REGINA – Quarterback Darian Durant doesn’t care how his team wins football games — as long as they keep winning.
Debuting their signature alternate neon green jerseys on Saturday, Durant’s Saskatchewan Roughriders posted a fourth straight victory with a 16-11 win over the Montreal Alouettes in a game that proved to be an offensive struggle for both teams.
While the Riders’ last two wins haven’t exactly been pretty, Durant said he is happy to take the points.
“We’re winning and we’re beating some pretty good teams,” said the 31-year-old QB, who completed 19 of 30 pass attempts for 221 yards. “As long as we win games, it doesn’t matter how you win it. I think our day will come where we fill up the stat sheet. But if we win then I’m happy.”
Durant hooked up with Rob Bagg on a 30-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the home team a 12-4 lead that proved to be the difference in the game.
“It was a perfectly thrown ball and it seemed to hang in the air forever. I just had to run and go get it,” said Bagg, who caught six passes for 90 yards. “We ran a similar play several times earlier in the game and Darian is just great at reading the play and putting the ball in a good spot.”
Montreal’s Duron Carter kept the sellout crowd of 33,427 in their seats rather than heading for the exits late in the fourth quarter. Carter returned a missed field goal attempt 123 yards for a touchdown with 3:14 remaining and brought the Als to within two at 12-10.
With his offence scuffling, Montreal head coach Tom Higgins elected to kick the single point rather than attempt a two-point convert that could have tied the score.
“There was way too much football left to be played,” Higgins explained. “A two-point convert, you’re looking at a 50-50 or 60-40 (percentage of success). I chose to take the 99.9 per cent chance in that we were going to score the single point and that we were going to get the football back.
“We weren’t going for the tie. We wanted to win this football game.”
Instead, the Als dropped their fifth consecutive contest and now sport a 1-6 record. The Riders (5-2) have moved into a tie for third place in the CFL’s West Division standings.
Montreal’s struggles on offence continued on Saturday. The offence has mustered just one touchdown since Week 3.
Alex Brink started at quarterback in place of the injured Troy Smith and was 19-for-31 passing for 187 yards and one interception. He also posted a team-high 32 yards rushing. Carter caught seven passes for 69 yards, but the Als’ offence didn’t sniff the end zone on this night.
“You have to score in this league in order to be able to win,” Higgins said. “Thank goodness we scored on special teams. Obviously, yes, it is a concern. But you have to feel some sense of relief in the fact that we moved the football. I think we started to press a little in the second half and it wasn’t as smooth for Alex as it was in the first half.”
Montreal will visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday, while the Riders will travel to Vancouver to take on the B.C. Lions on Sunday.
© The Canadian Press, 2014