Goal line stand gives Riders 14-9 win over Eskimos

Green and White now have 10 wins on the season
Reported by Joel Gasson
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It's almost become habit for the Roughriders, but Saskatchewan won another ugly game 14-9 over the Edmonton Eskimos at Mosaic Stadium Saturday.

The good news for Rider Nation is they've made a habit out of coming out on the winning side of things during these less-than-stellar games.

"Just a hard fought win by us. Wasn't pretty but at the end of the day a win is a win," said Darian Durant.

Another habit that the Riders fell into again on Saturday afternoon was getting off to a slow start on offence. After forcing the Eskimos to a two-and-out to start the game the Riders managed four plays on offence before they also had their first drive come to an end. This despite the fact the team before the game was saying they wanted to get scoring against the Eskimos early.

That certainly didn't happen, as Edmonton actually scored the only points of the first quarter when Grant Shaw kicked a 47-yard field goal on the Eskimos next possession.

The Riders offence would then find their legs in the second quarter, finishing off a drive that began late in the first quarter with a touchdown to Weston Dressler. The major score was made possible thanks to Damaso Munoz jumping offside on second down, giving Durant another chance at the end zone he did not waste.

After the defence once again did their job the Riders would again put together a good-looking drive with good field position after an illegal punt gave the Green and White a start at the Eskimos' 44-yard line. It would end with a five-yard run by Kory Sheets to the end zone and a 14-3 lead. That's where the score would stay until the half.

Neither team was able to muster much in the third quarter in terms of offence, as Edmonton would only manage a rouge and a field goal during the third quarter. The Riders would gift Edmonton two more points when a snap sailed over the head of punter Ricky Schmitt, who kicked it out of the end zone for a safety making it 14-9 heading into the fourth.

The final frame would begin with the Riders on offence with the wind at their back. It appeared their poise had returned as well: a few plays and a few penalties later they found themselves at the Eskimos six-yard line. On a third-and-one Drew Willy would be stuffed by the Eskimos' defensive front.

"Those plays are just really disheartening," said offensive lineman Xavier Fulton. "They just wanted it more on that play and stopped us."

The defence would follow up the turnover on downs with a two-and-out, giving the offence a chance to close out the game with just under four minutes to go. Instead the offence went two-and-out.

There was a scary moment in the third when, fielding a punt, the Eskimos Almondo Sewell had to be carted off the field on a stretcher with a neck injury. Sewell would be taken to hospital as well.

"It's always tough to lose a brother like that," said receiver Fred Stamps. "I just pray and hope that everything is okay with him."

With the game back in the defence's hands the Eskimos would march down to the goal line for a third down play. They would try to run a little hurry-up and may have possibly scored to take the lead but head coach Corey Chamblin called time-out in the nick of time.

"It was a touchdown and, at the end of the day, it changed the game," he said. "It gave us a chance to get settled, get the call in, settle our emotions and get lined up."

That time out ended up being the final turning point of the game as the Riders defensive front stuffed the Eskimos on the next play. It was reviewed but it was impossible to see the football.

"(Reilly) couldn't get up in through gap," said linebacker Brian Peters. "I think we had (Tearrius George) there to stick him and stop him."

From there the offence would run out the clock, securing the Rider win. The loss also officially eliminated the Eskimos from playoff contention.

Durant finished the game with only 170 yards passing and the one touchdown. Sheets would crack the century mark rushing for 106 yards while Chris Getzlaf was the top receiver with 51 yards. Dressler was right behind him with 49.

On defence Tearrius George had two sacks and Craig Butler had six tackles.

The Riders will likely return to practice on Tuesday. They'll host the B.C. Lions Saturday at Mosaic Stadium.

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