REGINA – The Saskatchewan Roughriders came back late to beat the Edmonton Elks 12-11 at Mosaic Stadium on Thursday.
With the Raiders leading 11-3 with less than three minutes remaining, quarterback Trevor Harris led the Raiders down to score the tie at 11 with a touchdown pass to Mitchell Picton and a two-point conversion. Refers to Kendall Watson.
A red on the ensuing kickoff gave the home team the lead, to the delight of the Regina fans, and defensive back Nick Marshall stopped the Elks’ drive with an interception for the win.
Harris started his 100th Major League game and finished 19 of 29 for 289 yards, a touchdown and an interception as the Rajonans advanced to 3-1.
Edmonton dominated most of the games but failed to convert that into more than four singles and a touchdown as Taylor Cornelius added now champion 0-5 Elk.
Running back Kevin Brown added 65 yards on 15 carries in the losing effort for Verts et Or.
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After two of the contestants come out to open the game, Cornelius and Ilks get down to business. A pivotal spin and eight counted with his legs before finding Stephen Dunbar Jr. open to move the ball into midfield. It gave the No. 15 jersey another chance to use his legs again and convert his second into three tries. The drive stalled on the kicker’s 25-yard line and Faithfull missed a large run to the left to make it 1-0 in favor of the visitors.
Harris and Co. He returned to the field and used the ground game. First it was Jamal Morrow and then Frankie Hickson who amassed plenty of yardage as the inside zone cut through the Edmonton defensive line. The running game gave the Knights the opportunity to fake a drive and Harris found Samuel Emelos wide open to carry it to the Elks 23-yard line. Then the Saskatchewan center connected Tevin Jones at the five-yard line before hitting back-to-back green and gold on third down. The Raiders offense remained in the game and Harris’ failure to complete the search for Jones returned the ball to Edmonton.
The Elks had to pass the ball to the home team after two first downs, but their defense rose again when Leonard Streep sacked Harris to give the ball to Edmonton at the Saskatchewan 40-yard line.
A 36-yard touchdown pass from Cornelius to Dunbar Jr. after a holding call was wiped out on Edmonton’s offensive line and Chris Jones’ team had to settle for another field goal attempt. Faithfull missed his second attempt of the game and returner Mario Alvord ran the other way for the score that would give the returners their first lead of the game. Is it because the penalty for postponing at the beginning of the academic year invalidates the major?
After another Raiders punt, Cornelius moved the strings several times, but a touchdown on second putt forced the Ailex to settle for the third hole, this time on an 82-yard putt by Jake Julien to make the score 3-0.
With 2:03 left in the first half, Harris and the offense got going last. He found Picton first for a 39-yard gain. After two completions, a first and 10 from the 11-yard line, but once again Edmonton’s defense shut the door and forced a third down. This time, Brett Luther tied the game late in the first period.
Did someone say red? Cornelius and the Elks walked enough for another single to open the second half as Julien threw 56 yards and into the Saskatchewan end zone to regain a 4-3 lead.
Two more points from Harris and the Riders gave Edmonton a chance to extend the lead. They did just that after Shannon Brooks caught a 31-yard pass to carry it to the Saskatchewan 30-yard line. A later score came via a quarterback clip by Cornelius from six-foot-five to extend the lead to 11-3.
It looked like the Knights were going to strike back with their own kick, but Lewis intercepted Harris in the end zone to keep his team’s lead intact.
The two teams traded punts for much of the final quarter until the Knights realized what seemed impossible.
It all started with Harris scrambling to find Jones on the right side and moving the ball to his own 38-yard line. The veteran then called his number for another first before handing it off to Morrow for another nine yards on the ground. The run canceled out the third two runs later, and found Saskatchewan central Picton in the end zone to put his team within two points of a tie. And the connection they made to Harris Watson’s relationship for two.
As overtime approached, the Knights found an unlikely way to take the lead as returner CJ Sims allowed the ball to bounce into the end zone on Saskatchewan’s first kickoff that ended up making the difference.
The Elks came close to goal with less than a minute to play, but Marshall intercepted a late effort by Cornelius to seal the win for Saskatchewan.
Teams that got a bye are now 4-0 heading into the week off in 2023. Coach Craig Dickinson improved to 8-1 against Edmonton.
The Elks will be back in action next Thursday, July 13, when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Commonwealth Stadium. The Knights have nine days until their next game when they host the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday, July 15th.