Redemption for 'Riders' coach

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

Nobody had a bigger smile than Saskatchewan Rough-riders' head coach Kent Austin.

The rookie head coach was redeemed under the dome yesterday, 13 years after he finished the Grey Cup on the sidelines.

Austin was the B.C. Lions' No. 1 quarterback and his current boss Eric Tillman was general manager when B.C. beat the Baltimore CFLers at B.C. Place Stadium in 1994. It was the last Grey Cup featuring the host city's team. But three interceptions caused then Lions' head coach Dave Ritchie to make the switch to Danny McManus. Lui Passaglia eventually kicked the winning field goal to keep the cup in Canada.

Austin got to hoist the Cup, but not as high and as proud as Danny Mac.

Austin was already a legend on the flatlands after quarterbacking the Riders' to their 1989 Grey Cup victory in Toronto with an MVP performance.

Tillman missed the west final and stayed in Regina on doctor's advice after chest pains. Ritchie, now B.C.'s defensive co-ordinator, and Austin were on opposite sidelines yesterday. After it was over, Ritchie made his way to the Riders' dressing room to congratulate his former protege and wish him well in Sunday's Grey Cup. This time he will be content to pace the sidelines.

JINX STINKS

Yesterday, the B.C. Lions ended the drive for five they didn't want to take.

The franchise, which began play in 1954, failed to defend the Grey Cup in 1965, 1986, 1995, 2001 and now 2007.

FELIONS TO THE RESCUE

Funniest sight of the game: Felions cheerleaders waving their arms and pom-poms in a desperate attempt to quiet some of the 54,712 fans who decided to do the Wave during a late third quarter Lions' possession.

The Wave made its Canadian debut at Empire Stadium, thanks to its inventor "Krazy George" Henderson. He unveiled it during a Lions' game just a few weeks after it was premiered at the Oakland Coliseum on Oct. 15, 1981.

THE BROTHER BOWL

Last year it was B.C. Lion Aaron Hunt who went to the Grey Cup and was named rookie of the year. This year his bro Reggie is going to the big game. The elder Hunt led the Roughriders with four tackles and a sack. The Leos' Hunt had a knockdown and tackle.

QB QUOTES:

Jarious Jackson on being pulled: "I was surprised [to be pulled]. As I've always spoke before this is Wally's team, he calls the shots. You just have to live with it and move on."

Dave Dickenson on his relief performance: "I feel bad, I kinda let the guys down, I felt like I could be the spark."

Kerry Joseph on dealing with the crowd noise: "We felt comfortable with it coming in. We didn't panic, we knew we had a plan and we just had to execute it."


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