Jackson returns missed field goal 124 yards as Roughriders win 23-20 over Lions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Jackson returns missed field goal 124 yards as Roughriders win 23-20 over Lions

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant avoids a tackle from BC Lions safety Cauchy Muamba during the first quarter of CFL football action between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the BC Lions in Regina on Saturday, July 14, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

REGINA - Tristan Jackson returned a missed field goal 129 yards early in the fourth quarter and the Saskatchewan Roughriders become the CFL's only unbeaten team with a 23-20 victory over the B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Jackson scooped up the ball in the Roughriders' end zone following a missed 44-yard field goal attempt by B.C.'s Paul McCallum and returned it to put Saskatchewan ahead 23-13.

It was a lead the Riders would not relinquish despite a last-gasp B.C. major on an eight-yard pass from Travis Lulay to wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi.

A crowd of 32,080 watched the early-season showdown of West Division rivals as the Roughriders improved their record to 3-0 and dropped the defending Grey Cup champion Lions to 2-1.

Jackson's spectacular return was his second of the game.

Midway through the third quarter, with the score tied 13-13, McCallum missed the target on a field goal attempt of 44 yards and Jackson returned to the 55.

Saskatchewan's subsequent drive stalled, despite a penalty against the Lions for illegal contact, and the Roughriders were forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Chris Milo.

Expected by some to be a duel between Lulay and his opposite number, Darian Durant of Saskatchewan, the game instead was dominated by two outstanding defences and developed into a battle for field position before Jackson single-handedly determined the outcome in Saskatchewan's favour.

Both defences bent, but neither would break.

The Lions had opened the scoring on their first possession of the game with a 38-yard field goal by McCallum. The Roughriders responded immediately, with Milo hitting on a field goal of his own from 32 yards out.

The Lions stunned Saskatchewan's revamped defence late in the first quarter when quarterback Lulay found wide receiver Kierrie Johnson on a 69-yard pass-and-run touchdown.

A pivotal moment for the Roughriders came midway through the second quarter when Lulay was sacked by defensive tackle Keith Shologan and then intercepted by safety Craig Butler, who returned the pick 19 yards to the B.C. 32.

Following a pass interference penalty against the Lions in the end zone, tailback Kory Sheets found paydirt for Saskatchewan from a yard out.

The victory gives Saskatchewan sole possession of first place in the West Division and goes a great way in establishing the Roughriders' credibility as a legitimate Grey Cup contender following a dismal 2011 campaign when the team missed the playoff with a record of 5-13.

On this day, Saskatchewan fans had reasons to rejoice before the game as well as afterwards.

In a ceremony conducted at midfield prior to the opening kickoff, Roughriders CEO Jim Hopson was joined by Regina mayor Pat Fiacco and Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who made the official announcement that construction will begin in 2013 on a 33,000-seat open-air stadium that is expected to be completed in time for the 2017 season.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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