July 12, 2008

Riders take nail biter in Hamilton


HAMILTON – Wes Cates scored a one-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left as the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-28 at Ivor Wynne Stadium Saturday.

Weston Dressler ran 68 yards for what looked like a sure touchdown, but was run down by Hamilton defender Jykine Bradley who knocked the ball out of his hands at the one-yard line. The Ticats wanted possession of the ball as the last team to touch it, but the Roughriders were given the ball at the one.

Hamilton kicker Nick Setta booted a 41-yard field goal to give the Ticats a 28-27 lead with less than four minutes left in the game. The Ticat defence stopped the Roughriders on the ensuing possession, but when the Hamilton offence couldn’t keep the ball, Saskatchewan got one more chance, and got the ball on their own 28 yard line with 1:21 left on the clock for pivot Darian Durant to engineer the winning drive.

Saskatchewan (3-0) had led for most of the game before Setta’s kick. Durant, in his first CFL start replacing an injured Marcus Crandell, threw two touchdown passes and one interception for the win, their ninth straight over the Ticats (1-2) dating back to 2003.

Cates scored two touchdowns while Nick Hughes and Weston Dressler eached scored for Saskatchewan.

Lumsden scored twice for Hamilton and quarterback Casey Printers added one.

Setta was 2-for-3, missing an early attempt from 37 yards. But his 48-yarder with 8:04 left in the game pulled the Ticats to 27-25 and his 41-yarder gave them the lead with 3:55 left.

Roughrider kicker Luca Congi was 2-for-2 with field goals from 47 and 14 yards.

Hamilton seemed to be gaining momentum late in the second quarter, down 10-8 but moving the ball well until Lumsden fumbled as he tried to get the short yardage for a first down at the Saskatchewan 21-yard line. The turnover proved costly as Durant drove his team downfield (aided by two major Hamilton fouls), ending with a three-yard touchdown run by Cates. The Roughriders went into the locker room up 17-8.

Hamilton then started the third with a turnover, when Printers gave up an interception to Lance Frazier on the Roughrider 45-yard line to end a promising drive. But Hamilton defensive back Chris Thompson got the ball back on the very next play, picking off Durant at the Ticat 35-yard line and avoiding potential disaster for the home team.

Given a second life, the Ticat offence made no mistakes on the ensuing drive to the endzone, finishing with an eight-yard TD run by Lumsden and pulling to 17-15.

The Roughriders answered with a scoring drive that ended with a 30-yard pass-and-catch from Durant to Dressler to go up 24-15.

Lumsden busted through the pack at the end of the third, romping 43 yards to the Saskatchewan one-yard line as time expired. Printers kept the ball for the one-yard score to open the fourth and pull the Ticats to 24-22.

Congi’s 14-yarder made it 27-22 with 11:05 left in the game after the Ticat defence twice denied Saskatchewan a TD from the six-yard line, once by stuffing Cates for no gain and again when wide open receiver Adarius Bowman couldn’t hang on to an endzone pass.

Setta hit from 48 yards to pull within two points midway through the quarter. His 41-yarder gave them the lead.

With Saskatchewan up 3-1 as the first quarter ended, a Durant pass attempt sailed 48 yards, hit the fingertips of the Hamilton defender, but still landed in the hands of Matt Dominguez.

That set up the Roughriders first TD of the game, a three-yard pass to Hughes. The Ticats responded midway through the second quarter with a long drive highlighted by a 17-yard run by Tre Smith and another push to the two-yard line in which he spun out of the grasp of a Roughrider defender. That left the glory to Lumsden, who drove the ball in for the TD.