EDMONTON — Mitchell Picton’s fourth quarter touchdown catch proved to be the difference Saturday as the Saskatchewan Roughriders remained perfect on the season with a 26-16 victory over the Edmonton Elks.
The Roughriders are 2-0 in the CFL's early going, after also defeating Hamilton in their opening game.
The Elks dropped to 0-2 after losing 59-15 in their first game to the B.C. Lions, and have now gone nine games without a win at home. Edmonton went 0-7 last season at Commonwealth Stadium.
Saskatchewan struck for a 50-yard field goal from Brett Lauther on its opening drive.
Edmonton was minus-one yard in offence in the first quarter.
There was no further scoring until midway through the second, when Lauther kicked an 18-yard field goal.
After Edmonton’s Matt Thomas recovered a fumble off a missed field goal return at the Saskatchewan 23, quarterback Nick Arbuckle found Kenny Lawler for a five-yard touchdown pass to put the Elks up 7-6 with three minutes left in the second frame.
Saskatchewan quickly responded with an unconverted touchdown of its own with less than a minute to play in the first half, as Jamal Morrow scored on a two-yard rush.
The Elks opened the third quarter with a 12-yard field goal from Sergio Castillo, who then connected on a 30-yarder to close out the third.
Lauther put his team back in front again with a 41-yard field goal five minutes into the fourth. Castillo made it 16-15 for Edmonton with a 37-yarder midway through the final quarter.
The Roughriders quickly responded with a 28-yard TD pass from Cody Fajardo to Picton, who also reeled in the two-point convert.
Saskatchewan looked to put the game away not long afterwards after a forced fumble recovery by A.C. Leonard, but Lauther missed a 44-yard field goal. He quickly got another chance, however, and nailed a 21-yard field goal.
Both teams are on the road next week as the Riders head to Montreal on Thursday and the Elks are in Calgary on Saturday.
FOOT NOTES: After last week’s disastrous opening week loss to the B.C. Lions, the Elks had 11 new starters in their lineup on Saturday … The last time Edmonton hosted the Roughriders for its home opener was in 2016, when Chris Jones coached against his former team for the first time with Saskatchewan. Jones in now back with the Elks … The top paid offensive lineman in the league, Edmonton’s Mark Korte, missed the game to attend his own wedding. Also out for the Elks was receiver Derel Walker. The Riders played without slotback Duke Williams.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2022
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press