The Saskatchewan Roughriders lost to the BC Lions, 31-30, in Sunday Canadian Football League action on a last second, 42 yard field goal by Paul McCallum. The Riders and Lions are now both 8-4 with 16 points and trail the Calgary Stampeders (9-3, 18 points) by two points in the West Division.
The Riders battled back from a nine point third quarter deficit to take a 22-21 lead with only 38 seconds remaining in the game. The score came on a Darian Durant to Weston Dressler eight yard pass and seemed to have sealed the win for Saskatchewan.
Thomas Demarco had other plans. The rookie quarterback got the start for BC over veteran Buck Pierce in place of the injured Travis Lulay, and delivered a solid effort. Trailing on the road by two with only 38 seconds left, Demarco moved the Lions to within field goal range, setting up the 42 yard attempt that would send the Riders down to defeat.
For the game Demarco was 18 of 33 for 208 yards with two touchdowns, but more importantly didn’t turn the ball over. He didn’t have much rushing support, 67 yards on 14 attempts, but played well enough to keep his team close and protected the ball. Shawn Gore was his top receiver with six catches for 74 yards and a score. McCallum was 3 for 3 in field goals, 2 for 2 on extra point attempts and accounted for 11 points.
With running back Kory Sheets out due to an injury the Riders had to rely on the air attack. Durant threw the ball on 52 of the 66 offensive plays the team ran. He had 35 completions for 326 yards and two TDs, but also had two unforced fumbles on handoffs, losing both. Taj Smith led Rider receivers with 10 catches for 104 yards.
Related: Roughriders vs. Lions Preview
Due to injuries on both sides to major offensive weapons, this one figured to be more a defensive struggle that would be decided by which team made the fewest mistakes. On this day, that would be the BC Lions. In addition to the two lost fumbles by the Riders, kicker Chris Milo missed two field goal attempts, both bouncing off the right upright.
Saskatchewan now goes on the road for games with Montreal (9/29) and a rematch with BC (10/4).
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