Let’s pick things up from Part One of our list of Top 10 Saskatchewan Roughriders Games of the 2010s. It certainly is a trip down memory lane for myself as I’m sure it is for many. I remember where I was and the people I was watching each of these games with. It is my hope that you are experiencing the same thing. Let’s get to the rest of the list.
Top 10 Saskatchewan Roughriders Games of the 2010s
5. 2010 Week 12 – Doubles to Fantuz, a match made in heaven
Calgary Stampeders 37 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 43 (OT)
When Henry Burris and Darian Durant met, it was always a great matchup. And they did they not disappoint this time around. Things got off to a shaky start for the Riders as Durant’s second pass was intercepted and brought back 55 yards for a touchdown.
However, for the rest of the game, Durant poured it on, dialing up 500 yards passing to go with two touchdowns. Andy Fantuz was the recipient of over half of those with 15 catches for 255 yards. Dressler would add 104 and Jason Clermont with 66 of his own.
Down 37-26 with less than five minutes to go, Durant would find Fantuz on a 60-yard touchdown to close the gap. The Riders added a two-point convert to make it a three-point game. After a quick two-and-out by Calgary, Durant again would lead the offence down the field with a 27-yard pass to Dressler before Luca Congi booted the game-tying field goal.
However, before heading into overtime, head coach Ken Miller would make a controversial decision. The Riders attempted to boot the single point through the end zone as opposed to kicking the game-winning field goal tied 37-37. The kick was returned out of the end zone and the game went to overtime.
Saskatchewan scored on their first offensive possession in overtime but missed the two-point convert. Calgary would try to respond but couldn’t convert on 3rd & goal thus ending the instant classic.
4. 2010 West-Semi Final – A little bit of everything
BC Lions 38 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 41 (2OT)
Saskatchewan came into this game having won the season series 2-1. That doesn’t mean much when the playoffs roll around though. This game had a little bit of everything to it. Jason Clermont versus his former team, one of Durant’s finest playoff performances as a Roughrider, and a hail-mary by Travis Lulay at the end of the game to Emmanuel Arceneaux to send it to overtime.
The Riders would strike first in overtime with Durant finding Clermont on a 20-yard gain before a Lions penalty would set up a Wes Cates one-yard score and an Andy Fantuz two-point conversion.
Not to be denied, the Lions would strike back to tie the game with a Lulay five-yard touchdown run and a Geroy Simon two-point convert in the back corner of the end zone. 35-35.
The Lions would get the first crack in the second-overtime and go up 38-35 with a Paul McCallum field goal. A touchdown would win it for Saskatchewan and a storybook ending ensued.
On 1st & 10, Durant found Clermont for six on a slant route. Evidently, this was Clermont’s first touchdown as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Some things just write themselves.
3. 2013 West Semi-Final – Darian Durant’s Statement Game
BC Lions 25 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 29
Another year, another all-time playoff performance by Darian Durant. His performances in the playoffs aren’t talked about enough historically. Even in playoff defeat (see Part One of this list) Durant would put up big numbers.
But heading into 2013 everything was on the line. The Riders were two full seasons removed from their ill-fated back-to-back trips to the Grey Cup. They had missed the playoffs in 2011 and bowed out in the West Semi-Final in 2012. Regina was set to host the 2013 Grey Cup and the Riders loaded up on talent.
Saskatchewan brought back John Chick to go with the new editions of Dwight Anderson, Geroy Simon, Weldon Brown, and Rey Williams. Expectations were sky-high, an early exit in the playoffs would’ve been catastrophic. This is where the Riders were heading before Durant took over in the fourth quarter.
Down 25-16, it was 2nd & 9 on their own 50 when Durant sprinted up the middle for a 15-yard gain. He would do it again at the start of the fourth on 2nd & 10, this time for 35 yards.
The drive was capped with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Weston Dressler. The Riders defence would hold B.C. to one first down on their next drive. Saskatchewan responded with a field goal to take the lead 26-25.
Once again, the Riders defence held B.C. to just one first down on their next drive. That’s when Durant would go on to put the nail in the coffin with runs of 28 & 13 yards in length to kick another field goal to make it 29-25.
The Lions now needed a touchdown to win with just 28 seconds left and starting on their own 35. The Riders defence would seal the deal and move on to the West Final to face Calgary. A truly remarkable effort by Durant and without it would’ve been a disappointing early exit from the 2013 playoffs.
