OTTAWA, ON – For three quarters on Friday night, it was Ottawa running back William Powell’s world and we were just living in it.
Then, starting with a Christion Jones punt-return touchdown, the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders clawed back to steal an 18-17 road win against the REDBLACKS at TD Place.
Powell’s 187 rush yards set the franchise record for single-game rushing, which was previously held by Jonathan Williams’s 180-yard performance back on Oct. 3, 2014 against Winnipeg. Powell set a second record becoming the first REDBLACKS player to rush over 100+ yards in three consecutive games – the last Ottawa footballer to achieve that feat was Josh Ranek of the Renegades in 2003.
Ottawa (5-9-1) gave up 18 unanswered points to the Riders (7-6) and has now dropped three of its last four contests.
The REDBLACKS captured momentum early on Friday night, as Jonathan Rose intercepted Riders quarterback Kevin Glenn on an arcing end-zone bomb.
A handful of slicing, dicing runs by Powell then inched the REDBLACKS down inside the red zone, where Brett Maher drilled a 22-yard field goal to give the hometown team an early lead.
Maher then sent a field-goal attempt wide right from 48 yards out; Christion Jones returned it out of the end zone to keep Ottawa off the board on the play.
The REDBLACKS found the end zone late in the second quarter when quarterback Ryan Lindley floated a beautiful touch pass to Greg Ellingson at the back of the end zone; Powell sprinted in the following two-point convert to make it 11-0 Ottawa.
Saskatchewan managed just 95 yards of offence in the first half.
Powell continued to dominate and rumbled his way into the end zone for an 11-yard major early in the second half; after review, he was ruled down on the one-yard line, but Lindley confirmed the touchdown one play later on a QB sneak. Powell was stuffed on the two-point convert, and Ottawa led 17-0.
Christion Jones brought the Riders back to life with a lightning-quick 97-yard touchdown on a punt return. Tyler Crapigna’s convert then cut the REDBLACKS lead to 10.
Following a fumble by REDBLACKS receiver Juron Criner, the Riders found pay dirt on a Kienan LaFrance six-yard touchdown run. Crapigna’s convert cut the lead to 17-14.
A Crapigna chip shot from 16 yards out tied the ballgame with five minutes left, setting up a game-winning punt single by Josh Bartel with 2:31 remaining.