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Roughriders fend off Eskimos' comeback attempt

Nov 9, 2014 - 3:55 AM Regina, SK ( - After leading 24-7 heading into the final quarter, the Saskatchewan Roughriders fended off a furious comeback attempt and held off the Edmonton Eskimos, 24-17, at Mosaic Stadium in the final regular season game of the 2014 season.

Quarterback Tino Sunseri connected with Rob Bagg early in the second half on a 40-yard major to give Saskatchewan (10-8) a 23-4 advantage. A late-game fumble recovery for the Roughriders allowed the home squad to run valuable time off the clock in the win.

Sunseri completed both of his pass attempts in the contest for a total of 59 yards with the touchdown. Kerry Joseph saw the most time under center, completing 5-of-16 passing for 71 yards with a rushing touchdown. Bagg caught a team-best three passes for 65 yards and a major. Quarterback Darian Durant did not suit up after having a limited week in practice.

Quarterback Matt Nichols snuck in a short-yardage touchdown late in the game to put Edmonton (12-6) down by a single major. But the visitors couldn't get an offensive drive going on their final possession, and fell short in the comeback as time expired.

Nichols had a rough outing in relief of regular starter Mike Reilly. Nichols completed 30-of-42 pass attempts in the loss for 261 yards and a pair of interceptions. He snuck in a two-yard major in the fourth quarter after an Anthony Allen fumble for Saskatchewan. Tyler Thomas led the team with 66 rushing yards on 10 carries in the defeat.

The only score of the first quarter was a Chris Milo single for Edmonton, which led 1-0 at the end of one.

Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Joseph kept the ball for a one- yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak. His score lifted the Roughriders to a 7-1 advantage.

Milo and Edmonton kicker Hugh O'Neill traded field goals midway through the period, but a Korey Williams 18-yard touchdown run with less than a minute to play gave Saskatchewan the 16-4 edge at halftime. The Roughriders' two-point conversion failed.

Sunseri hit Bagg on a 40-yard lofty touchdown pass early in the third quarter to give the home squad the 23-4 lead. Bagg went up and snatched the ball away from an Edmonton defender on the play.

O'Neill connected on a 22-yard field goal and Milo converted another single, and the third quarter closed with Saskatchewan ahead, 24-7.

An O'Neill field goal midway through the fourth quarter cut into the Roughriders' lead, and Nichols scored on his two-yard quarterback keeper with less that three minutes to play. The Saskatchewan defense held against one more Eskimos offensive stand to end the game.

Edmonton had already locked up the second seed out of the West Division prior to tonight's meeting, while both teams are Grey Cup playoff bound.