The Saskatchewan Roughriders closed out their CFL season series with a 23-16 road win over the injury-stricken B.C. Lions on Friday night at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
Kian Schaffer-Baker and Tevin Jones had touchdowns for Saskatchewan, while Brett Lauther connected on all three of his field-goal attempts and added a convert. Jacob Scarfone caught a touchdown pass for B.C., while Sean Whyte went 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts.
In his first CFL start following last week’s injury to B.C.’s Nathan Rourke, Michael O’Connor went 6-for-15 for 94 yards. He was replaced by Antonio Pipkin with 8:21 left to play in the second quarter. Pipkin went 9-for-17 in the air for 112 yards, and also ran for 26 yards.
Rourke had surgery on Friday to repair the Lisfranc sprain in his right foot.
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On the Lions’ opening drive, O’Connor moved the ball efficiently into scoring position. Following a 17-yard kickoff return by Loucheiz Purifoy, the 26-year-old connected with Bryan Burnham and Lucky Whitehead as part of a 46-yard drive that led to a Whyte field goal, just 2:29 into the game.
There was no further scoring in the first quarter.
Saskatchewan posted its first points of the game with 8:35 left to play in the first half, when Brett Lauther connected on a 20-yard field goal after Fajardo hit Schaffer-Baker with a 49-yard dart that took the Riders down to the B.C. 13-yard line.
On the Lions’ next possession, Antonio Pipkin took over at quarterback, after O’Connor suffered a reported groin injury on a hard hit from Saskatchewan’s Darnell Sankey on the previous drive, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
The Riders quickly got the ball back, then scored the first major of the game with 3:57 left before halftime, when Fajardo connected with a wide-open Schaffer-Baker for an 89-yard scoring play.
Trailing for the first time in the game, Pipkin efficiently moved the ball downfield. But a pass attempt to Rhymes in the end zone failed, leading to a third field goal for Whyte.
Taking over with 1:17 remaining before halftime, the Riders quickly moved into field-goal position. Lauther hit his second of the game to give the visitors a 13-9 lead as they headed into the locker room.
Lauther added another field goal midway through the third quarter. With 1:01 remaining, Fajardo finished off a strong sequence of passes with a 26-yarder to Jones, pushing the lead to 23-9.
In the fourth, Pipkin prourut together a strong passing drive then, from the seven-yard-line, scrambled out of the pocket to hit Scarfone in the end zone, cutting the lead to a single possession with 5:59 left to play. But they couldn’t get any closer.
The Riders improve to 6-5 for the season, while the Lions fall to 8-2.
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