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Fajardo leads Roughriders to gritty victory over Lions in season opener

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REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders stormed out of the gate Friday evening however needed to maintain on for a hard-fought 33-29 victory over the B.C. Lions.

The Riders (1-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the sport, opening the competition with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a two-yard landing run by William Powell.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo then capped the following two drives with landing passes of 12 yards to Brayden Lenius and 7 yards to Shaq Evans to up Saskatchewan’s result in 21-0.

Fajardo threw 230 yards on the evening, finishing 28-of-35 makes an attempt with two touchdowns and one interception.

Rookie quarterback Nathan Rourke began the sport for the Lions (0-1) with veteran Michael Reilly coping with elbow soreness, and threw for 194 yards, connecting on 10-of-18 makes an attempt with two TDs and two interceptions.

Reilly was known as into motion within the second half and helped B.C. mount an finally unsuccessful comeback try, tossing for 203 yards with one landing.

B.C. receiver Fortunate Whitehead had 5 catches for 136 yards and one TD.

Rourke, a 23-year-old native of Victoria, B.C., was picked off halfway via the second quarter by Riders cornerback Nick Marshall who returned the interception for a 27-yard landing and gave Saskatchewan a seemingly snug 28-0 lead.

A 31-yard subject objective by Brett Lauther with 4 minutes left within the half elevated the cushion to 31-0.

Rourke related with Whitehead on a 75-yard scoring cross late within the half however the B.C.’s struggles continued when the two-point convert try failed, making the halftime rating 31-6 for the Riders.

Reilly entered within the third quarter and the Lions offence out of the blue got here to life. He accomplished nine-of-11 passes for 106 yards within the quarter and slashed the Riders result in 32-15.

In the meantime, Fajardo and the Riders struggled to match their first-half success.

Saskatchewan was restricted to 2 first downs within the second half after compiling 19 within the opening two quarters.

Outscored 20-1 within the second half, the Riders took a 33-23 lead on a 77-yard single by punter Jon Ryan with 2:49 left within the contest.

When the Lions returned to the sector, Rourke was again within the recreation. He engineered a six-play, 75-yard landing drive with an 18-yard scoring toss to Bryan Burnham. Rookie kicker Takeru Yamasaki missed the convert, forcing the Lions into an onside kick.

The Lions acquired the ball again deep of their finish with 31 seconds left however A.C. Leonard sealed the victory for the Riders with an interception.

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