Riders win first game at new Mosaic Stadium

Kevin Glenn is looking forward to a quiet week away from football with his wife and two young kids. A visit to an amusement park might be the only excitement the 38-year-old quarterback sees during the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ bye week.

He has earned every minute of the upcoming relaxation.

Glenn’s veteran leadership willed the Riders to their first victory of the season on Saturday, a 37-20 triumph over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium.

Glenn completed 32-of-43 pass attempts for 380 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two more as the Riders improved to 1-2, the last team in the competitive West Division to crack the win column. Hamilton dropped to 0-2.

“It feels great and a lot better than last week, I will tell you that much,” Glenn said, flanked by his eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. “The type of win we had today after the loss we had last week is big and a shows a lot about the team and the guys in that locker room and the type of character guys that we have.”

Hamilton held an early 7-2 lead after a Glenn pass was intercepted by Justin Rogers and returned 110 yards for a touchdown.

But Glenn responded in a big way and Riders outscored Hamilton 17-3 to close the first half with a 19-10 advantage.

Glenn’s six-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession pushed the Riders in front 9-7. After the teams traded field goals, Glenn threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Bakari Grant.

Halftime didn’t slow Glenn and Riders offence. On their first possession in the third quarter, Glenn marched the team 86 yards and capped the eight-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Duron Carter that made it 26-10.

“I think everyone understands the dynamics of our receiving corps,” Glenn said. “The way our offence works, it can be any different receiver any night.”

Glenn’s favourite target on Saturday was Naaman Roosevelt. The second-year Rider hauled in 10 passes for 167 yards, both game-highs.

Glenn completed passes to seven different receivers.

“We have a great offence?. And we have a great quarterback in KG (Glenn) and he finds all of us,” Roosevelt said. “We just have to get open for him.”

Zach Collaros and the Hamilton offence wasn’t nearly as efficient. Hamilton’s offence has mustered just one touchdown in the team’s first two games of 2017.

“We’re just not executing to a high enough level and it starts with the quarterback,” he said. “I’m not playing well enough for us to win.

“I missed some throws in key situations that could have kept us on the field. That’s on me. I just have to get better.”

Kept out of the end zone in their Week 1 loss to Toronto, Collaros finally guided the Tiger-Cats offence into the end zone when he threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Junior Collins late in the third quarter. That score brought Hamilton to within seven at 27-20.

Collaros completed 19-of-34 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown. Jalen Saunders led Hamilton with 78 receiving yards on six catches.

Again, Glenn had answers after Hamilton got close. The Riders outscored Hamilton 10-0 in the fourth quarter, with a field goal from Tyler Crapigna and Glenn’s second rushing touchdown.

Hamilton defensive back Will Hill was ejected in the third quarter after he appeared to grab an official by his shirt. Hamilton was penalized 20 times for 187 yards.

Head coach Kent Austin said the undisciplined play wasn’t his only concern from the loss.

“We have to re-evaluate everything, look at where we’re playing guys, what we’re doing, what we’re asking them to do,” Austin said. “It still comes down to players making plays on both sides of the ball, and we’re not making good enough plays right now.”

The Riders have a bye in Week 4 before they travel to Calgary in Week 5. Hamilton, meanwhile, will host the B.C. Lions in Week 4.