REGINA (CP) - The injuries and the losses continue to mount for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats erased a fourth-quarter deficit and pulled off another win on the road - a 31-21 triumph on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium - to keep the Riders winless to start the 2015 CFL season.
The Riders dropped to 0-5 with the loss, their fourth straight on home field, and when they look ahead to Week 6 they may very well be without quarterback Kevin Glenn, who replaced starter Darian Durant after a season-ending injury in Week 1.
"The only thing we can do is continue to work hard,'' said Riders receiver Rob Bagg. "We want to win more than anybody who is critiquing and looking in from the outside. We're not trying to lose intentionally.
"We have put in a lot of time and effort and it's frustrating to not get the results you want. You can either quit or you can keep working.''
An 0-4 start to the season looked to be behind the Riders as they held a lead to open the fourth quarter. That's when their fortunes took another turn for the worse.
Jeff Mathews' one-yard touchdown plunge put the Tiger-Cats ahead for good, and when the Riders looked to their offence to give them a come-from-behind victory, they saw their starting quarterback nursing an injury.
With rookie quarterback Brett Smith filling in for Glenn, Saskatchewan couldn't create any momentum, let alone a comeback to snap their losing skid.
Kicker Justin Medlock booted his fifth field goal of the game to give the Tiger-Cats an insurance score late and help the team improve to 2-2.
"We brought Kevin in here because we knew that if anything happened to Darian (Durant we would have a true starting quarterback, a winning starting quarterback and Grey Cup starting quarterback,'' head coach Corey Chamblin explained. "So to have that happen it's always a blow, especially when you have a chance to win a game.''
The Riders broke a 14-14 halftime tie when Smith, the Riders' quarterback in short-yardage situations, scored on a one-yard run on the team's opening possession of the second half.
But it was all Hamilton from there. Medlock kicked a pair of field goals to bring the visitors to within a point before Mathews scored to put his team ahead for good.
"Any time you can get a win, especially on the road, it's a great feeling,'' said Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros, who completed 19-of-28 passes for 284 yards and one touchdown. "Saskatchewan is a good football team, but we did just enough today to get a win.''
It appeared Glenn injured himself late in the third quarter after he was intercepted by Rico Murray. Glenn was in on the tackle of Murray and was spotted on the sideline grimacing when he tried to move his right shoulder.
"I don't think it's snake bit,'' Smith said. "Football is a rough sport. Quarterbacks bodies aren't really meant to tackle guys sometimes. Kevin is a hard worker and he's a great teammate. He's going to do what he can to prevent a touchdown and help the team.''
The Riders opened the scoring in the first quarter when Paul McCallum kicked a 29-yard field goal on the team's first possession. Hamilton then outscored the Riders 14-3 until Glenn found Bagg for a 20-yard touchdown reception with 13 seconds to go in the first half. Bagg snagged the two-point convert to tie the score at 14-14.
Hamilton running back C.J. Gable rushed for a game-high 135 yards on 20 carries. Jasper Collins Jr., had 73 receiving yards and one touchdown.
"That's a good defence and a good team over there. (Saskatchewan's) record doesn't compare to how good they really are,'' Gable said. "We kept fighting and we kept pushing. We were going to run it until they found a way to stop us.''
The Tiger-Cats are scheduled to play their first game of the season on Aug. 3 when they host the Toronto Argonauts. The Riders will travel to face the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday.
- Just like you say, we brought the heat. We got after him and did everything we could. That's football and we couldn't keep them out of the endzone. The thing we can't do is quit, no matter what. This is one of the toughest situations they'll ever be in but we have to fight another day.
- Late in the game you're just trying to do something to get the ball back. That's always tough. They had an 11-play drive. Right now we have to find ways to keep trying to get better.
- As long as we have another day, we're gonna be able to fight.
- We brought Kevin in here in case something happened to Darian. To have him go down, that's a bummer. Especially when you think you have a chance to win. Brett Smith doesn't have as much experience as Kevin and that's a tough situation to put a young buck into.
- Like anything else I thought we did a good job. They adjusted. We sent pressure. We have to have pressure but we have to have balance all the way through. We're just not built right now to hold that dam. We're not built right now to overcome setbacks.
- It's not hard for me to preach positives. It's proof positive. We're saying let's not focus on the negatives. The guys know this is a very tough situation. They'll remember being 0-5 for the rest of their lives.
- That's the biggest thing. We had a very good game plan. We sent pressure, made adjustments and did some things. They played some ball today also. There were times we were off the field and then got a penalty. We're not gonna stop calling man coverage because of penalties. We have to make less mistakes than the opponent. We're not good enough right now to make mistakes and recover.
- I laugh about it. Boy, this is a very tough situation. I'm glowing on the inside right now because I want to see the fight in this team. I have it and the coaching staff has it. It's another opportunity to build our strength and become a strong football team.
- Add it on. It's an unusual season. That's what it's about with this team. I'm seeing a lot of things happen that I haven't seen in all my eight years.
- When we come back to I'm gonna see how many guys quit. This game told us we're not good enough to make mistakes. I thought we were close but we have to keep pushing on.
- This is going to be a work in progress. This will be a challenge for me because it's a first. I'll tell you this - there was no way I thought we'd lose this game. We had the best week of practice and I thought it would manifest itself into a win. We had some key things that set us back and we need to keep pushing through these things.
- I hope the announcement is Kevin's good to go. If it's anything other than that, that'll be up to Brendan and Ryan (Pollock).
- The thing I feel the worst about is when I walk off the field and see that look in the guys' eyes. They bust their butts all week but don't get that 'W'. I can't control injuries and I wish I could to make things better for the guys in the locker room.
- I think, no matter what, the players are gonna read (speculation on his future) and they shouldn't be worried about my future. They should be worried about theirs. My mindset is the guys in that room. As long as I'm here, that'll be my focus; to get wins for the guys in that locker room.
- Right now if we make a mistake, here comes another one. We have to mature. We will make mistakes because that's football but don't make them back to back to back.
- Tino's in the conversation whichever way we go (against Edmonton). I can't tell if you he'll start. We'll have to sit down and talk about it. Maybe it's a two quarterback system.
- It's getting harder and harder to talk to you guys. Coach told us to remember this day. We're at the bottom and have nowhere to go but up. It's gonna be a heckuva ride when we pull out of this thing.
- You never want to see people leaving early when there's still time on the clock. It's tough. If we had the answers we'd be winning games instead of losing them.
- It's a short week and I think that's a good thing. We can't dwell on it. The best thing is get back out there and fight again.