Depleted Ticats lose to Riders on last-second field goal

The Saskatchewan Roughriders kicked a field goal with zeros on the clock to give them a 20-18 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday night.

The Ticats played the game with a patchwork line up with starting receiver Terrence Toliver and strong side linebacker Rico Murray scratched at game time due to injury. They joined leading receivers Chad Owens and Luke Tasker as well as starting safety Courtney Stephen, all whom were hurt last week in the win over Montreal.

The loss of Murray meant moving Dominique Ellis to strong side linebacker for the first time in his career and inserting Travis Lee into the starting line up, a patchwork secondary that didn’t practice together for a single snap this week.

The Riders looked to take advantage right away, quarterback Darian Durant completing four passes on their first possession. Tyler Crapigna kicked a 48-yard field goal and home-side led 3-0.

They got the first turnover, too, as Collaros threw an interception on the Hamilton’s first play from scrimmage, ex-Ticat Ed Gainey out wrestling John Chiles for the football.

The Ticats, in desperate need of something positive, orchestrated one of their best drives of the season, a catch and run by Junior Collins the big play in a 105-yard march that Collaros capped with a 16-yard toss to Brandon Banks, who fought off a couple of defenders to get into the end zone.

It took the Riders three plays to roll 81-yards and re-take the lead, Durant connecting with Armanti Edwards on a 46-yard bomb – he stretched out pretty good to get it – for the touchdown.

After a 33-yard Brett Maher field goal tied things up, the Ticats looked to have taken the lead in dramatic fashion, Adrian Tracy scooping up a fumble near his own goal-line and sprinting 106 yards the other way for a score. But the play was struck down on review – the ball carrier’s knee was ruled down – and Durant punched it in on the next play. Riders 17 Ticats 10.

Saskatchewan took that advantage into the fourth quarter, though they were without Durant, who was injured on the second-to-last play of the third when he was hauled down by former teammate John Chick.

Back up Mitchell Gale’s first pass was intercepted by Ellis and the Ticats moved the ball into Saskatchewan territory but Brett Maher missed his second field goal of the night, this one from 53 yards. It netted Hamilton a single.

Then, one of the strangest penalty calls in recent memory.

With just under 10 minutes remaining in fourth and the Ticats facing third-and-one at their own 35 yard line, centre Mike Filer was flagged for moving the ball forward before snapping it – a procedure call that cost Hamilton five yards. Hamilton would be forced to punt and head coach Kent Austin went ballistic on the sidelines, earning a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty while potentially making inadvertent contact with an official on the sidelines.

Still, the Ticats didn’t unravel completely. On their next possession, they converted a third and three just inside Saskatchewan territory, then turned another quarterback sneak into a 21-yard touchdown run from Jeremiah Masoli. Maher’s convert was good and Hamilton led by one.

But Gale completed five straight passes  to move the Riders into field goal range and Crapigna connected from 29 yards out with zeros on the clock to give the Riders the win.

The Ticats fall to 6-7 on the season and are now in second place in the East Division, one point behind the Ottawa Redblacks and two points ahead of the Toronto Argonauts. Up next for Hamilton: the league-leading Calgary Stampeders.

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