With the 2020 season in limbo, it doesn’t hurt to look back at all the great Saskatchewan Roughriders games from the last decade. The Roughriders have led their fans on quite the emotional rollercoaster over the last 10 years and it makes sense to look at a couple of games that played into that. This series will be broken into two parts, 10–6 and later 5–1.
Without further ado, the Top Ten Saskatchewan Roughriders Games of the 2010s.
This is a way for me to sneak two additional games into this list as the process of elimination was incredibly difficult.
2015 Week 2: Toronto Argonauts 42 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 40 (OT)
The 2015 season is one that many Roughriders fans would like to forget. Darian Durant went down at the end of the first half of the first game with a torn Achilles and the rest of the team never truly recovered. 3-15 was the final result. However, in Week 2, there was still hope, Kevin Glenn was under centre and the Riders went toe-to-toe with Trevor Harris and the Argos. Insanity ensued.
Harris put on an absolute clinic going 30/38 for 267 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. But, the Riders would not let this deter them, Glenn put up 477 yards passing to go with two touchdowns and an 82.5% completion rate.
Unfortunately, up by 10 in the fourth quarter, Glenn’s lone interception of the day would be brought back 100 yards by A.J. Jefferson (now known as Anthony Orange). The Argos would go on to win in overtime but for the sake of Riders fans, this game at least provided this catch by Ryan Smith:
2012 Week 10: Winnipeg Blue Bombers 0 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 52
Blowout games typically don’t make lists like these (and technically it didn’t, it’s an honourable mention) but in the context of the 2012 season, this game was massive. The Riders were coming off a disappointing 5-13 season in 2011 after back-to-back trips to the Grey Cup.
They started the 2012 campaign with an inspiring 3-0 start with new head coach Corey Chamblin but had since dropped five straight heading into the Labour Day Classic.
Saskatchewan’s defence swarmed the likes of Joey Elliot and Alex Brink, limiting their passing attack to a combined 96 yards while adding two sacks and an interception to the fold.
Durant and Drew Willy would add a combined three touchdowns of their own to go with Sandro Deangelis’ 5/5 field goals in an absolute beatdown of their prairie rivals.
Top 10 Saskatchewan Roughriders Games of the 2010s
10. 2017 Week 8 – Ed Gainey Says Hello
B.C. Lions 8 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 41
This is one of those Saskatchewan Roughriders games that is more so remembered for the individual performance that took place within the game than the actual game itself. Saskatchewan was in the second year of the Chris Jones era and it wasn’t exactly off to a hot start. The Riders were 2-4 and had just come off a 30-15 loss in B.C. a week prior.
Many fans were getting impatient as to when the team would turn their hopes around. Ed Gainey made sure he did his part, grabbing four interceptions on the night. The Riders stormed out to a 29-0 lead in the first half that included a 49-yard pick-six by Gainey.
Kevin Glenn would add three touchdowns of his own as the Riders would nearly pitch the shutout against their divisional foe. This game served as a massive turning point for the 2017 Riders. Including this victory, they would go 8-4 down the stretch and play their way to an East Final appearance.
9. 2012 Western Semi-Final – Oh So Close
Saskatchewan Roughriders 30 @ Calgary Stampeders 36
I should warn you, there are a few losses in this list, that doesn’t take away from the impact these games had or what they meant in the big picture. What makes this game so special is that it set the table of what the Riders were capable of heading into 2013. Sure the loss stung, however, there were many positives to take from this one.
Durant and Weston Dressler were clicking all game long with Dressler catching six passes for 153 yards. Durant would put up a 64.9% completion rate to go with four touchdowns.
The Riders overcame 14-3 & 26-16 deficits to take a 30-29 lead with just 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter before Drew Tate, who was playing just a few days after his Grandma passed away, connected with Romby Bryant for a devastating 68-yard catch & run to take the game. Then with time expired, Durant and the Riders had a chance on a hail mary that was intercepted.
The Riders knew they could compete with the best, but they were just a few pieces away from competing in the Grey Cup. More on that later…
8. 2019 Week 12 – Lauther Day Classic
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 17 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 19
In a battle between two West Division heavyweights, this game certainly didn’t disappoint. A heavily contested matchup on defence led to a low-scoring affair. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its share of fireworks.
Bombers quarterback Chris Streveler put his team ahead on a quarterback sneak with three minutes remaining on third down. It was up to Cody Fajardo, who had thrown two interceptions already this day, to lead his team down the field, down 17-16.
Fajardo would not disappoint completing five straight passes on a 10-play, 87-yard drive. It was then left to Brett Lauther to put the finishing touches on a perfect drive. Lauther did what he does best and delivered a game-winning field goal to truly make this one a classic. Lauther and Jon Ryan also added a pretty epic celebration to boot.
— #JayAndDan (@JayAndDan) September 2, 2019
7. 2017 Week 2 – Welcome to New Mosaic
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 43 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 40 (OT)
The Bombers have certainly done their share to spoil games at New Mosaic. The West Final in 2019 and the West Semi-Final in 2018 come to mind. However, it would start with the very first game at the new Mosaic Stadium. At least it was entertaining!
Matt Nichols and Kevin Glenn put on a show accounting for four touchdowns each. It would be Dressler for Winnipeg though that would do the most damage, tallying six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Saskatchewan was down 34-23 entering the fourth quarter before Bombers kicker Justin Medlock would add to the lead to make it 37-23. The defence tightened up forcing the Bombers to punt three times in their drives following their field goal. This left enough time for Glenn to lead two separate touchdown drives to tie the game.
In the first overtime, the Bombers and Riders traded field goals. However, on their second possession in overtime, the Riders hit the upright on their field goal attempt, giving the Bombers prime position to kick a game-winning field goal of their own, spoiling the grand opening of New Mosaic Stadium.
6. 2019 Week 2 – Rider Nation, meet Cody Fajardo
Saskatchewan Roughriders 41 @ Ottawa Redblacks 44
It was very unfortunate to see Zach Collaros go down in Week 1 in Hamilton on a dirty hit. Collaros was named the undisputed starter for Saskatchewan that off-season after signing an extension. While he had a storybook ending to 2019, things didn’t look so great back in the Summer.
Fajardo was largely an unknown up to this point who was mostly used in short-yardage situations for both the B.C. Lions and the Toronto Argonauts.
Fajardo wouldn’t finish in relief for Collaros in Week 1 as he left the game with an injury of his own. So when Week 2 rolled around, many were left wondering what this Roughriders offence would look like. To the green and white’s delight, it was high-octane.
Fajardo posted a stunning stat line of 27/34 for a 79% completion rate to go with 360 yards passing and two touchdowns. He would also rush one in. The Riders were down 25-10 but would close the gap at halftime to 31-24 thanks to this throw:
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 21, 2019
Fajardo and the Riders wouldn’t be able to fully close the gap, scoring with just 26 seconds left on the clock and failing to recover the onside kick. The Redblacks and Roughriders would go different directions after this game.
The Riders finished 13-5 and first in the West while Ottawa would only win one more game en route to a 3-15 finish. This was just the first of many games that caused Rider Nation to fall in love with Cody Fajardo.
That concludes part one of two in the Top 10 Saskatchewan Roughriders Games of the 2010s. Part Two will be out later this week! Which games do you believe should be higher, lower or not listed at all? Let’s chat!
Twitter: @stevebolen22 & @LastWordOnCFL
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