2. 2013 Grey Cup – Celebration in Rider Nation
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 45
Now that we’ve set the table with the classic 2013 West-Semi Final we can get to the main course. The Riders had dismantled the Calgary Stampeders 35-13 in the West Final, exercising their McMahon demons from a year prior. A few familiar faces would stand in the way of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and legendary status, Henry Burris, Andy Fantuz, and Luca Congi.
The Tiger-Cats lead in the 101st Grey Cup lasted for all of three minutes when they kicked a field goal on their second drive. After that, it was all Saskatchewan. Durant posted a 70.8% completion rate along with three touchdowns, two of which went to Geroy Simon.
However, it would be Kory Sheets who took home the Grey Cup M.V.P. with his mind-boggling 158 yards rushing, averaging 7.9 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns.
While this game certainly lacked the drama that other games on this list had, it was a game in which cemented the legacies of so many Roughriders: Darian Durant, Weston Dressler, Kory Sheets, John Chick, Rob Bagg, Chris Getzlaf, Tristan Jackson, Tyron Brackenridge, and more.
For any fan that had a chance to be in attendance, it was like nothing they ever experienced before. Truly a remarkable capstone to an incredible season. So if that’s not number one, what is?
1. 2010 Week One – Canada Day Classic
Montreal Alouettes 51 @ Saskatchewan Roughriders 54 (2OT)
This game epitomizes Saskatchewan Roughriders football in the 2010s. From the highest of highs to the hilariously head-scratching lows, this game served as a microcosm for what laid ahead for Rider fans everywhere.
By now we all know what happened in 2009, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were an extra player away from capturing their second Grey Cup title in three years. The CFL scheduling their rematch for Week 1 was a brilliant move and it clearly paid dividends.
Before it became the classic we all know it to be, this game started as though it would be a runaway for the visiting Alouettes. A pair of touchdowns from Calvillo to Kerry Watkins and S.J. Green made the score 14-3 at the end of the first. The Riders would tighten things up in the second with a nine-yard score from Durant to make it 14-10.
However, Calvillo couldn’t be stopped. Another drive and another strike to Watkins for a touchdown. 21-10. Before the Riders knew it, they were trailing 24-10 at halftime. The third quarter wouldn’t bring a change of fortune as Tim Maypray brought a missed Congi field goal 125-yards back the other way to make it 33-12.
Comeback for the Ages
But something strange would happen. The Riders began to mount a comeback. Durant found Prechae Rodriguez on a 43-yard touchdown. 33-19. One drive later, Durant to Bagg for 87-yards. 33-26.
Another drive after that, Wes Cates, 10 yards to the house. Tie game. But the roller coaster didn’t end there. After exchanging punts, the Alouettes drove down thanks impart to a pass interference call on Chris McKenzie. Avon Cobourne punched it in and the Alouettes took another lead.
Not to be denied, the Riders came storming back and it began with one of the more improbable passes from Durant to Getzlaf that seemed to have hung in the air forever.
However, Getzlaf would snatch it and hustle 57 yards before being brought down. A few plays later, Durant connected with Fantuz on a five-yard pass to tie the game after a convert by Congi. 40-40, heading into overtime.
This is where the aforementioned “hilarious lows” come into play. Up 48-40 in overtime, the Riders were tasked with slowing down the offence that had carved them up all evening. On 3rd & 10, Calvillo’s pass to Jamel Richarson fell incomplete. However, there was a flag on the play.
Too many men, Saskatchewan.
You seriously can’t write this stuff. Calvillo would hit Green for not only the touchdown but the convert too, which happened to be one of the greatest catches in CFL history.
Second overtime began and the high-flying Alouettes offence was held to a two-and-out and kicked the field goal to go up 51-48. The Riders finally had their chance to put this one away and they made no mistake.
Durant would find Dressler for a 32-yard gain before going right back to him for the game-winning touchdown. Thus concluding the third-highest scoring game in CFL history and the highest-ever opening day score with 105 points.
Why We Love the CFL
While this list was centred around Saskatchewan Roughriders games it’s truly a testament to our league the number of outstanding games that exist in its long history. There are plenty of games that didn’t make the cut that full articles could be written on including the 2018 Banjo Bowl, the Duron Carter catch game vs. the Argos and many more.
During this time of uncertainty, I’d encourage all CFL fans to take a look back at some of the great moments the CFL has offered us as fans, you won’t regret you did.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images