Riders clinch home playoff game with 35-14 win over Lions

Defence creates 8 turnovers
Reported by Joel Gasson
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have clinched a home playoff game thanks to a 35-14 win over the B.C. Lions.

Saturday evening's game could be summarized in one word: turnover. The game was filled with them, especially turnovers by the Lions as the defence intercepted Lions quarterback Thomas DeMarco four times, they recovered three fumbles and even caused a turnover on downs late in the game, so eight turnovers in all by the guys the green.

"Lights out performance by those guys," said Darian Durant. "Those guys are fearless."

The Riders were guilty of a few turnovers themselves including the first of the game when Kory Sheets fumbled the football after busting a 41-yard run deep into Lions territory. That turnover would result in the Lions take their first and only lead of the game when DeMarco would find Nick Moore for an 11 yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.

With just under six minutes left in the opening quarter the Riders would start a drive which would end with a field goal by Chris Milo.

That's when the Lions turnover parade began. On the next Lions possession Stefan Logan fumbled the football and linebacker Weldon Brown scooped up the ball and took it to the house for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead.

"It looked like Christmas when I saw that ball," said Brown. "I'm just glad I had a chance to go score."

The Lions on their next possession would fumble again; this time recovered by Ricky Foley and that turnover would add three more points on the board for the Riders. The Lions would get the ball back again, and again they fumbled it this time Craig Butler had the recovery. This time it would add seven more points on the board for the Riders as Kory Sheets would finish off the drive with a one yard touchdown run and a 27-7 lead.

After that the Lions would manage to go a drive without turning over the football but it didn't really go anywhere. Following that the Riders would pin the Lions at their 15. On the next play, Craig Butler would intercept a DeMarco pass. Chris Milo would miss a field goal attempt and settle for the single and a 28-7 Riders lead.

The Riders would add three more before the half was out to give them a 31-7 lead at half-time.

The second half wouldn't start as the Riders might have liked as Durant would be picked off a few minutes in. That would eventually come back at them as the Lions would score a touchdown on that drive cutting the lead to 31-14.

"I think we just to play ball control and run the clock and be smart that way," said receiver Geroy Simon.

The offence certainly did that the rest of the ways the Riders didn't really do much offensively for the rest of the game, but the defence kept doing it's thing into the fourth quarter as Tristan Jackson and Dwight Anderson both added interceptions as well.

With a minute and a half to go, Chris Milo would add three more points to give the Riders a 35-14 lead and the clock would eventually run out from there, officially clinching them a home playoff game.

"It's one of the goals we had set on the board, and it's another one we've checked off," said head coach Corey Chamblin.

Durant finished the night 13-for-29 with 187 yards, one touchdown and one interception. That one touchdown pass however did give him 30 on the season making Durant only the third Riders quarterback to ever throw that many in a season. Durant needs six more to break Kent Austin's single season record of 35.

Weston Dressler was the team's top receiver with 107 yards and a touchdown. Kory Sheets was back in top form rushing for 148 yards and a touchdown. Sheets has now rushed for over 1,500 yards on the season.

Defensively Carlos Thomas had four tackles, and Mike McCullough forced two fumbles.

The Riders are now off until Tuesday. They're back in action next Saturday against the Stampeders in Calgary, they need a win there in order to keep hopes of hosting the west final alive.

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