Saskatchewan Roughriders get by Montreal Alouettes in weather-shortened game

MONTREAL — A pair of defensive touchdowns led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 17-10 road win against the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night in a weather-shortened game. The Riders improved their record to 5-3 and are now just one game behind the division-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers after winning four straight.

The game was called early during the third quarter in accordance with the league’s weather protocol after lightning in the area delayed the game for over an hour.

The year of the return continued on Montreal’s opening drive of the game when Shakeir Ryan returned a punt 101 yards for a touchdown. The Riders quickly responded with a defensive touchdown on a scoop and score play from defensive end Earl Okine.

Both teams traded field goals in the second quarter to tie the game at 10 apiece, but Charleston Hughes reclaimed the lead for Saskatchewan by adding a defensive touchdown of his own on another fumble recovery.

Cody Fajardo completed 15 of 21 passes for 166 yards in the win, also leading his team with 48 rushing yards on six carries.

Antonio Pipkin got the start at quarterback for Montreal with starter Vernon Adams Jr. injured, but backup quarterback Matthew Shiltz replaced Pipkin in the second quarter.

The Als’ defence forced a quick two-and-out to start the game, and Ryan used his game-breaking speed on the ensuing punt to put Montreal on the board. Ryan used vision and quick acceleration to get up the middle of the field in a hurry, leaving the Riders in his wake as he galloped into the end zone. Boris Bede’s extra point attempt went wide to the right, leaving the Als with an early six-point lead.

Saskatchewan responded just minutes later with a huge play on defence. Linebacker Derrick Moncrief came off the edge and caught Pipkin off guard with a hit that knocked the ball loose, and Okine scooped it up and took it 55 yards for the defensive touchdown. Gabriel Ferraro kicked the convert to put the Riders up 7-6.

Montreal evened things up just before the end of the first quarter when a 37-yard field goal attempt from Bede traveled wide to the right and out of bounds, resulting in a single point for the Als.

Saskatchewan reclaimed the lead in the second quarter on a 28-yard field goal from Ferraro. Shiltz came in to replace Pipkin under centre for Montreal, and he helped lead the Als to a successful 43-yard field goal from Bede that tied the game at 10 apiece.

An exciting 45-yard punt return from Greg Reid gave the Als’ offence promising field position, but Saskatchewan’s ferocious defensive front struck once again to impact the game with a takeaway.

Linebacker Cameron Judge came off the edge with a quick pass rush and dislodged the ball from Shiltz, and Hughes picked it up and took it to the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown. Ferraro missed the extra point kick, leaving the Riders with a 16-10 lead heading into half-time.

The Riders added a point to their lead in the third quarter after a 62-yard punt from Jon Ryan led to the Als conceding a single, giving Saskatchewan the 17-10 win after a lengthy weather delay.

The Montreal Alouettes will travel to face the Calgary Stampeders on the road next Saturday in Week 10 action, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders will get a week off before hosting the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Saturday, August 24.

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