Realty One

Saturday, July 23, 2016


REGINA - Tyler Crapigna envisioned hitting a game-winning field goal.

His fifth field goal of the night with 1:09 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the winner, one that gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 30-29 come-from-behind victory over the previously unbeaten Ottawa Redblacks on Friday.

Crapigna was 5 for 5 in field goal attempts and his individual effort powered the Riders (1-3) to their first victory of the season.

"I don't think it gets any better than that,'' Crapigna said after he hit the 53-yard strike.

"I was just ready for anything,'' added the second-year kicker, who is in his first year as the full-time starter. "Whatever the distance was, I was going to be ready to go.''

Saskatchewan's rookie quarterback Mitchell Gale and the Riders offence moved the ball just enough on the game-winning drive to give Crapigna a shot to win the game.

Rider President Craig Reynolds courtesy @CFLFantasyFTB
"I had a little wind at my back and I just needed to get it up there. I didn't really need to a put a lot of power into it. I just needed to get it up it there. I hit it smooth and I hit it straight.''

Roughriders Head Coach and GM Chris Jones said he had no hesitation with putting Crapigna out there to kick the go-ahead points.

"He's an 80-something percent kicker for the year," Jones told 620 CKRM after the game. "Quite honestly he struggled the past two or three days and he's one of those guys that'll over-kick if he starts missing one or two.  Dickie said we got the wind and that was a big decision there in the second half; even though we were down a field goal, we decided to take the wind in the fourth and that ended up being the difference in the ball game."

Ottawa's backup quarterback Brock Jensen, who replaced an injured Trevor Harris, said it was a helpless feeling watching the Riders line up for the game-winning kick in the dying seconds.

"We shouldn't have put our defence in that position,'' Jensen explained. "We had a second-and-goal at their five-yard line and I screwed up the play with my cadence. We didn't find a way to get a touchdown there and that would have made it extremely hard on (Saskatchewan) to make a drive, a drive where they needed a touchdown to win.''

Instead, the Redblacks settled for an 11-yard field goal from Chris Milo, a score that gave Ottawa a 29-27 lead.

Jensen completed 20-of-29 pass attempts for 271 yards and two touchdowns in a relief effort. Harris was injured on the team's first possession when he was sacked by Roughriders defensive lineman Corvey Irvin. Harris appeared to have rolled over on his right leg. He limped off the field and did not return.

Jensen's first drive under centre saw him complete his first two passes, with the second completion of his CFL career being a 65-yard touchdown strike to Brad Sinopoli - a score that gave Ottawa an early 7-6 lead in the first quarter.

Sinopoli scored his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter on another big play that burned the Riders secondary. Jensen found his slotback behind the coverage for a 47-yard major score, one that answered Saskatchewan's touchdown that came off a blocked punt.

Saskatchewan's first offensive touchdown of the game didn't come until the final play of the third quarter. The Riders took advantage of a blown coverage assignment when Gale hit Naaman Roosevelt for an 89-yard touchdown that pulled them to within two at 26-24. The Riders took the lead midway through the fourth quarter when Crapigna connected from 25 yards to make it 27-26 for the home team.

Crapigna is 15 for 17 in field-goal attempts this season. He came up big with starting quarterback Darian Durant sitting out with a high ankle sprain.

"It's the ultimate goal for a kicker is wanting your teammates to know that when it comes down to the moments that they need that you're going to come through for them,'' Crapigna said. "They come through for me during the game and I come through for them at the end.''

In Gale's first CFL start, the first-year Roughrider threw for 354 yards and one touchdown. He connected with Roosevelt eight times for 182 yards.

Chris Jones said he was very proud of his team for battling back to earn the win.

"It's a great group of guys," Jones smiled.  "You can't say enough about their character.  They were put under some very adverse conditions against a team that played in the Grey Cup last year and is currently undefeated.  To be able to come out with a win tonight like that, it says a lot about our character."

30,172 boisterous fans filled the stadium almost to capacity in the seventh-last game at Mosaic Stadium.  They were loud and into the game all night long and it was bedlam in the fourth quarter when the Riders were coming back.

"I wanna give a huge shout-out to the Rider Nation out there," Riders defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said on 620 CKRM after the game.  "Electrifying.  I had chill bumps!  It was like Friday Night Football in my hometown of Augusta, GA.  The whole town shut down and everybody was coming to the game to see us play.  We just needed a win.  We needed a win real bad and we wanted to get Coach Jones his first win."

The Riders will travel to face the Montreal Alouettes next week, while the Redblacks return home to take on the Toronto Argonauts.

(With files from the Canadian Press/Craig Slater)


Anonymous said...

concerned regarding jone's snaps,however the last one was clearly on gale....hearing jones telling jones he'll be in working on it eases my frustrations....true professional Andrew jones! crapanya =$${spelling sucks I know}!

Christopher Evans said...

Thankfully, an up week! Enjoy, Rod!

willy said...

Yes, It finally happened we are now officially on the winning scoreboard and it will get better from here on in.

Brian Shepherd said...

Let's go for two in a row

Dan said...

Don not get to excited as there is a ton of work left to do.Mainly three man rush all night did not work, at times Red Blacks offensive was standing 5 at a time looking for someone to block as the Riders were no where to be seen.If Jones could not see that then rider nation is in trouble.Mistakes in the red zone were unreal bad snaps,penalties,fumbles wow.There is great potential in this team with talent they have but in order for them to jell the coaching staff must get it together starting with Jones.

GO Riders Go

Anonymous said...

Amazing how the Riders did not Blitz the rookie hard fast and often when he first came in. Despite a couple of D breakdowns a WIN !! Gale looked solid to me except the fumble but for a rookie he did well. I am glad Jones didn't bench him for that mistake.

This Guy said...

Ugly win but I'll take it. Young team trying to eliminate mistakes. Success is on the horizon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with John, "I believe that we are going to finish first!"

Anonymous said...

Very happy with the win last night but we still have a lot of work to do. Not sure the outcome would have been the same if Burris or Harris had been playing. For a lot of the game, the RedBlacks QB had all day to throw the ball. Where was the pressure? But, I now have a bit more hope than I did before this game. Just need to keep learning from our mistakes. Another step forward!

Lyle Pederson said...

If a QB can't find a receiver that is the objective of not blitzing. Also felt late game blitzing was a success because less expected. Wait until the DBs have more time together and less busted coverage. Right now it's high risk one on one. (Surprised little mention of Williams lack of production)

Darren Muller said...

After some time to just take in the glow of victory of course there are some areas that we need to improve on. Honestly this is as close to an expansion team ever when you have so many new players. What I saw was a team that is working hard every play and rallying around each other. Yes mistakes will be made but really that's football. Less you make better chance to win. Atmosphere at Taylor Field sent shivers through me. Mitchell Gale showed very good poise albeit a miscues or two. All in all you can't help but admire the young guy. We can easily be 3-1 but that's the past. Hopefully we can string a few together and let the rest of the league know that we are for real. Kudos to all you fans at the game. It was just awesome to see on TV.