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Playoff-bound Roughriders beat Eskimos, who miss playoffs

Nov 7, 2010 - 6:25 AM Regina, SK (Sports Network) - Darian Durant threw for 345 yards and a touchdown, leading playoff-bound Saskatchewan to a regular season-ending 31-23 win over the Edmonton Eskimos, who were knocked out of the postseason picture.

Durant completed 26-of-38 passes for the Roughriders (10-8), who had lost their previous four, although they had a playoff spot locked up regardless of Saturday's result. With Edmonton's loss and British Columbia's win earlier in the day, Saskatchewan will play the Lions in next week's division semifinals.

"We'll be happy to host B.C. next week," said Roughriders head coach Ken Miller. "They've gotten better through the season and they pulled out the win in Hamilton against a good time. B.C. will be a challenge but we'll be up for the challenge."

Daniel Porter ran for 153 yards on 19 carries for the Eskimos (7-11), who had won their last three to put themselves in control of their own destiny. Ricky Ray threw for 246 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-33 efficiency and added a rushing score in the closing seconds in defeat.

Fred Stamps had nine catches for 118 yards and a touchdown for Edmonton.

"We've just got to finish," Stamps said. "We got down to the red zone and turned it over. Give credit to Saskatchewan...they played hard football and we just didn't finish. It's tough to lose like that. We just have to regroup and come back next year."

The Eskimos scored their first points of the second half with 1:24 left to play in the game, as Ray's rushing touchdown from four yards away cut the deficit to eight.

Edmonton attempted an onside kick, but the ball bounced out of bounds after several players jumped for it. Following a review, Saskatchewan was awarded possession. The Roughriders punted with a few seconds remaining, and one final Hail Mary pass by the Esks fell harmlessly to the ground.

Things looked promising for Edmonton at first, with Derek Schiavone's 41-yard field goal and Ray's 17-yard touchdown pass to Stamps providing a 10-1 advantage after the opening quarter.

Each team added two field goals in the second quarter, and Durant's late touchdown run from one yard out inside of 10 seconds remaining in the half pulled the Roughriders to within 16-15 at halftime.

In the third, it was all Roughriders, who scored 16 straight points to take control.

Less than four minutes into the half, Cates capped a half-opening seven-play drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone, giving Saskatchewan its first lead at 22-16.

On Edmonton's second play on its following drive, Ray fumbled the ball away in Eskimos territory, and the Roughriders recovered at the 35. Two plays later, Durant hit Andy Fantuz on a 27-yard scoring strike for a 29-16 advantage with eight minutes remaining.

The Esks later conceded a safety to push Saskatchewan's lead to 15.

Schiavone missed a 42-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Ray fumbled the ball again on the Eskimos' next series.

Game Notes

Fantuz, a Canadian, caught five passes for 77 yards, giving him 1,380, which leads the CFL. Only one game remains, and Montreal's Jamel Richardson trails Fantuz by 109 yards...Saskatchewan finished 7-2 at home, while Edmonton went 2-7 on the road this season...The Esks had won the last two meetings.