Saskatchewan Roughriders prevail over Elks in Saturday night thriller

They say anything can happen in the final three minutes of a half in Canadian Football and Saturday night’s game between the Riders and Elks proved just that.

A hectic first half saw 17 points scored in the final minute of the opening 30 minutes. The momentum swings continued into the second half as the lead swapped back and forth.

In the end, the Riders would hold onto the lead for their fifth win of the season by a score of 34-23 over the Edmonton Elks.

Cody Fajardo tallied two rushing touchdowns and one passing major in the win while Taylor Cornelius rushed for over 80 yards and had two rushing touchdowns for his efforts.

» Box Score: Elks, Riders by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Saskatchewan @ Edmonton
» Watch: Alford ends half with electric kick return score

Saskatchewan opened the scoring with a rouge from a punt in the first possession of the game.

On Edmonton’s opening drive, Taylor Cornelius kept to himself and ran into the end zone for the game’s first major. Sergio Castillo’s point after attempt gave the Elks a 7-1 lead.

Saskatchewan answered back with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown of their own by Cody Fajardo. Brett Lauther’s extra point attempt was good to give the one-point lead back to Saskatchewan.

In the second quarter, Lauther padded Saskatchewan’s lead with a 34-yard field goal and put the visitors ahead 11-7.

A fumble recovery by Charleston Hughes extinguished Edmonton’s responding drive at Saskatchewan’s 8-yard line and gave the Riders the first turnover of the game.

As the final minutes ticked down in the first half, a combined 17 points were scored as the momentum swung from sideline to sideline.

First, Castillo scored a 38-yard field goal, followed by a 46-yard field goal by Lauther to restore the Riders’ lead.

Edmonton took advantage of the time left in the half with a 26-yard rushing touchdown by Cornelius. Castillo made good on the convert to give the home team the lead at 17-14.

Just when it looked like the home team was heading into the half up on the visitors, Saskatchewan responded immediately with 97-yard return for a touchdown by Mario Alford, re-establishing the Riders’ lead as they hit the locker rooms in front at 24-17.

Saskatchewan would extend its lead to five with another rouge in the third quarter.

Castillo kept the Elks within two with a 44-yard field goal.

The Elks capitalized on a turnover caused by an interception by Nafees Lyon who returned for 31-yards and brought the offence back on the field. Castillo converted on his fifth field goal of the night to send the home team ahead by one.

The Riders retook the lead with a 24-yard touchdown to Duke Williams. A failed two-point convert gave them a five-point lead.

Saskatchewan held onto the momentum when Rolan Milligan intercepted Cornelius and stymied the Elks drive as they headed into the final three minutes.

As Lauther lined up for a field goal to extend the lead, the Elks were called for a pyramiding penalty and gave the Riders a fresh set of downs at the Edmonton seven yard line.

With a minute and a half left, Fajardo called his own number and ran into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Lauther’s convert went wide to give Saskatchewan a 34-23 lead.

Week 11 for the Elks will see them visit the nation’s capital for a road date with the Ottawa Redblacks while the Roughriders host the BC Lions, both games featured on Friday night.


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