Saskatchewan Roughriders knock off Calgary Stampeders, stay in hunt for first in West

CALGARY — The Saskatchewan Roughriders improved their record to 11-6 with a 29-24 road win against the division-leading Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night, keeping the team in the mix for first in the West Division.

Quarterback Zach Collaros looked sharp all game long, completing 24 of 35 passes for 352 yards while putting together lengthy scoring drives against the Stamps’ top-ranked defence. The victory was the 20th 300-yard passing performance of Collaros’ career.

Kicker Brett Lauther had another huge game for the Riders, making all five of his field goal attempts. Lauther now leads the league with 50 field goals on the season.

Jordan Williams-Lambert led all receivers on the night with five catches for 113 yards, including 51 total yards after the catch. The 24-year-old receiver consistently gained extra yards and to move the chains for four quarters. Tre Mason and Nick Marshall both added rushing scores for the Riders.

Saskatchewan’s defence managed to contain Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps’ offence early on, holding the quarterback to only 48 yards passing in the opening half. Mitchell finished with 221 passing yards and two touchdowns as the offence came to life in the second half, but an interception in the end zone and a number of long offensive drives from the Riders sealed the victory.

Collaros looked sharp on the opening drive, throwing a quick strike to Shaq Evans for a 26-yard gain that set up a 50-yard field goal from Lauther to open the scoring. But the Riders’ early lead didn’t last long, as Calgary came up with a big play on special teams just over two minutes later.

Romar Morris caught a 46-yard Saskatchewan punt and juked his way through a narrow gap into the open field for a 78-yard touchdown. Rene Paredes kicked the convert to give Calgary an early 7-3 lead.

Saskatchewan came up with a key special teams return of their own on the very next play when Cameron Marshall accelerated up the field for a 58-yard kickoff return. The big return set up Collaros and the Riders’ offence at the Stamps’ 47-yard line, and the veteran quarterback made the most of the solid field position. Collaros dropped back and found Williams-Lambert for two quick gains of 28 and 15 yards to put the Riders in position to score.

Mason finished the drive off with a four-yard touchdown run, smashing his way into the end zone to give the lead back to Saskatchewan. Lauther added the extra point to make it a 10-7 game.

The Stamps battled back to tie it up at 10 apiece with a 25-yard field goal from Peredes before the end of the first quarter. Running back Don Jackson was instrumental in setting up the score, gaining three first downs on the drive with a combination of quickness and vision.

Receiver Chris Matthews helped put the Stamps in field goal range with an impressive 27-yard catch, and Mitchell did the rest with an 18-yard strike to reliable Stamps target Eric Rogers.

The Riders managed to retake the lead early in the second quarter after receiver Kyran Moore exploded for a 42-yard catch-and-run. Moore nearly scored on the play before Stamps defensive back Tre Roberson came through with the touchdown-saving tackle.

Collaros connected with Evans on the next play for a 14-yard gain that set up a 27-yard field goal from Lauther, putting the Green and White back on top 13-10.

Lauther extended the Riders’ lead with a 49-yard field goal near the end of the half. Williams-Lambert showed his ability to move the chains once again on the scoring drive, using his speed and power to gain 19 yards after the catch on a 24-yard pickup.

Lauther added a 31-yard field goal on the final play of the half after first down pickups from Cameron Marshall, Patrick Lavoie and K.D. Cannon put the Riders in range.

The Stamps’ offence came to life after the half, and Mitchell drove his team down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter. Mitchell displayed sharp accuracy to find Markeith Ambles, Juwan Brescacin and Romar Morris for first down gains on the drive.

Ambles then took a short pass and almost scored by gaining 14 yards after the catch and diving out near the pylon. Mitchell capped the impressive drive off with a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Lemar Durant two plays later.

Jackson added a successful two-point conversion with a two-yard rush to the right side, bringing the Stamps within one point in the third quarter at 19-18.

But the Riders answered back right away, as versatile playmaker Nick Marshall flashed game-changing speed on a 24-yard run that brought the team down to the Stamps’ eight yard line. Calgary’s defence held strong to force Lauther’s fifth field goal of the night, a 20-yarder that gave the Riders a 22-18 lead.

The Stamps’ offence appeared to be driving to take the lead on the next drive after a 27-yard catch from Rogers, but Saskatchewan’s defence stepped up with a crucial turnover when safety Mike Edem picked off Mitchell in the back of the end zone while covering Rogers.

Saskatchewan extended their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter after Collaros helped lead an 11 play, 85-yard scoring drive. Collaros completed big passes to Evans and Cannon on the drive, and Marshall finished it off with a one-yard touchdown run. Lauther added the extra point to give Saskatchewan the 29-18 lead.

Ambles brought Calgary closer with 13-yard touchdown catch with just over five minutes to play, but Ambles’ two-point convert attempt ultimately failed due to a clutch tackle from defensive back Ed Gainey, leaving the final score at 29-24.

The Calgary Stampeders will look to bounce back when they travel to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Friday in Week 20 action, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders will look for their 12th win of the season when they host the BC Lions next Saturday.

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