REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders jumped out to a massive first half lead and never looked back, downing the BC Lions 35-14 on a rainy Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.
With the win, the Roughriders secured themselves a home playoff game, and prevented the Calgary Stampeders from clinching top spot in the West Division.
Weston Dressler was his old reliable self, hauling in three passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, while Kory Sheets carried the ball 23 times for 144 yards and a score of his own, leading the charge offensively for the Green and White.
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» Video: Dressler's 20-Yard Major
» Video: Brown Scoops and Scores
» Video: Gore Busts in for 7-Yard TD
» Video: DeMarco Fnds Moore for TD
» Preview: Lions visit Roughriders
Sheets, who missed almost 3 games with a knee injury, has been the main catalyst for the Riders attack since getting back into the lineup, having rushed for 330 yards and five touchdowns in his last three outings. Tonight, the Purdue product eclipsed the 1,500-yard mark on the season.
But things didn’t start so smoothly for Sheets and the Riders offence, as the tailback saw the ball punched from his grasp by Adam Bighill on the Riders’ second play from scrimmage, handing possession over to the Lions.
After the Lions weren’t able to take advantage of Sheets’ turnover, the Riders went back to work offensively, looking put their early mistake behind them.
However, on the very first play of the drive, Geroy Simon fumbled after absorbing a hit from Bighill, handing possession right back to the Lions.
This time, the Lions were able to capitalize off of Saskatchewan’s mistake.
Taking over from the Riders’ 25 yard line, the Thomas DeMarco needed just three plays to find Nick Moore for what was an 11-yard touchdown, giving the Lions an early 7-0 lead.
But the turnover parade wasn’t done yet.
Following a 30-yard field goal by Chris Milo to get the Riders on the board, the entire Saskatchewan offence came alive, scoring 28 consecutive points to send the Mosaic crowd into an absolute frenzy.
First, DeMarco saw the slick ball slip out of his hand mid-throw, only to see it picked up and ran back for a 46-yard touchdown by Weldon Brown.
Then Stefan Logan, who was signed earlier this week to give BC’s run game some jump, fumbled as well, which lead to a 14-yard field goal by Milo.
On BC’s next possession, DeMarco saw his pass intended for Shawn Gore picked off by Carlos Thomas, who proceeded to return it 25 yards to the Lions’ 20-yard line.
That turnover also proved to be a costly one for BC, as it translated into a Dressler major to give the Riders a 20-7 lead.
Shortly thereafter, the Lions found themselves in even more turnover trouble, as Courtney Taylor coughed up possession as well.
Again, the Roughriders offence took advantage of the gift, as Durant went on to orchestrate an impressive an eight-play, 56-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown by Sheets, increasing Saskatchewan’s lead to 20.
The Riders held a 31-7 lead after 30 minutes of action.
Once the third quarter got underway, the turnovers continued to plague the Mosaic Stadium field.
While the Lions had their fair of trouble hanging onto the ball in the first half, it was the Riders who committed the first turnover of the second, as Durant saw his pass intercepted by veteran Lin-J Shell.
Taking over from Saskatchewan’s 41 yard line, DeMarco went onto engineer an eight-play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 7-yard touchdown strike to Shawn Gore.
The touchdown was Gore’s eighth of the season.
But the Lions weren't able to generate any momentum following Gore's score. After the Riders would add a point thanks to a 70-yard punt single by Ricky Schmitt, the Lions committed two more turnovers, as DeMarco tossed his third and fourth interceptions of the game, with Tristan Jackson and Dwight Anderson getting in on the action.
Fortunately for the Lions, the only points the Lions were able to put on the board late in the fourth was a 38-yard field goal by Milo.
Next week, the Roughriders head to Calgary for what will be a crucial matchup that will have major implications on the fate of the West Division, while the Lions return home to face the Edmonton Eskimos.