REGINA – It was a battle of which defence was going to hold on longer and when the final whistle blew it was the Saskatchewan Roughriders holding onto a 17-1 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in front of 31,459 at Mosaic Field in Regina.
It has been a defensive battle from the beggining with both teams combining for 10 quarterback sacks.
Both offences got off to a sluggish start with penalties taking centre stage but the Riders would get on the board first with under a minute left in the opening quarter when K Chris Milo hit a 32-yard field goal to put Saskatchewan up 3-0.
The Eskimos passing game just couldn’t seem to get in a rhythm, leading to starter Steven Jyles being pulled midway through the second quarter for backup Kerry Joseph.
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No stranger to Rider Nation, Joseph remains a hero in Regina after leading them to a Grey Cup Championship and earning a Most Outstanding Player award back in 2007.
Jyles tried numerous times to stretch the Riders defence, throwing deep balls that either sailed just over or just under his intended receivers. He finished the first half with 26 yards on only 3 of 10 passing.
After his first drive stalled, Joseph had great field position – after the Riders were pinned deep – scrimmaging from the Saskatchewan 37 yard line but after the first rushing attempt by Hugh Charles was snuffed out by the Riders d-line, DE Brent Hawkins pounced on a fumble to put Darian Durant at the home offence back on the field.
They too were confused by the Eskimos defence as after trading punt singles and the Eskimos conceding a safety, the teams went into halftime with the Riders up by a narrow 4-1 margin.
Jyles returned to start the second half and led an impressive drive to start but the Esks’ best chance to put more points in the board to that point was taken away when Grant Shaw missed a long field goal, sailing it wide right.