REGINA – Rookie slotback Brett Swain caught two touchdown passes to help the Saskatchewan Roughriders upend the Ottawa Redblacks 21-17 on Saturday in a Canadian Football League pre-season game at Mosaic Stadium.
The defending Grey Cup champs yielded the game’s opening 10 points to the expansion Redblacks, but responded with 21 consecutive points to win the pre-season opener for both teams in front of 13, 014 spectators.
Swain’s first touchdown of the game, an 18-yard reception from Darian Durant, gave the Riders a 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter.
The six-foot, 200-pound Swain, a product of San Diego State, hauled in his second touchdown on the Riders’ opening possession of the second half. Rookie quarterback Adam Weber hooked up with Swain on a four-yard score that gave the Riders a 21-10 advantage.
Ottawa quarterback Thomas DeMarco, battling for a spot behind starter Henry Burris, played much of the second half. He found a streaking Travon Patterson for a 60-yard touchdown pass and run that cut the Riders’ lead to 21-17. DeMarco finished his day 4-for-7 passing for 97 yards and one touchdown and one interception.
The contest was less than two minutes old when Ottawa’s Chevon Walker scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge. Kicker Justin Palardy then tacked on a 44-yard field goal and the Redblacks led 10-0 in the first quarter.
Marshay Green brought Riders fans to their feet with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first quarter put the Riders on the scoreboard with less than one minute to go in the first quarter.
Durant was under centre for the Roughriders in the second quarter and engineered a 91-yard touchdown drive, which was punctuated with an 18-yard pass to Swain.
Durant was sharp in his limited duty. He completed 7-of-8 pass attempts for 76 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Henry Burris started for Ottawa and was 5-for-6 passing for 40 yards.
Next up for the Riders is a home game on Friday versus the Edmonton Eskimos. The Redblacks will visit the Montreal Alouettes, also on Friday.
© The Canadian Press, 2014