Roughriders celebrate home opener with dominant win over Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Corey Mace earned his first home win as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders as his side remained undefeated, winning 36-20 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday night at Mosaic Stadium.

Trevor Harris threw for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and AJ Ouellette had a breakout game for the Riders recording 98 rushing yards on 20 carries as well as 47 receiving yards on four receptions.

Jameer Thurman tallied both a pick-six and a forced fumble defensively for the Riders in the win.

Bo Levi Mitchell recorded 295 passing yards, a touchdown and three interceptions for Hamilton in the loss, as Shemar Bridges led the receiving corps with 113 yards and a touchdown.

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Meeting just last week in a 33-30 contest where the Riders came from behind and scored 16 fourth quarter points to secure the win, this week’s matchup was a different story for Saskatchewan as they got out to a stronger start.

Momentum was on their side early as the Riders forced a fumble that Christian Albright recovered, setting up an offensive drive starting on the Hamilton 20-yard line.

Harris threw a 14-yard pass to Sam Emilus, who tallied his first touchdown this season with the catch, as Saskatchewan opened the scoring just 1:05 into game.

Two drives later the Riders would find themselves in the end zone once again, as Harris found rookie Ajou Ajou for 40 yards as he recorded his first CFL touchdown to put Saskatchewan up 14-0.

With the clock expiring at the end of the first quarter, Brett Lauther successfully kicked a field goal attempt from 34 yards out to extend the lead for the Riders.

Trailing by 18, the Ticats refused to be shut out in the first half, and Mitchell showed off his pinpoint accuracy finding Bridges to get Hamilton on the board with two minutes to play.

The Riders defence did their part to keep the Ticats at bay to open the second half, as Charbel Dabire sacked Mitchell and forced a  fumble while Hamilton was on the six-yard line, recovered by Thurman to give the Riders back possession.

Thurman’s big plays on the night didn’t stop there, as the former Ticat grabbed a pick-six off Mitchell running the ball 28 yards for a score with just over a minute to play in the third quarter.

Hamilton’s offence struggled to find any offence late in the third quarter as Mitchell threw another interception, this time picked off by Marcus Sayles and DaMarcus Fields.

Saskatchewan used up nearly five minutes of clock as they opened the fourth quarter adding three more points to their tally, as Lauther put a 16-yard kick attempt through the uprights with ease after the wind had given him difficulties earlier in the game.

Capitalizing on a flag that prevented a turnover on downs, Hamilton used the fresh downs wisely as Ante Milanovic-Litre punched a one-yard touchdown into the end zone with 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter.

Already a two-score game, the Riders added another touchdown with just under three minutes on the clock. The drive headlined by Ouellette pushing on the ground on multiple downs, resulting in a one-yard touchdown by Shea Patterson.

Despite the deficit the Ticats kept pushing, as Mitchell connected with Kiondré Smith for a 28-yard touchdown with two minutes to play, though the two-point conversion was unsuccessful.

Hamilton recovered the onside kick to get the ball back late in the fourth quarter, but Rolan Milligan Jr. picked off Mitchell which all but sealed the game for the Riders.

The Riders will get a bye during Week 4 action, while the Ticats remain on the road to face off against the Ottawa REDBLACKS at TD Place Stadium on June 30 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

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