'Gades pull a shocker in Regina

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

REGINA -- Renegades 21, Roughriders 16

It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly.

But no matter what it looked like, the bottom line is the Ottawa Renegades escaped with their first win at Taylor Field in franchise history.

And they'll take it.

Ottawa got an outstanding effort from its defence and beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-16 last night.

The win gave the 'Gades a 3-2 record and a share of first place in the East Division with the Toronto Argonauts.

The Riders lost their second straight and dropped to 3-3.

"It's always huge when you can win in Regina," said Renegades coach Joe Paopao. "We found a way to do it. The defence kept us in it.

"It's a huge win for us, but now we have to get ready for Hamilton (next Saturday)."

Trailing 9-2 at the half, the Renegades got touchdowns in the third quarter from quarterback Kerry Joseph and linebacker Kyries Hebert to take the lead. After Riders kicker Paul McCallum conceeded a safety early in the second half, the Renegades took the lead on a 20-yard touchdown run by Joseph.

Then they got their biggest play from the defence when Anthony Collier intercepted a shovel pass by Riders quarterback Nealon Greene and returned the ball 45 yards to the left sideline before flipping the ball to Hebert, who covered the remaining 22 yards for the major.

Three plays earlier, Renegades punter Pat Fleming made one of the biggest plays of the game, tackling the ever-dangerous Corey Holmes near midfield just as it looked like the Saskatchewan returner would break through for a touchdown.

After Hebert's major, rookie Ottawa placekicker Mark Irvin, making his CFL debut, kicked a 31-yard field goal early in the fourth to give the Renegades a 21-9 advantage.

Greene, the Riders QB, completed 17-of-32 passes for 139 yards with three interceptions before being replaced by backup Marcus Crandell with 11 minutes remaining in the final quarter.

Crandell led the Riders on a drive, but receiver Jamal Richardson fumbled after a hit by Korey Banks at the Ottawa 22 and it was recovered by defensive back Quincy Coleman.

The offence got the ball with seven minutes left and took five minutes off the clock on an 11-play drive.

The Riders had 100 seconds left for a miracle comeback, but couldn't make it happen.

Elijah Thurmon scored a 16-yard touchdown catch with 24 seconds remaining for Saskatchewan.

The Riders then recovered an onside kick at their own 51.

NO LAST-SECOND MIRACLE

With 10 seconds left and on third down, Crandell couldn't connect on a deep pass to Richardson, and the game was over.

Saskatchewan held a 273-54 edge in total yards in the first half and racked up 15 first downs to just two for Ottawa. But the Renegades defence kept the Riders out of the end zone -- and Ottawa in the game.

McCallum booted field goals from 40 and 35 yards in the first quarter, and added a 25-yarder early in the second to get the Riders a 9-0 lead.

But on the fourth field-goal attempt of the half, holder Rocky Butler dropped the snap and was tackled by the Renegades for a loss.

Ottawa got a lift from the turnover and started its first drive of the game, with Josh Ranek running for Ottawa's initial first down of the game with seven minutes in the half.

The drive stalled, but Pat Fleming got the Renegades out of trouble with a 51-yard punt that pinned the Riders at their own one.

The Ottawa defence held, and McCallum conceded a safety to give the Renegades their first score.

Saskatchewan had a chance to get a touchdown in the dying seconds of the half, but Banks made his second interception of the half in the end zone with five seconds left.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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