Call it a defensive battle that yielded little more than a moral victory and an injured star receiver.
The visiting Calgary Stampeders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 15-9 Sunday afternoon in Regina; the Stamps scored no touchdowns and relied entirely on kicker Rene Paredes’ five field goals for the win.
The Roughriders’ offense sputtered for most of the contest, scoring its only points at 9:32 of the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Bridge to fellow Canadian, receiver Devon Bailey.
“They lined up and whipped our butt,” head coach Chris Jones said of the Stampeders’ defence after the loss.
Saskatchewan’s offence mustered only 246 total yards, which included 28 yards rushing on only 12 attempts.
“When you run the football and you can’t get a yard, that’s a little bit of you can’t block them and they’re a little bit better than you,” Jones said, who noted how frequently the Stamps pressured – and sacked – quarterbacks Kevin Glenn and backup Brandon Bridge.
“When you line up with your five or six (offensive linemen) and they’re sending their four or possibly five (defensive linemen), and they’re getting to your quarterback, that’s a concern.”
Jones replaced starting quarterback Kevin Glenn with Bridge early in the fourth quarter.
Calgary sacked Glenn four times and Bridge once.
The game was punctuated by an explosive hit from Calgary defensive back Tunde Adeleke on Saskatchewan receiver Naaman Roosevelt: The hit knocked Roosevelt out and forced him to leave the game at 8:58 of the second quarter.
The Riders leading receiver caught a Kevin Glenn pass at Calgary’s 43 yard-line while crossing into the middle of the field, when Adeleke hit and knocked out Roosevelt, appearing to use his shoulder to make the hit.
Out cold and unable to brace himself for impact on the ground, Roosevelt banged his head on the turf, his body motionless. Appearing woozy, he had to be helped off the field by Roughriders training staff and players.
After the game, Jones said he didn’t know for how long the team will be without its reception and receiving yards leader.
But on Twitter after the game, Roosevelt posted “Thanks everybody for your prayers … I’m feeling better!!!”
After two quarters of play, the Stampeders were up 6-2, thanks to two Paredes field goals and the Riders’ punt return team forcing punter Rob Maver to the back of his endzone for a safety.
Paredes booted two more field goals in the third quarter, including his longest of the day (40 yards), to make it 12-2 for his side.
He kicked his final 3-point convert at 7:27 of the fourth quarter, putting his team up 15-2. Two minutes later, Bridge connected with Bailey to make the final score 15-9.
Despite Calgary’s lack of touchdowns, its offense was still efficient in controlling the clock, maintaining possession and scoring in the Riders’ zone.
Head coach Dave Dickenson called on running back Jerome Messam frequently, giving the power-speed back 23 carries, which Messam turned into 127 rushing yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
Similarly, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was dependable and efficient: He completed 24 of 32 passes (75 per cent) for 222 yards passing, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
“They do things right: They don’t take penalties, they protect their quarterback, they run the football effectively and they make enough plays to win the game,” Jones explained of the Stamps’ play.
“Sometimes it’s not pretty, but they’re the same team they’ve always been. They’re very well coached and they’re disciplined,” he said.
With the loss, the Roughriders now fall to 6-6-0, sitting in fourth place in the West division, ahead of B.C. The team’s next game is Friday, Sept. 29 against the Redblacks (5-8-1) in Ottawa.
Calgary remains atop the division and the league with the win, improving its record to 11-1-1. The Stampeders will next play the struggling Montreal Alouettes (3-10) at home in McMahon Stadium on Sept. 29.