Riders’ rouge edges Redblacks
A single point from a single punt was all it took.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are now 7-6 and above 0.500 for the first time in the Chris Jones era, after the team beat the Ottawa Redblacks 18-17 on the road Friday night from the nation’s capital.
And the Riders did it with that most Canadian of Canadian football rules, the rouge, thanks to a Josh Bartel punt and some extra hustle from Jeff Knox Jr.
Tied at 17 with 2:31 left to go in the game, Bartel and the Riders punted the ball from the Ottawa 44-yard line into the Redblacks’ endzone.
Quincy McDuffie let the ball bounce once off the turf before catching it.
That was enough time for the Roughriders’ punt return team to swarm McDuffie, and for Knox Jr. to hustle down and force McDuffie out at the endzone’s sideline, earning a point for Saskatchewan to go ahead 18-17.
The Riders’ offence was hardly effective in the first half of the game, going down 17-0 until 10:46 of the third quarter, when Christion Jones returned an Ottawa punt 97 yards for a touchdown.
Running back Kienan LaFrance scored a six-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter, bringing his team closer to complete the comeback.
Thanks to kicker Tyler Crapigna’s onepoint converts on each touchdown and his 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the Riders tied the score.
The punt return team then took over and took the lead.
Veteran cornerback Jovon Johnson sealed the win with 14 second remaining when he intercepted Ottawa backup quarterback Ryan Lindley.
The Roughriders will stay in Ontario throughout the week as they prep for their next game in Toronto against the Argonauts (7-7) on Saturday.