Sasktchewan Roughriders take down REDBLACKS for 4th win of season

Cody Fajardo threw a pair of touchdowns as the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Ottawa REDBLACKS 28-13 on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium for their fourth win of the season.

Running backs Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson powered Saskatchewan’s offence with a lethal two-headed attack. Hickson finished with 92 rushing yards on just five carries, including a 63-yard touchdown run, while Morrow racked up 145 total yards on 16 carries and six catches.

Saskatchewan improves to 4-1 in the highly-competitive West Division, while the winless REDBLACKS fall to 0-4 on the season.

Fajardo completed 17 of 22 passes for 231 yards in the win, with touchdown passes to D’haquille “Duke” Williams and Kian Schaffer-Baker.

Brett Lauther made three of four field goal attempts for Saskatchewan, including a 50-yarder.

Ottawa quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed 19 of 27 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception before suffering an injury in the fourth quarter on a low hit from defensive lineman Garrett Marino.

Veteran running back William Powell made his return to Regina in his second game with Ottawa, finishing with 58 yards on 11 carries.

» Box Score: Riders, REDBLACKS by the numbers
» Through the Lens: REDBLACKS at Riders
» Watch: Hickson increases lead with big TD run

Saskatchewan’s defence forced a turnover on downs early in the first quarter when Ottawa was unable to move the chains with a QB sneak from Caleb Evans on third-and-one. But the Riders were only able to get three points out of the turnover, as defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin IV sacked Fajardo two plays later on second down to kill the drive. Lauther nailed the 50-yard kick to give Saskatchewan the early lead.

Ottawa responded with a strong drive that saw Powell break off a 19-yard run to move the ball into Roughrider territory. But Saskatchewan’s defence denied the touchdown, as defensive back Amari Henderson broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Darvin AdamsLewis Ward made a 21-yard field goal to tie the game.

The Riders opted to go for it on third-and-two later in the opening quarter, and Morrow made the most of it with a 19-yard run around the right edge. The Riders moved the ball down the field into the red zone, but they settled for a 28-yard field goal from Lauther after defensive lineman Tre Hornbuckle sacked Fajardo for an 11-yard loss early in the second quarter.

Saskatchewan’s offence seized momentum later in the quarter by putting together a six-play, 101-yard touchdown drive. Fajardo got things started with a 28-yard strike to Williams over the middle, and Morrow later added a 33-yard catch-and-run to move the ball into the red zone.

Fajardo capped the drive off with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Williams, with Lauther adding the convert to give Saskatchewan a 13-3 lead.

Ward made a 42-yard field goal late in the second quarter to cut into the lead, but the Riders answered immediately with a huge 63-yard touchdown gallop from Hickson. Lauther’s convert attempt went wide, but he added an 18-yard field goal in the final seconds of the half to give Saskatchewan a commanding 22-6 lead.

Ottawa scored a much-needed touchdown early in the third quarter when Masoli completed a 22-yard pass on the run to wide open receiver Nate Behar. Ward kicked the convert to cut Saskatchewan’s lead down to nine points.

But Ottawa’s momentum would be short-lived, as the Riders responded with a touchdown once again with Schaffer-Baker scoring on an 18-yard catch. Saskatchewan went for the two-point conversion, but Fajardo’s pass intended for Williams fell incomplete.

Linebacker Larry Dean recorded his first interception as a Roughrider late in the third quarter, but it did not lead to points as Lauther missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Evans took over at quarterback for Ottawa following Masoli’s injury with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Marino was disqualified for rough play following the injury-causing hit, and Saskatchewan’s defence quickly forced another turnover on downs.

Riders defensive back Nick Marshall closed out the game with an interception in the final minute.

Week 6 will see Saskatchewan face the Toronto Argonauts on the road at BMO Field on Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m. ET, while Ottawa will travel to face Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field later that day at 5 p.m. ET.

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