Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat Saskatchewan Roughriders in double OT thriller

REGINA – Justin Medlock kicked the game-winning field goal in the second overtime as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-0) beat the rival Saskatchewan Roughriders (0-2) in the first ever regular season game at the new Mosaic Stadium on Canada’s 150th birthday.

Winnipeg opened the first overtime with a 36-yard field goal by Medlock. Tristan Okpalaugo sacked Kevin Glenn on second down but Tyler Crapigna kicked a 30-yard field goal of his own to send the game to a second overtime.

Passes to Nic Demski and Rob Bagg gave the Riders a first down. Glenn was again tackled on second down and Crapigna hit the goalpost on a 33 yard attempt, giving Winnipeg a chance to clinch the victory. The Bombers took advantage with Andrew Harris rushing for a first down before Medlock secured the 43-40 win.

Matt Nichols threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns plus an interception while Glenn recorded 377 passing yards, four touchdowns and two picks. Weston Dressler burned his former team for 124 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The game was a thrilling way for the Riders to open up their new home on Canada Day.

Both teams traded defensive stops to open the game. Glenn used a series of short passes to push the Riders downfield, getting the team close enough for Crapigna to connect on a 48-yard field goal to grab the early 3-0 lead.

The Riders and Bombers continued to battle defensively until Saskatchewan tipped a Nichols pass attempt which was corralled in by Jonathan Newsome at midfield for an interception. From there, Duron Carter hauled in a 36-yard pass in double coverage before Caleb Holley notched an 18-yard touchdown reception on the next play as the Riders went up 10-0.

The Riders defence continued to carry the momentum as the first quarter came to a close with Eddie Steele sacking Nichols. Looking downfield for another big play, Glenn was intercepted by TJ Heath, who returned the ball 33 yards and past midfield. Medlock booted a 30-yard field goal to put some points on the board for the Bombers.

KR Ryan Lankford gave Winnipeg good field position all game Photo: Matt Smith/

A punt pinned the Bombers deep in their own zone and they could not move the chains, giving the Riders great field position to start their next drive. Passes to Demski and Spencer Moore led to a Bakari Grant touchdown as the Riders upped their lead to 17-3.

It didn’t take long for the Bombers to respond with a touchdown of their own. Nichols and Darvin Adams marched Winnipeg downfield on a pair of passes before the duo turned a 31-yard gain into an endzone reception, cutting the deficit to 17-10 just before halftime. With 33 seconds left before the whistle, Sam Hurl cut into a passing lane and picked off Glenn, giving the Bombers one more scoring chance. A 33-yard gain by Denmark put Winnipeg in the red zone but the Bombers had to settle for a field goal and went to the locker room trailing 17-13.

The Bombers found the endzone on their first drive of the second half. On the second play of the possession, Nichols connected on an 87-yard strike to Dressler and gave Winnipeg its first lead of the game at 20-17.

On the ensuing kickoff, Greg Morris fumbled the football and it was recovered by Brandon Alexander, instantly putting the Bombers in the red zone. Nichols found Dressler for another touchdown as the Bombers lead quickly grew to 27-17. That capped off two touchdowns in 25 seconds for Winnipeg.

Looking to stop the Bombers momentum, Morris worked a strong return to give the ball back to the offence. The Riders pushed downfield and Crapigna notched his second field goal of the game.

Dressler continued to be a thorn to the Riders defence, working a 22-yard gain before Nichols spread the ball around. L’Damian Washington brought in a 35-yard touchdown grab as the Bombers offence clicked again and added to the Bombers lead, 34-20.

Holley started the next drive with a 31-yard gain and Grant added another first down to keep the Riders offence moving. Crapigna kicked another field goal as the Riders chipped away at the score.

Working the clock as the fourth quarter began, the Bombers used a series of runs by Andrew Harris to take away extra seconds. It was enough for Medlock to add another three points from a field goal and increased the Winnipeg lead to 37-23.

Saskatchewan responded on its next drive, keeping themselves in the game with a 35-yard touchdown grab by Demski with 9:31 remaining to cut the lead to 37-30.

First downs by Demski and Carter put the Riders into scoring territory, looking to score a major with under two minutes left in the game. Naaman Roosevelt tied the game on Glenn’s fourth touchdown pass to the fourth different receiver.

Ryan Lankford put the Bombers near midfield with his kick return but Nichols lost nine yards on a sack by Zach Minter. An unnecessary roughness penalty on the next play forced the Bombers to punt as the Riders regained possession with a shade under a minute left. Saskatchewan failed to convert as they punted to the Bombers with 49 seconds remaining in the contest. The Riders held strong, forcing the game to overtime.

Next week, the Bombers host the Calgary Stampeders while the Riders welcome the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to their new stadium.



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