Stamps, Riders light it up in OT

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

The Wild West showdown was so thrilling, it would be a shame someone had to lose.

So nobody did.

The Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders showcased the CFL at its finest yesterday afternoon at McMahon Stadium with a heavyweight slugfest that ended in a 44-44 tie.

The first-place battle in front of a crowd of 38,623 had everything a CFL fan could want.

There were four overtime touchdowns, a blocked convert that was called back due to 'pyramiding' and a tying two-point conversion near the end of regulation.

When the smoke cleared, neither team was satisfied because the two clubs remain tied atop the West Division standings with identical 8-6-1 records.

"It's mixed emotions," said Stamps QB Henry Burris, who went 23-of-34 for 285 yards and two TDs with one interception.

"Right now, it's a dogfight for the final three games. We wanted to get the two points because that would have been huge for us.

"You feel like you've won, but then you see the scoreboard and it says otherwise. It allows us to stay focused on the task at hand. We have to do whatever it takes to get the first-round bye."

Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds ran for three touchdowns and had 184 yards from scrimmage, while fullback Chris Szarka had three majors along the ground for the Riders.

The Stamps built an eight-point lead at the three-minute warning of regulation, but then Darian Durant took control.

The Saskatchewan quarterback engineered an eight-play, 67-yard drive and finished it by hitting Andy Fantuz with a 25-yard TD strike.

On the two-point conversion, Durant found Rob Bagg in the end zone to even it 30-30.

The Stamps got the ball first in the extra session, and were seemingly done after Burris was sacked twice.

On the second sack, Riders defensive end John Chick hit Burris while he was on the ground, getting an unnecessary roughness penalty.

With the drive extended, Burris hit Rob Cote on a go-ahead TD, but Durant replied with another march for Szarka's third major.

More craziness followed, as Calgary defensive end Tearrius George looked to have blocked the tying convert, but was called for using another player for elevation.

"I will be very frank -- we were fortunate in our first possession of overtime," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel.

"We got lucky. We had another opportunity and made it count. We put the ball in the end zone."

On the second overtime possession, Chris Getzlaf took a swing pass from Durant and dipsy-doodled through traffic for the go-ahead score. It was the Riders' first lead of the game.

However, Burris replied with a five-yard pass to Brett Ralph to knot it up and send the fans home entertained but unsatisfied.

"The only guys feeling good right now are Wally Buono and Richie Hall," Hufnagel said about the tie, referring to the head coaches of the B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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