CFL: Saskatchewan Roughriders overpower Blue Bombers at sold-out Mosaic Stadium for 3rd straight win

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders put on an offensive display at new Mosaic Stadium on Sunday, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-24 in the annual Labour Day Classic.

The Riders jumped out to an early lead by scoring 34 points in the first half and never looked back.

Kevin Glenn tossed three touchdown passes and threw for 386 yards in the win while Bakari Grant led all receivers with 139 yards on seven catches.

The Riders were the first on the board, notching a field goal on the opening drive of the game. Tyler Crapigna split the uprights from 50 yards out for his longest successful attempt of the season.

The Blue Bombers responded on their first drive with a Justin Medlock field goal from 39 yards out to tie the game up a three apiece midway through the first quarter.

Saskatchewan would pull ahead before the quarter was over. Kevin Glenn hit Roosevelt in stride and the Riders’ leading receiver ran untouched into the end zone for a 53-yard major.

The Bombers didn’t have the ball back for long.

Sasktchewan QB Vernon Adams Jr scoring a TD Photo: Matt Smith

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Ed Gainey read the play perfectly and picked off Nichols’ pass. The defensive back ran the ball back 30 yards to set up a Riders first and goal. Vernon Adams made the short one-yard charge into the end zone to give Saskatchewan a 17-3 lead.

The Riders weren’t done there.

A Winnipeg two-and-out sent the ball back to Saskatchewan. Nic Demski took the punt return and surged past a sea of Blue and Gold, picking up 63 yards and setting Saskatchewan up for another first and goal. Glenn found Rob Bagg in the end zone to give the Riders their third touchdown of the quarter to hold a commanding 24-3 lead after 15 minutes.

Winnipeg appeared to score its first major of the day when Tim Flanders took a pass from Glenn and shook off a heard of Bombers defenders before crossing the plane. However, a late illegal block penalty took the points off the board.

Just two plays later, Glenn connected with Flanders again. The Bombers’ running back picked up 11 yards after the short pass and charged into the end zone. This time there were no flags, cutting the Riders’ lead to 24-10.

The Bombers added a field goal on their next drive as they continued to claw back into the game.

Saskatchewan managed to put more distance between the two teams before halftime. Bakari Grant caught a short pass from Glenn and sprinted up the field 44 yards after the catch to set up the Riders in the red zone. Glenn spotted Duron Carter alone in the end zone a couple plays later for another touchdown to pull the Riders further ahead.

Photo: Matt Smith

Saskatchewan continued its offensive momentum when Cameron Marshall took a handoff from Glenn and streamed down the sideline for a 48-yard run. Marshall was pushed out of bounds just short of the goal line, but the Bomber defense held strong, sacking Glenn on a second down and keeping the ball out of the end zone. The Riders didn’t come away empty handed, settling for a field goal instead.

The Bombers notched another field goal before the end of the quarter to head into the half down 34-16.

The beginning of the second half was quiet for both teams. Crapigna’s third field goal of the game were the only points scored in the third quarter.

Andrew Harris refused to be silenced by the Riders, making his presence known midway through the fourth quarter. Nichols tossed a short pass to the dual threat running back, who then dashed 10 yards into the end zone to chip into the Riders’ lead.

That was as close as the Bombers would get. Nichols led a steady charge downfield and appeared to be putting Winnipeg in a position to score. The Bombers’ quarterback threw a pass into the end zone, but Nichols’ efforts were spoiled by Gainey, who picked off the pass for his second interception of the day.

Gainey’s sixth pick of the season extended his lead over the rest of the field in 2017.

The Bombers will be out for revenge next week when they travel back to Winnipeg to take on the Riders in the annual Banjo Bowl.

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