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Lauther's field goal on final play rallies Riders to 33-30 win over Ticats

HAMILTON — Another week, another incredible comeback win for quarterback Trevor Harris and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Brett Lauther's 43-yard field goal on the final play earned Saskatchewan a stunning 33-30 victory over Hamilton on Sunday night.
Hamilton Tiger Cats fullback James Tuck (40) collides with Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Marcus Sayles (8) during first half CFL football action in Hamilton, Ont., Sunday, June 16, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

HAMILTON — Another week, another incredible comeback win for quarterback Trevor Harris and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Brett Lauther's 43-yard field goal on the final play earned Saskatchewan a stunning 33-30 victory over Hamilton on Sunday night. The Riders outscored the Tiger-Cats 16-3 in the fourth quarter to secure the improbable win.

Last week, Saskatchewan (2-0) forced three fourth-quarter turnovers and outscored Edmonton 21-3 in the final 15 minutes in a 29-21 road win.

"We're just a group that believes in one another," said Harris. "We're going to stick to the plan and never going to flinch.

"We're building something special here and we have a group that just flat out won't flinch."

Harris was again a pivotal figure for the Riders, completing 32-of-45 passes for 390 yards and two TDs. He helped Saskatchewan outscore Hamilton 26-10 in the second half.

"We just have to make sure we have our energy higher early," Harris said. "You've got to give their defence credit, they did a good job.

"But we have to do a better job of executing throughout the game and not just give everybody a heart attack."

Saskatchewan completed its comeback despite injuries to receivers Shawn Bane Jr. and Jerreth Sterns, and offensive lineman Phillip Blake.

Lauther's boot was set up by C.J. Avery's interception at the Hamilton 37-yard line with 35 seconds to play. Ticats quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw to Tim White, who tried to make a diving catch but the ball bounced off him into the air, allowing Avery to make the play.

The loss tarnished a solid effort by Mitchell, who was 27-of-38 passing for 380 yards and three TDs for Hamilton (0-2).

"First thing I did was walk up to (White) and just tell him, ' (No.) 12, you're the best on the team, I'm coming back to you in that situation every single time,'" Mitchell said. "That's never going to change, never going to falter.

"It's tough to move on, I get that. But he'll see it, he'll learn from it and this team is going to stay together and pick him up."

Marc Liegghio's 41-yard field goal at 9:28 of the fourth put Hamilton ahead 30-20 before 22,313 spectators at Tim Hortons Field. Lauther's 34-yard kick at 11:20 pulled the Riders to within 30-23.

Harris's 10-yard TD pass to Kian Schaffer-Baker at 14:17 tied the score 30-30. It capped an impressive 88-yard, seven-play drive.

Saskatchewan remained unbeaten under first-year head coach Corey Mace despite taking 11 penalties for 115 yards. Hamilton wasn't much better, flagged nine times for 100 yards.

"We've got a lot of things we've got to handle," Mace said. "We've got a penalty problem, we had some busts on defence that were costly.

"The injuries … but at the end of it I keep trying to remind myself we finished 1-0 this week in an adverse situation on the road yet again."

Schaffer-Baker, with two, and Shea Patterson scored Saskatchewan's touchdowns. Lauther had three converts and four field goals, his 46-yard boot at 1:44 of the fourth cut Hamilton's lead to 27-20.

Steven Dunbar Jr., Kiondre Smith and Shemar Bridges had Hamilton's touchdowns. Liegghio booted the converts and three field goals.

Mitchell hit Bridges on a 16-yard TD strike at 13:25 of the third to put Hamilton ahead 27-17. It followed a bizarre sequence where Saskatchewan's C.J. Revis recovered a James Butler fumble at the Ticats' 36-yard line.

But Revis had lost his helmet before the recovery and was penalized for illegal participation. That gave Hamilton possession at its 36-yard line, setting up Mitchell's toss to complete a three-play, 75-yard march that included Smith's 59-yard catch off a flea flicker.

Lauther kicked a 49-yard field goal at 2:44 of the third. Patterson pulled Saskatchewan to within 20-17 with a one-yard TD run at 8:13.

Liegghio's 40-yard field goal at 13:41 of the second gave Hamilton its 20-7 halftime advantage. Saskatchewan was flagged seven times for 75 yards, including two 15-yard misconduct calls, in the half.

Saskatchewan drove to the Hamilton 36-yard line late in the second but a holding penalty with four seconds left took the Riders out of field goal range. Instead of having the ball at the Ticats' 40, Saskatchewan faced third-and-27 at the 53 and Harris's ensuing pass fell incomplete.

Mitchell's 38-yard pass to Smith at 9:28 put Hamilton ahead 17-7. Mitchell found an open Dunbar on a 60-yard TD strike to give Hamilton a 10-7 lead just 21 seconds into the second.

Harris put Saskatchewan ahead 7-3 with a 24-yard TD pass to Schaffer-Baker at 11:25 of the first.

Liegghio's 13-yard field goal at 5:41 finished an 11-play, 76-yard drive. But it followed White dropping a Mitchell TD pass after the two connected earlier on 17-yard, third-down completion.


The Tiger-Cats travel to Regina on Sunday (June 23) for a rematch with the Roughriders, who will be playing their first game at home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2024.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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