REGINA — It was a tale of two games, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders avenged their lopsided Week 7 loss to the BC Lions by handing them a 41-8 defeat at home on Sunday night.
Defense led the way all game long for the Riders, with defensive back Ed Gainey racking up an unbelievable four interceptions and a fumble return, and Saskatchewan’s defensive front registering four sacks on the night.
Riders quarterback Kevin Glenn had a solid performance with 320 yards and three touchdown passes, securing the 97th win of his CFL career. The victory snapped the Lions’ seven game winning streak against the Riders.
The Riders’ second drive of the game started with momentum after a 20-yard punt return from Christion Jones. Saskatchewan then entered Lions territory for the first time when quarterback Kevin Glenn found receiver Bakari Grant for the game’s opening first down. The drive led to a single point for the Riders after Tyler Crapigna’s missed field goal attempt was fielded in the end zone by BC’s Chris Rainey.
Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings showed some rust in the opening quarter when he was picked off by Saskatchewan’s Ed Gainey on a missed throw downfield. Jennings attempted to find receiver Shaq Johnson on the play.
The Riders’ offence began to move the ball with success after forcing the game’s first turnover, as running back Greg Morris broke free for a 21-yard run to start the drive. Saskatchewan added another first down on the following play when running back Cameron Marshall took a short pass and turned it upfield for 23 yards.
Glenn capped off the drive with a beautifully placed over-the-shoulder pass to Bakari Grant for the 35-yard touchdown, beating Lions defensive back Anthony Thompson to put the Riders up 8-0. Glenn threw for 233 yards in the first half alone.
Things did not get much easier for the Lions after surrendering the score. Gainey made another spectacular play for the Riders’ defense, going up high to grab his second interception of the half before taking it 49 yards for the defensive touchdown. The play was Gainey’s first interception returned for a touchdown in his career, and it put the Riders up 15-0 near the end of the first quarter.
The Riders kept on rolling after the defensive score. Glenn came out firing on the team’s next offensive series, connecting with receiver Naaman Roosevelt for 39 yards. Glenn found receiver Duron Carter on the next play to move the chains again before the end of the first quarter.
Glenn threw another big strike to Roosevelt as the second quarter kicked off, and the speedy receiver took it 23 yards to the edge of the BC goal line. Cameron Marshall rushed it in for the short 1-yard touchdown run two plays later, putting the Riders up 22-0.
Momentum appeared to swing in BC’s favour after an errant Glenn pass was intercepted by Lions defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy. Jennings then completed his biggest throws of the first half, finding receivers Shaq Johnson and Nick Moore for 21 yards each.
But Jennings and company were stifled again when another throw was picked off by Gainey, who registered his third interception of the half. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay came into the game after the interception, relieving Jennings under center until halftime.
The Riders continued to move the chains near the end of the first half, with a drive that began with an explosive 39-yard punt return from Christion Jones. Cameron Marshall scored his second touchdown of the game on the next play, this time taking the ball into the end zone with a 29-yard catch out of the backfield to help put his team up 29-0.
Jennings returned as starting quarterback for BC after halftime, and the Lions appeared to be in the midst of a big drive after running back Jeremiah Johnson found daylight on a brilliant 50-yard gallop.
But things took an unfortunate turn when Jennings was picked off for the fourth time in the game, as Riders linebacker Derrick Moncrief reeled in a pass intended for receiver Chris Williams. The interception was the first of Moncrief’s CFL career.
The Riders’ passing game picked up right where they left off in the second half. Glenn led another impressive drive that included a 39-yard pass to fullback Spencer Moore, and a 7-yard scoring strike to Duron Carter near the right side of the end zone. Carter’s grab helped increase the Riders’ lead to 36 points.
The Lions started to get things going on offense in the fourth quarter, as Jennings began to connect with his receivers on big throws. Jennings found receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux twice on the drive, including a 20-yard pass that helped set up BC’s biggest play of the night.
It was then that dynamic receiver Chris Williams did what he does best, scorching the Riders’ secondary for a huge 56-yard touchdown catch that helped narrow the lead at 36-8.
The Riders would later add a safety and a field goal near the end of the fourth quarter, however, putting them up 41-8.
In a fitting end to the game, Ed Gainey made another standout play on defense by notching his fourth interception on the night. Gainey’s four interceptions stand as a new Riders record.
The Lions will look to bounce back in Week 9 when they host the Calgary Stampeders, while the Roughriders will have a week off before heading to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos.