A break certainly seemed to serve Saskatchewan well.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo ran for a pair of touchdowns and passed for another as the Saskatchewan Roughriders came out on Saturday with a 34-23 CFL win over the Edmonton Elks.
The Roughriders (5-4) had lost three consecutive games before having a byeweek and came back with a win over Edmonton.
“Any win is a good win,” said Saskatchewan linebacker Darnell Sankey. “We come here and get a win on the road, it’s an achievement.
“We understand that we should not underestimate any team, especially now. We came in 4-4 and it’s nice to win. We know we were the better team and that’s why we came here and won. This has certainly boosted our morale.”
Fajardo felt the break helped soothe his injured knee as he led his team with 51 in the fast-running yards throughout the night.
“I did a few shots on it and felt nothing,” he said. “I was quite good at running and walking around in the bag.
“To be able to feel like myself again and have my legs back makes it a little easier for the guys up front and makes for some big plays downfield. I feel pretty good now.”
The Elks (2-7) have now lost 12 consecutive home games at the Commonwealth Stadium, a frustrating spell dating back to October 12, 2019.
After Saskatchewan recorded a punt single on his opening drive, Edmonton came back roaring with quarterback Taylor Cornelius opting to run himself on a broken play for a 10-yard touchdown.
Fajardo responded in kind late in the opening quarter with a one meter dive to put the riders back in the lead.
Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther kicked a 34-yard field goal to start the second frame.
Edmonton looked poised to retake the lead, but Cornelius fiddled with the ball on the five-yard Saskatchewan line, while rider Charleston Hughes got the ball back.
The teams then traded field goals, with Elk Sergio Castillo making one from 38 yards and Lauther making one from 46.
The Elks shot back forward as Cornelius himself took another ball into the end zone and clambered in from 26 yards with 31 seconds left in the opening half.
However, Saskatchewan would regain the lead before halftime on the ensuing kick-off when Mario Alford blasted 98 yards for the touchdown to give his team a 21-17 lead.
The rest was extended due to nearby lightning strikes.
Edmonton gave up another punt single, the lone run in the third.
Castillo started the fourth quarter with a 44-yard field goal, then got another 46-yarder on his heels shortly after after an interception by Nafees Lyon to give them a one-point lead.
“I threw an interception but the guys stayed positive on the sidelines and then came through and we found a way to score two more touchdowns after that,” Fajardo said. “It means a lot when you make a mistake and your teammates are behind you like that.”
The Riders re-took the lead with four minutes to go when Fajardo found Duke Williams in the end zone with a 24-yard TD pass. The two point conversion attempt failed.
Edmonton tried to pack some punches, but Cornelius was picked by Rolan Milligan, triggering a six-yard QB keeper for a touchdown by Fajardo.
Both teams will be back in action next Friday when the Elks travel to Ottawa and the Roughriders host the BC Lions.
The Canadian Press