REGINA – It wasn’t perfect but the Saskatchewan Roughriders reached the CFL’s West Division final with a 33-30 overtime victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the West semifinal on Sunday.
Both teams kicked field goals in their initial overtime possessions to make the score 30-30.
Calgary had the ball first in the second overtime and kicker Rene Paredes missed a 44-yard field goal, giving the Riders the opportunity to win the game on their possession.
After two runs by William Powell, Brett Lauther kicked a 34-yard field goal to give the Riders (9-5 in the regular season) the victory over the Stampeders (8-6).
The Riders advance to the West final in Winnipeg on Dec. 5 against the first-place Blue Bombers, which finished the regular season with an 11-3 record.
The Stamps and Riders combined for eight turnovers, six of which came in a sloppy first half.
Riders quarterback Cody Fajardo was intercepted four times while Bo Levi Mitchell was picked off twice. The Stampeders also turned the ball over once on downs and lost one fumble.
Paredes forced overtime when he connected on a 47-yard field goal with 59 seconds left in regulation time. He hit 44-of-48 field-goal attempts in the regular season but struggled Sunday, converting five of his eight field-goal attempts.
Lauther was good on four-of-five field-goal attempts.
Fajardo went 22 of 33 for 189 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. His biggest contribution was with his legs, as he gained 82 yards on 10 carries.
Mitchell was 26 of 36 for 285 yards and two interceptions. Tailback Ka’Deem Carey had a strong game, gaining 117 yards on 22 carries while scoring two touchdowns for Calgary.
Rider Nation celebrates win
Saskatchewan Roughriders fans spilled outside the gates of Mosaic Stadium with nothing but excitement and loud cheers after the win.
“This is just the most unbelievable thing,” fan Corey Ginther said. “This is so good, I’m just so happy. We’re going to Winnipeg — we are definitely going to Winnipeg. I’m so stoked. So worth it. (Fajardo) threw four interceptions, and we still won the game.”
“I love Cody Fajardo,” Ginther added, his voice cracking from the excitement.
Some fans also felt the nerves right up until the end of the game.
“When it went into overtime, I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’ nervous. But they’re the Riders. … They pulled it out,” Natasha Harrison said.
“During the game, I thought we had no chance to win,” Jamie Fiesel said. “I’m an avid fan and I was not seeing it. Somehow, because we’re Rider fans — that’s why we always show up — we find a way. We did today.”
— with files from Global News
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.