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Friday, July 6, 2018

FAMOSO RECAP: RIDERS 18 TICATS 13

CFL.ca/Arthur Ward
REGINA - How do you spell relief? W-I-N.

Marcus Thigpen found a hole and went 34 yards for the touchdown with 1:29 to play to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders over the the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 18-13 on Thursday.

Lirim Hajrullahu's fourth field goal of the night - a 39-yarder - gave Hamilton a 13-12 lead with 6:27 to go in the fourth quarter, but Saskatchewan quarterback Brandon Bridge engineered a four-play drive starting on the Roughriders 33 that was capped by Thigpen.

"It just kind of opened up front side, so I took it and the rest history,'' said Thigpen.

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Bridge finished 11-of-13 passing for 101 yards, while backup David Watford was 3 for 6 for 47 yards. Thigpen had 50 yards on seven carries.

Roughriders (2-2) head coach Chris Jones wasn't afraid to change his quarterback throughout the evening as Watford made his first appearance on the Riders' third drive of the game.

"I'm hard on (the quarterbacks),'' said Jones. "We're going to keep grinding until we figure it out.''

The Ticats (2-2) dominated the scoresheet in most of the offensive categories with 429 yards of offence compared to the Riders 298. Despite the lopsided numbers, they were unable to cross the goal line all night.

"We knew that they were a great defensive team,'' said Ticats defensive lineman Ted Laurent. "Kudos to them, they had a great game plan.''

Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli produced his ninth straight game with 300 or more yards passing to tie a long-standing CFL record shared by Sam Etcheverry and Kent Austin. He finished the game with 333 yards, but no touchdowns and one interception.

Brandon Banks was Masoli's top target with seven receptions for 113 yards.

The visitors opened the scoring with an 11-yard field goal from Hajrullahu on Hamilton's first drive of the game. Hajrullahu would attempt another field goal later in the quarter but missed leading to a rouge.

The Riders appeared to have taken the lead in the second quarter after a mad scramble by Bridge, but after another look by the command centre it was concluded that Bridge fumbled right before crossing the goal line.

Later in the quarter, defensive end Charleston Hughes forced a fumble and 57-yard recovery for a touchdown to give the Riders a 6-4 lead. The Ticats responded with another Hajrullahu field goal for a 7-6 edge at the half.

Brett Lauther added a field goal midway through the third quarter for a 9-7 lead only for Hajrullahu to respond with another field goal of his own.

The see-saw battle continued early in the fourth quarter with Lauther hitting a 41-yard field goal for a 12-10 lead.

Thigpen's game-winning touchdown was the seventh lead change of the game.

"We did what we had to do to win the game,'' said Jones. "I thought our guys did an outstanding job.''

Both teams are now on their first bye-week of the season and meet again on July 19 in Hamilton.

POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH CHRIS JONES

- To come up with big plays from guys who weren't expected to make plays, that's what I'm most proud of. We played from behind all night, chipped away offensively, and it was nice to win the game in the 4th quarter.

- Our QBs situation is what it is until we figure it out. I want more out of them. I'm hard on them. They both have unique qualities. Watford's faster but Bridge has more experience. We'll keep grinding until we figure it out.

- It's a heckuva a lot better going into a bye with a win. It feels like forever after a loss. This beats the alternative.

- Steve Spurrier rotated QBs with a lot of success and we thought we'd do the same thing. Watford has 4.5-speed while Brandon's probably 4.7.

- Carter and Messam played better. You've got to give their coaches kudos. We didn't expect them to run the football. We figured out they could hand the football off and get yards.

- We don't worry about (the QBs') confidence. They pay me to figure out which one to play. The best way to stay in there is play well.

- We're doing some good things defensively. We need to figure out how to quit giving up big plays, and fix our errors.

- We did what had to do to win the game. I thought our guys did an outstanding job of getting the calls, keeping it slow and executing the calls. We had very few mental errors. We had some busts physically.

- I don't ever like the byes. But we'll let 'em go home and get them back and work them out one day. But they'll get five days off or so.

- We'll see if Collaros is back. I'm trying to not even think about that. I'll try to win with what we have, pick up some guys, and try to make our football team better.

(With files from the Canadian Press)

10 comments:

Scott Thompson said...

Great win tonight boys! Coach Jones called a great defense tonight. Special teams were sensational. Duron Carter was used well tonight, can’t wait til he returns to the offense, but for the next 2 weeks he’s a defensive back. I still have concerns about the o line and offense in general. However a win going into the bye is big! Go Riders!

Football Fan said...

Lots of interesting stuff here. Unconventional rotation of the QBs, but Jones is a student of the game and you knew he had some reason for doing it. He tries new things and he's not always successful, but he usually is, so question him with caution and civility because he's likely going to end up being right, and you're likely wrong.

Stanford, he of the huge circus catch, was an 8th round pick in 2016. That's a big play from an unexpected guy.

Carter played very well. That knock down on the deep Toliver pass was a play maybe only a tall DB like him could have made. And then he almost picked another one off. And then they didn't go after him much after that.

Collaros may be back? Picking up guys? Lots of tantalizing tidbits there!

SWC said...

For two years the fans have been telling Chris Jones that a three man rush doesn't work. He brought the house last night and disrupted Hamilton's timing. Fans win.

Scott Thompson said...

Hope this will be enough to get some at least to put the pitchforks back in the shed. Enjoy the bye week folks, spend some time outdoors with your loved ones!

Helix said...

I like the defensive battles. A lot fewer mistakes by the riders in this game. Those questioning jones swapping qbs all the time shouldn’t be surprised. He did it all last year. I think it’s ok cause these qbs are not great. And when they get changed out the coaches can address their mistakes. Bridge played cleaner this game but he still did fumble that one on the goal line. A win is a win I’ll take it!

Gord said...

A win is a win, Jones had a great defensive game plan and our Defense executed it very well. Our D stole this game.

Offensively we are a complete mess. Mcadoo's play calling was horrific again. The QB carousel was a complete joke.

T JH said...

Riders were lucky to win this one, as the Ti-cats really outplayed them last night (just look at the stats sheet). Nevertheless, it was a close fought game up to the last few minutes. Sometimes the ball just bounces your way, so guess we have to take this one.

Trevor Doroshenko said...

My pal just reminded me of Antigha blowing up Masoli on Hughes' fumble return for a TD. I missed it in the celebration of Charleston scoring. So rewatch that highlight, and have your day made...

RudersWestman said...

My opinion is no less important but no more important than the opinion of anyone else. That said, my glasses must have been foggy or maybe I was watching the wrong game. To me, it was a other poor outing overall. Hamilton dominated most of the game as borne out by the stats. The Riders were very lucky to win. The defence did fine but the offense was once again weak. In addition, playing one of your top receivers at DB when the offense is struggling is completely goofy. Where is the recruitment of some other DB's if there was all of this time committed to recruitment to talent in the States? I also believe that even though each QB struggled, rotating the QB's every two series is an approach which is not done commonly and is another head shaker. Neither of these QB's will get enough experience if they only get to play a few downs and then switch out. Bush league moves.

Jeff Michaels said...

An ugly win...but a WIN is a WIN! Period!!
The D deserves the game ball, and the Riders have a bye week to get their Offense on track!
Enjoy the break, boys!