Calgary edges Saskatchewan to reach West Final
Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - Drew Tate fired the game-winning 68-yard touchdown pass to Romby Bryant with 20 seconds remaining and the Calgary Stampeders escaped with a 36-30 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division semifinals at McMahon Stadium on Sunday.
After Darian Durant threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Greg Carr with 52 seconds to play, the Stamps began their decisive drive at the 29-yard line.
Tate threw an incompletion on first down, but then hit Marquay McDaniel for 13 yards and a huge 2nd-down conversion.
On the next play, Tate lofted it deep down the right sideline for a wide open Bryant, who rumbled all the way to the end zone, sending the Stamps to a West Division Final matchup with the defending Grey Cup champion British Columbia Lions next week.
Tate finished with 363 yards and two majors on 22-of-36 passing, while Jon Cornish ran for 109 yards on 18 carries for the Stamps, who defeated Saskatchewan in the postseason for the first time since 1994.
Bo Levi Mitchell ran for two scores, Jabari Arthur hauled in a touchdown pass and Maurice Price caught six balls for 117 yards in the victory.
Durant threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns on 23-of-34 passing, while Carr and Kory Sheets both added a pair of touchdown receptions in the setback.
Saskatchewan opened the scoring late in the first quarter when Sandro DeAngelis capped a 6-play, 45-yard march with a 29-yard field goal, giving the Riders a 3-0 lead with 19 seconds to play in the opening frame.
Calgary answered on its ensuing touch with an efficient 7-play, 51-yard drive to the Saskatchewan one before Mitchell capped it with a 1-yard TD plunge, putting the Stamps up, 7-3.
After forcing a punt, the Stamps got the ball back on their own 23. Four plays later, Tate found Arthur all alone in the end zone for an easy 38-yard throw and catch, making it 14-3 with just over six minutes to play before halftime.
On the ensuing Saskatchewan possession, Durant hit Sheets for an 11-yard TD strike to finish off a 7-play, 75-yard drive, cutting the deficit to 14-10 with 2:37 left in the half.
After forcing a Calgary punt, the Roughriders got the ball back on their own 45 with 1:26 left. Four plays later, Durant connected with Sheets again, this time on a 3-yard touchdown pass to put Saskatchewan in front 16-14.
DeAngelis fumbled the hold on the extra point try, and it was scooped up by Bennett, who took it 96 yards the other way for a safety and a 16-16 tie.
Rene Paredes capped the wild two-plus minutes by booting a 50-yard field goal into the wind as time expired, giving the Stampeders a 19-16 margin.
Calgary expanded its lead to 26-16 late in the third quarter when Mitchell capped an extensive 10-play, 83-yard march with a 1-yard touchdown push.
Midway through the final quarter, the Roughriders drew to within 26-23 when Durant ended a short 3-play drive following a fumble, with an 8-yard touchdown strike to Carr.
Paredes booted a 40-yarder just inside the left upright, extending the lead to 29-23, and leaving the Roughriders with just 1:22 to make a comeback.
Saskatchewan, though, needed just three plays to take a brief lead as Durant connected with Carr for a 24-yard TD strike and a tentative 30-29 lead.
Calgary beat the Roughriders in two of three regular season meetings ... Saskatchewan had won the past five consecutive playoff matchups ... The Stampeders improved to 8-0 this season when leading at halftime.