Riders prevent Eskimos from reaching post-season with win

The Canadian Press
11/6/2010 11:24:38 PM
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REGINA -- Darian Durant threw 345 yards for one touchdown and ran in another as the Saskatchewan Roughriders eliminated the Edmonton Eskimos from the CFL playoffs with a 31-23 win Saturday.

Saskatchewan's offence proved to be nearly unstoppable, racking up 30 points in the second and third quarters, while never turning the ball over and only punting twice during the first 45 minutes.

Despite scoring on their first seven possessions of the game, Saskatchewan was held to two Warren Kean field goals and two singles off missed field goals until Durant found pay dirt from one-yard out with two seconds left in the first half. That cut Edmonton's lead to 16-15 at the half.

Saskatchewan's offence continued it dominance in the third quarter as Wes Cates capped a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to open the third. That touchdown was Cates' lead-leading 16th of the season.

The Rider defence took over the game after that. Tad Kornegay stripped Eskimos quarterback Rickey Ray in the pocket and Ryan Lucas -- playing his first game as a Roughrider -- jumped on the fumble on Edmonton's ensuing possession. Durant found Andy Fantuz in the end zone two plays later to give Saskatchewan a 29-16 lead.

Eddie Johnson's first punt of the game rolled out of bounds just in front of the goal line to set up a safety touch.

Edmonton was poised to get back into the game in the fourth when Ray drove the Eskimos to the Saskatchewan 17-yard line. Cory Huclack, however, recovered Ray's fumble on the tail end of an eight-yard run.

Ray, who missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, scored on a four-yard run to close out the scoring.

Saskatchewan (10-8) now heads into the playoffs on a winning note after dropping four straight games prior to its regular-season finale. Edmonton (7-11) finishes fourth in the West Division.

The Riders will host the B.C. Lions, which defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23-21 earlier on Saturday, in the West semifinal on Nov. 14. The winner will face the Calgary Stampeders in the West final.

NOTES: Barrin Simpson left the game midway in the first quarter and never returned ... The Roughriders possess five league-leaders. Simpson leads the league in tackles (104); Cates in touchdowns (16); Durant in passing yards (5,531), Andy Fantuz in receiving yards (1,380) and James Patrick leads in interceptions (9).

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