Darian Durant’s six-yard touchdown run in overtime gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders an improbable 26-23 comeback victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday afternoon.
Saskatchewan’s victory snapped a seven-game losing skid and improved the team’s record to 2-10. It was Durant’s first win as a starter since mid-way through the 2014 season.
The Eskimos have lost three straight and sit at 5-7.
The Riders trailed by seven with less than five minutes remaining the game. Armanti Edwards, playing in his first game for Saskatchewan, took the ball around the left end on a sweep for a five-yard touchdown. Tyler Crapigna’s convert tied the game at 20-20 with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing Edmonton possession, Justin Cox intercepted a Mike Reilly pass attempt at midfield _ setting up Durant and the offence with 1:05 remaining.
Two costly penalties against the Riders pushed them out of field goal range. Josh Bartel punted to the Eskimos, who then took a knee to run the clock out and force overtime.
Sean Whyte kicked a 39-yard field with Edmonton’s first possession in extra time.
The Eskimos snapped a 9-9 tie with their first possession in the third quarter.
Held out of the end zone in the first half, Edmonton wasted no time crossing the goal-line in the third quarter.
Reilly hooked up with Nate Coehoorn on a short slant route on their first possession after the break. Coehoorn broke a tackle and raced 72 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Riders were without the services of leading receiver Naaman Roosevelt, who missed his first game of the season with a leg injury. The Saskatchewan offence struggled in his absence with the team’s only touchdown before the fourth quarter coming from the defence.
After a short completion to Adarius Bowman, Roughriders halfback Ed Gainey stripped the ball from Bowman’s hands as he fought for additional yards. Gainey then raced 51 yards to the end zone for a score that pushed Saskatchewan ahead 9-6 with less than two minutes to go in the first half.
However, the two-point convert attempt failed on an incomplete pass attempt.
That allowed the Eskimos pull even just before the half ended. Sean Whyte’s third field of the first half, a 41-yard successful try, knotted the score at 9-9.
Edmonton will host the B.C. Lions (8-3), while Saskatchewan takes the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-6) next week.