Calgary Stampeders edge Saskatchewan Roughriders to grab top spot in West

CALGARY — Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 298 yards and two touchdown passes to help lift the Calgary Stampeders over the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a 30-28 home win on Friday night. The Stamps improved their record to 10-5 while jumping past the Riders for first in the West.

An early field goal and a fumble recovery touchdown on a kickoff gave Calgary an early lead, but the Riders responded on defence later in the first quarter with a pick-six from Nick Marshall.

Saskatchewan took the lead in the second quarter after Cody Fajardo led an 84-yard touchdown drive, but the Stamps quickly regained the lead with a touchdown drive of their own that saw Mitchell find Hergy Mayala in the end zone. Fajardo led the Riders to a field goal just before half-time, cutting Calgary’s lead down to just two points.

The Stamps extended their lead in the third quarter with Mitchell’s second touchdown pass to Mayala, but Saskatchewan made it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter with a 42-yard field goal from Brett Lauther.

The Riders made it a two-point game with under three minutes to play after Fajardo threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to William Powell, but Mayala helped seal the victory with a late first down gain for Calgary.

The Riders got on the board first when a booming 55-yard punt from Jon Ryan went out of the end zone for a single point, but the Stamps responded on the following drive with a 47-yard field goal from Rene Paredes. Mitchell helped set up the field goal by moving the chains with three straight completions to three different receivers.

Calgary’s ensuing kickoff was fumbled on the return by Marcus Thigpen, and Jamari Gilbert recovered the ball for Calgary before returning the fumble 28 yards for a touchdown. Paredes added the extra point to give the Stamps an early nine-point lead.

But Saskatchewan stepped up on defence to cut into the lead later in the quarter, as Marshall quickly shut down a Stamps drive by picking off Mitchell and returning it all the way to the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown. Lauther added the extra point to make it a 10-8 game.

Paredes made a 45-yard field goal to extend Calgary’s lead to five points entering the second quarter.

After both defences forced punts, Fajardo proceeded to lead the Riders on their best drive of the opening half. The 27-year-old quarterback engineered a 15-play, 84-yard scoring drive that consumed nine minutes off the clock. Fajardo completed six passes on the drive to help set up a three-yard rushing touchdown from Powell that gave Saskatchewan the lead.

But the Stamps swung back and regained the lead with a scoring drive of their own. Mitchell connected with receiver Eric Rogers for a 17-yard gain before following it up two plays later with an eight-yard touchdown strike to Mayala. Paredes’ extra point gave Calgary a 20-15 lead with under three minutes to go in the half.

Royce Metchie notched an interception for Calgary to put an end to the Riders’ next drive, but Saskatchewan forced a punt and rallied to add a 12-yard field goal from Lauther to finish the half.

Calgary extended its lead in the third quarter with another touchdown connection between Mitchell and Mayala. Mayala hauled in the 18-yard score after Ante Milanovic-Litre brought the ball into scoring range with 25 rushing yards on a pair of carries. Paredes added the extra point to put Calgary up 27-18.

Saskatchewan pulled within a touchdown in the fourth quarter after Lauther made a 42-yard field goal, but Calgary extended the lead once again by matching the Riders with a 42-yard field goal from Paredes.

Fajardo brought the Riders closer with a 34-yard touchdown strike to Powell, but a clutch first down gain from Mayala with just over a minute left sealed the victory for the Stamps.

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