Riders win 24-21 over Montreal, move to 6-1

Last second field goal seals victory
Reported by Joel Gasson
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On Friday Darian Durant told reporters he didn't want a classic, well he didn't get one.

Despite a rather sloppy effort at times, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have moved to 6-1 on the season after a 24-21 win over the Montreal Alouettes at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Now, when Durant made those comments he meant that he wanted to see his team take the lead early and never let up. Instead he got what he didn't get out of most classics, a close game. Except this was no classic, and Durant admits he was part of the problem.

"F," said Durant when asked what grade he would give himself. "Three fumbles, just some dumb decisions out there."

Not surprisingly the game got off to a slow start as it wasn't until about five minutes in or so that the Alouettes would open the scoring with a field goal. The Riders would then respond with their best offensive drive of the game until after the final three minute warning of the game with a drive that ended in a Weston Dressler touchdown.

The Alouettes would miss a field goal, and add another before the half was out, making it 8-7 Riders as the teams headed to the locker room.

The second quarter was notable for a couple of key injuries, first Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo would leave the game with a concussion, then the hearts of Rider Nation would sink when receiver Rob Bagg went down holding his knee, and looked visibly upset on the field. Bagg's knee history is well known, but head coach Corey Chamblin didn't have much of an update after the game.

"It's hard to read, we just have to see how the doctors assess it," said Chamblin. "Hope it's better than we all think it may be."

The good news is Bagg was walking around without help after, but we have seen that before.

All year the Riders have dominated the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 54-5...that trend didn't continue on Saturday, as the Alouettes would add a field goal, as did the Riders, mix in some rouges and the score would be tied at 11 after 45 minutes of play.

History was made in that quarter as receiver Geroy Simon became only the third player ever to catch 1000 passes for his career, though it was a second down play that came up short. Simon joked after words it was the first time he'd received a standing ovation for a play that came up short.

"Probably," said Simon with a smile. "I didn't really see it, I was frustrated."

Again, both teams would exchange field goals running the score to 14 all, until the three minute warning, and that's when things got interesting.

Even though the Alouettes would turn the ball over twice around that time, the Riders offense would fail to take advantage. It got even worse after Dwight Anderson's first interception as a Rider, as Durant would fumble the football and Jerald Brown would recover and score giving Montreal a 21-14 lead.

That's when the Riders showed character, instead of folding like a tent, they pulled themselves together and fought back.

"It's no doubt, but at the same time we have to pull together," said safety Tyron Brackenridge when asked what was said on the sideline after the fumble.

On the next drive Durant would atone for his mistake, hitting receiver Taj Smith for a 65-yard touchdown pass, tying the game again at 21.

The defense then forced a two and out, which was followed up by a 38-yard punt return by Dressler, who had taken over the duties from Jock Sanders who fumbled twice.

After a first down, the stage was set for kicker Chris Milo, who was still 100 per cent on the season. With no time on the clock Milo would hit the 36-yard field goal for the win.

Durant finished the night 18 for 32, for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions again. Kory Sheets was kept short of 100 yards this season, rushing for 74. Sheets did still set the record for rushing yards through the season's first seven games with over 900. Chris Getzlaf was the team's top receiver in terms of yards with 95.

Defensively the Riders forced two fumbles, and intercepted Alouettes quarterback Josh Neiswander twice.

The game was played before a sold-out crowd at Mosaic Stadium of 40,637, the third largest ever for a regular season game in Riders history.

The Riders now head back on the road, as they're in Edmonton next week to face the Eskimos.

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