RIDERS TOPPLE TICATS 27-19
Brandon Bridge shines as QB
RIDERS 27, TIGER-CATS 19
HAMILTON “Air Canada” finally took flight for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The owner of that nickname, Brandon Bridge, started at quarterback Friday when veteran Kevin Glenn was scratched due to a bruised right hand. Bridge then led the Riders to a 27-19 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field.
Glenn suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Riders’ 48-28 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sept. 9.
Bridge, who hails from nearby Mississauga, Ont., completed 21 of 31 pass attempts for 231 yards and three touchdowns in his first start for Saskatchewan.
Bridge, 25, was the first Canadian-born quarterback to start for the Riders since Vancouver’s Eric Guthrie in 1977. With Guthrie at quarterback, the Riders defeated the Tiger-Cats 38-28 at Taylor Field.
Friday’s game was Bridge’s second-ever CFL start. He started Nov. 8, 2015 with the Montreal Alouettes over the visiting Roughriders. The Riders prevailed 30-24 in overtime.
On Friday, Saskatchewan’s defence did its part to help out Bridge, forcing five Hamilton turnovers and the Riders scoring 17 points off the turnovers.
Saskatchewan defensive back Ed Gainey recorded two picks and has eight interceptions in the last five games.
Naaman Roosevelt (22 yards), Bakari Grant (nine yards) and Devon Bailey (nine yards) all scored touchdowns for the Riders, who improved to 6-5. The Tiger-Cats fell to 2-9.
The Riders opened the scoring at 11:54 of the first quarter on a 15yard field goal by Tyler Crapigna to grab a 3-0 lead.
Saskatchewan was in position to score a touchdown after Mike Edem recovered a fumble on Hamilton’s five-yard line. Hamilton receiver Mike Jones lost the ball after a hard tackle by Saskatchewan’s Jeff Hecht.
Short-yardage quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was behind centre for the next two plays, but actually lost two yards before Crapigna kicked the field goal.
In the second quarter, Bridge led the Riders on a six-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a touchdown strike to Bailey to give the Riders a 9-0 lead. Crapigna’s convert put the Riders ahead 10-0 at 3:03 of the second quarter. Bridge completed five of six passes during the drive.
Saskatchewan’s Kacy Rodgers II forced Hamilton’s second fumble of the first half, which was recovered by Tobi Antigha on the Tiger-Cats’ 31.
Four plays later, Bridge found Bakari Grant in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown pass. The Riders led 17-0 after Crapigna’s convert at 6:16 of the second quarter.
The Tiger-Cats finally got on the scoreboard when Jeremiah Masoli connected with Jalen Saunders on a 36-yard touchdown strike. Sergio Castillo’s convert reduced Saskatchewan’s lead to 17-7 at 9:57 of the second quarter.
The Riders answered Hamilton’s touchdown with a 42-yard field goal by Crapigna at 13:14 of the second quarter and led 20-7.
The Tiger-Cats closed out the scoring in the first half with a 19yard field goal by Castillo at 14:52. The Riders led 20-10 at the end of the first half.
The Tiger-Cats committed their third turnover of the game in the third quarter when Gainey stepped in front of a Masoli pass attempt.
Three plays later, Bridge connected with Roosevelt on a 23yard touchdown pass. A successful convert by Crapigna gave the Riders a 27-10 lead at 5:35 of the third quarter.
A 51-yard field goal by Castillo at 10:23 of the third quarter reduced Saskatchewan’s lead to 27-13.
Just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter, Castillo hit on a 37-yard field goal. Castillo connected on a 19-yard field goal at 12:08 of the fourth quarter. The Riders led 2719 after Castillo’s field goal.
The Riders withstood a late charge by the Tiger-Cats in the fourth quarter when Masoli’s lastgasp attempt at a touchdown was incomplete.
The next game for the Riders is Sept. 24 when they play host to the Calgary Stampeders.
Riders defensive tackle Makana Henry was fined an undisclosed amount by the CFL on Friday for a leading with the crown of his helmet on a hit on quarterback Dan LeFevour in the loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers … Riders have outscored their opposition 63-10 in the first quarter of their last five games … Duron Carter had a streak of six consecutive games with a touchdown reception snapped on Friday after injuring an ankle in the first quarter. Carter had tied the Saskatchewan record of six games with a touchdown reception shared by Hugh Campbell and Weston Dressler. Carter suffered an ankle injury early in the first quarter.
Devon Bailey, right, celebrates the Roughriders’ first touchdown Friday against the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats with teammate Bakari Grant.
The Tiger-Cats’ Luke Tasker makes a catch as the Roughriders’ Crezdon Butler closes in on him Friday night at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.