quarter. He finished 5 of 7 for 88 yards and 2 interceptions...Read More.

The Riders were poised to expand on their lead but the Esks defence matched that of the Riders when they forced WR Taj Smith to fumble and former Tiger-Cat DB Marcel Young scooped it up and returned it down the sideline for an Edmonton touchdown.

After getting a stop, the Esks went back to work on offence but Nichols escaped the pocket only to throw his second INT into the hands of DB Carlos Thomas.  The Riders free agent acquisition from Hamilton took 30 yards down the sideline for the pick-six to take a 10-7 lead.

Making matters worse for Edmonton was Nichols who went down with an injury as he was blocked on the play.  Just under seven months removed from a serious ankle injury, Nichols was helped off the field and later left the game under the assistance of crutches.

Nichols finished 5 of 7 for 88 yards and 2 interceptions in just under a quarter of work.

Entering earlier than expected, Mike Reilly took the helm with 46 seconds left in the first quarter but the Riders secondary also got after the former Lion, picking off a pass on his second possession.

Reilly would find his traction with just under five minutes remaining in the first half when he found rookie speedster Isaiah Sweeney down the sidelines for a 77-yard catch-and-run for a major and a 14-11 lead.

Reilly took the Esks to the locker room at halftime with the lead and finished 4 of 9 passing for 102 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

On the other sideline, Darian Durant played the entire second quarter behind centre for Saskatchewan and although he didn’t put any points on the board, he completed 8 of 11 passes for 117 yards and no interceptions.

Both teams began the second half with new pivots at the helm – Levi Brown and Jacory Harris for the Riders and Esks respectively.  Brown left with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter to make way for Tino Sunseri.

The Pittsburgh product made his presence felt early, finding WR Greg Carr over the middle for a 50-yard gain on his first pass attempt.  It helped set up a 27-yard Brody McKnight field goal to tie the game at 14.

The Esks would steal momentum back however, as rookie LB Ronnie Curran pounced on a ball fumbled by Phillip Livas on a punt return to set his team up on the Saskatchewan 7 yard line.

They wouldn’t wait to capitalize as Harris bounced outside on a quarterback draw a play later and leaped across the goal line for the score and a 21-14 lead to close out the third quarter.  Harris left with Jonathan Crompton taking over in the fourth.

After McKnight added a 33-yard field goal, Sunseri marched his team down the field and tossed a game-tying touchdown to DeDe Dorsey with just under a minute left.  The Newman pick-six came only three plays later to win the game.

Fan Comments
chapeau
all I can add is that a win feels good, especially as the defence was the responsible party, really, and sunseri, while also a cool name to say, was fun, and i wouldn't be surprised to see willy supplanted, maybe not by him, but b/c of him a bit.
June 16, 2013 - 10:41pm
 
saskfan56
I liked Carr, if he can learn to use his height advantage more, he could be trouble for DB's. We need a power running back again like Szarka, cause you can't pass your way to the endzone from the one yard line all the time. Too early to dump on Milo just yet.
June 16, 2013 - 6:39pm
 
Jayzilla306
Some ups and downs for sure. Milo needs to get his act together.
June 15, 2013 - 1:40pm
 
tabbiefanmcb
Former Ticats making the kind of plays that they could never seem to pull off last season(at least not often!) which makes one wonder even more about last season's D coaching. Good luck with Creehan, Bombers! My guess is that Reilly nabs the #1 job, especially if Nicholls keeps going down with injury!
June 15, 2013 - 12:37pm
 
als rule
all 4 exhibition games appeared to be in the same zone 1 foot forward 2 steps back!!
June 15, 2013 - 8:32am
tare13
once again i'm not sure what you mean or who you are talking about......
June 16, 2013 - 8:30pm
 
GC Bound
Really liked what I saw in ALL the Rookie Quarter Backs
June 15, 2013 - 12:34am
 
Duressler47
That was an exciting game. Go job Riders, you earned that win!
June 15, 2013 - 12:31am
 
GC Bound
Win #1
Well typical Pre-Season Stuff> Defensive Backs were good>>>>Receivers were fair and the Running Game "SUCKED".
ALl in all though quite entertaining Game!!!
Go Riders GO
June 15, 2013 - 12:15am