June 16, 2024

Riders claw out comeback win in Ticats home opener

Bailey McLean/CFL.ca

HAMILTON — The Saskatchewan Roughriders rallied and ultimately roared against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a second comeback win in as many weeks.

The Green and White won the Ticats home opener 33-30 on the final play with a 43-yard field goal from Brett Lauther. Saskatchewan improves to 2-0, while Hamilton falls to 0-2 to start the 2024 season.

The Week 2 closer proved to be a game of runs, especially leading into and out of halftime: Hamilton scored 17 unanswered points in the second quarter before Saskatchewan responded with 10 unanswered in the third.

Trevor Harris completed 32 of 45 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns, both to Kian Schaffer-Baker who finished the night with seven receptions for 109 yards.

Bo Levi Mitchell completed touchdown passes to Steven Dunbar Jr., Kiondré Smith and Shemar Bridges, but couldn’t help the Tabbies close a first win of the season.

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Saskatchewan’s only points of the first half came from a first-quarter touchdown by Kian Schaffer-Baker, his first of 2024. While quarterback Shea Patterson rushed for the team’s second major in the second quarter.

The Riders were without standout wide receiver Shawn Bane Jr., who recorded three touchdowns in the Riders Week 1 win over the Edmonton Elks, for the bulk of the game.

Bane Jr. caught all four of his targets for 50 yards, his longest being 20 yards, before an injury that took him out of the game in the first half.

Hamilton scored first as Mitchell led the Ticats offence down the field for a 11-play opening drive that ended in a 13-yard field goal for Marc Liegghio.

The Roughriders responded later in the first quarter when Harris found Schaffer-Baker for a 17-yard pass, which the wide receiver then ran in for a 24-yard touchdown.

Saskatchewan’s 7-3 lead lasted until the first play of the second quarter when Mitchell threw a deep pass to Dunbar Jr. for a 60-yard touchdown.


Up 10-7, the Tabbies extended the lead fast and furiously before halftime. With just over 5:30 minutes left in the second quarter, Mitchell threw deep down the middle to Smith, who caught it at the Saskatchewan 3-yard line, for a 38-yard touchdown.

Liegghio added a 40-yard field goal with less than a 1:30 to halftime to put Hamilton up 20-3.

Saskatchewan, which won the coin toss, deferred to receive the ball to start the second half. On the first drive of the third period, Lauther made a 49-yard field goal, his first attempt of the game, to narrow the deficit 20-10.

Harris then led a six-play scoring drive featuring two completions for 41 yards to Jerreth Sterns, who stepped up in the absence of Bane Jr. Patterson finished it off with a one-yard rush for the Riders second touchdown of the night, getting the visitors within three points.

After a call on a forced fumble recovered by Saskatchewan was overturned, Hamilton fired back with a flea flicker resulting in a 58-yard completion to Smith. Mitchell then found Bridges for a 16-yard touchdown pass, the third major of the night for the Ticats, extending the lead 27-17.


The fourth quarter brought the game back into focus for the Green and White, starting with a 46-yard field goal from Lauther.

Liegghio returned the favour from 41 yards, before another Lauther field goal from 34 yards. With less than 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Harris connected with Schaffer-Baker for an 11-yard touchdown to tie the game 30-30.

Then, the only turnover of the night happened with 33 seconds left in the game: a pass intended from Mitchell to Tim White deflected off the receiver and was caught by Rider linebacker C. J. Avery.

That set up Saskatchewan for a final play 43-yard field goal from Lauther for the win, which the vetern kicker put between the uprights.

The Ticats and Riders meet again next Sunday at 7 pm ET for Saskatchewan’s home opener at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

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