Riders 2010 Canada Day barnburner ‘by far’ the best regular season game Darian Durant ever played

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

It’s been 10 years since the most epic Canada Day game ever in the CFL.

July 1, 2010. Grey Cup rematch. Montreal Alouettes. Saskatchewan Roughriders. Sold out old Mosaic Stadium.

The combatants opened the CFL season with a barnburner.

The Als flew out to a 33-12 advantage led by Hall of Fame quarterback Anthony Calvillo. The Riders reeled off three straight touchdown drives guided by Darian Durant to tie the game 33 all in the fourth quarter.

“Especially being in Saskatchewan, a community-owned team everyone in that province they love the Riders. Every single Canada day was amazing. The league did a great job of making sure we had a marquee matchup every year,” Durant said on the Growing the Game podcast.

After trading touchdowns in the final five minutes of regulation, overtime was needed to decide a winner. In the shootout style, Durant hit Andy Fantuz for the go-ahead touchdown and found Chris Getzlaf on the two-point convert play. Calvillo responded by spotting S.J. Green for a major and went back to him again for the two-point convert — one of the greatest grabs in CFL history tied the game 48 apiece.

“S.J. is probably the only guy that I know that could make a catch like that,” Durant said.

After kicker Damon Duval converted a field goal on Montreal’s second OT possession, it allowed Saskatchewan the chance for a walk-off win. Durant dropped a ball in for a diving Weston Dressler which netted 32 yards. The next snap, the franchise quarterback threaded a low throw to Dressler who made a sliding reception for the game-winning touchdown — 54-51 Riders the final.

Durant threw for 481 yards and five touchdowns, four of which came in the second half and overtime as Saskatchewan scored 44 points in the final 30 minutes and overtime combined. The dual-threat QB rushed five times for 52 yards and one touchdown in what Durant called “by far” the best regular season game he ever played.

“First and foremost you have to look at the situation going into the game, with the Grey Cup the previous year and how that ended, we all know how that one ended,” Durant said referring to the 13th man error made in the 2009 CFL championship loss, 28-27 to the same Alouettes.

“We wanted redemption, we wanted to show that we should have been champions and we had the perfect opportunity. To start off as sluggish as we did, we didn’t come out with the energy that I thought we had, but the way we finished that game, the way we just exploded in the second half, it was amazing.”

Saskatchewan will always remember Durant’s Canada Day comeback as part of his legendary career on the prairies.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.