The Saskatchewan Roughriders recovered their offence in a 29-24 win over the host Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.
After getting shut out 31-0 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their previous game, the Roughriders kept Calgary’s defence on the field and generated points from long drives.
“They’re the most solid, top to bottom, over the last 10, 12 years so it’s good to be able to come here and get the win in their place,” Saskatchewan head coach Chris Jones said.
“We asserted ourselves from the word ‘go.”
Saskatchewan (11-6) has a playoff berth locked down, but whether it will be at home or away has yet to be determined. The Roughriders have one game remaining in the regular season Saturday against the B.C. Lions.
The Stampeders (12-4) have lost two in a row at home. Calgary can still clinch first in the West Division with a win in one of its two remaining games, or with a Roughrider loss Saturday.
“It’s just important to get back on the winning track,” Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson said. “I want to win the west with a win. I know it’s going to be tough as well. Now we’re on the road again.
“Our team is building. We’re not where we need to be. We’ll never win it unless we get better.”
Calgary concludes the regular season on the road Friday in Winnipeg and Nov. 3 in Vancouver against the Lions.
Winnipeg and B.C. (9-7) are tied for third in the division ahead of the Edmonton Eskimos (8-9). A West Division team will cross over and claim a playoff spot in the East this season.
The Roughriders won the season series against Calgary 2-1 and could conceivably overtake the Stampeders atop the division. But Saskatchewan needs to win its last game and for the Stamps to lose out.
“If we were worried about that, we should have took care of that the first part of the season,” Jones said. “All we can worry about is what we control, try to come out next week and beat a very good B.C. team.”
Saskatchewan quarterback Zach Collaros completed 24 of 35 pass attempts for 352 yards. He had been pulled in the third quarter against Winnipeg.
“He’s from Steubenville, Ohio, and they don’t make soft people from Steubenville, Ohio,” Jones said. “He would always bounce back.
“Zach made good reads and good throws and I thought our receivers made some fantastic catches.”
Tre Mason and Nick Marshall scored rushing touchdown for the Roughriders. Brett Lauther kicked field goals from 50, 49, 31, 27 and 20 yards.
Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell went 18-for-25 for 221 yards, which put him over 5,000 in a season for the second time in his career. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and was intercepted once.
Calgary’s Romar Morris returned a punt for a touchdown. Lemar Durant and Markeith Ambles each had touchdown catches for the Stampeders.
Don Jackson added a two-point convert and Rene Paredes kicked a 25-yard field goal in front of an announced 30,868 at McMahon Stadium.
Saskatchewan’s time of possession was 34 minutes 40 seconds compared to Calgary’s 25:20.
“Unfortunately the defence, that’s been holding us in all year, we just couldn’t get off the field,” Dickenson said. “They made all the plays.”
The Roughriders were minus CFL sack leader Charleston Hughes, who was pulled from Saturday’s game by the team after he was charged with impaired driving and failure to provide a sample for breath analysis.
Mitchell was not sacked in the game.
A two-point convert that would have pulled Calgary within a field goal was challenged and overturned late in the fourth quarter when it was ruled Ambles didn’t cross the goal-line.
Ambles had just caught a 13-yard pass from Mitchell for a touchdown.
Trailing 22-18 late in the third quarter, Calgary turned the ball over when Roughrider safety Mike Edem intercepted Mitchell throwing to Eric Rogers in the end zone.
“If they score right there, I mean, it’s a different football game,” Jones said.