Roughriders roll over Redblacks to advance to East Final

Ruben Hill
November 13, 2017

Marcus Thigpen scored on a 75-yard touchdown run while quarterback Kevin Glenn was almost ideal, leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 31-20 win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the Eastern Semi-Final.

With the win, the Riders' first of the post-season under second-year head coach Chris Jones, puts the Riders into the Eastern Final, where they'll take on the Toronto Argonauts on November 19.

The Roughriders started the game off right with a six play 79-yard drive down the field, capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bakari Grant to give the green and white an early lead.

The 31-year-old running back made the most of his 15 carries, notching 169 rushing yards on Sunday. He's scheduled to become a free agent in February. The Riders led 21-8 after Crapigna's convert at 10:26 of the second quarter. They earned the East's final playoff seed after amassing more points than the third-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Anyone tuning in to Sunday's game a little late would've missed a pair of teams looking to attack quickly, as each side managed to score a touchdown within the first five minutes of play.

The Redblacks got a 22-yard field goal from Brett Maher after Keelan Johnson forced a fumble on the punt.

The REDBLACKS cut their deficit to two scores when Harris and Criner finally connected in the end zone just inside the two-minute mark, making it a 31-20 ballgame.

Thigpen cemented the win with his TD run on the next possession, putting Saskatchewan ahead 28-11 to the dismay of the TD Stadium sellout of 24,107.

A 44-yard catch by Bakari Grant with 6:10 left in the quarter and a six-yard rush, set up a 1-yard run into the endzone by Vernon Adams, which he got on the second try. After a 37 yard return, Trevor Harris found Diontae Spencer for a 56 yard touchdown.

Harris connected with Criner on the two-point conversion, giving the REDBLACKS an 8-7 lead. Crapigna closed the third quarter with a 31-yard field goal to take the Riders lead up to 31-14. Ottawa's offence had 34 turnovers, third-most overall.

Ottawa marched down to the Saskatchewan 10-yard line, but a bad decision by Harris resulted in an interception by Saskatchewan's Samuel Eguavoen.

Spencer rose high above his defender to haul down a Harris pass near the sidelines, and he contorted his body to make the 33-yard reception before being tackled out of bounds.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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