REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders gave Chris Milo the boot earlier this season in favour of veteran Paul McCallum. On Saturday, Milo was happy to return the favour.
Milo, who signed with Ottawa on Aug. 1, hit three of four field goal attempts — including the go-ahead 14-yarder with six seconds remaining — to guide the Redblacks to a 30-27 comeback victory over the host Roughriders.
Ottawa won its third game in a row and improved to 7-4, while Saskatchewan dropped to 1-11 in front of 30,480 fans at Mosaic Stadium.
“It felt good. You always want to do well against teams that let you go,” said Milo, who spent four seasons with Saskatchewan. “This team is progressing and playing good football and at the end of the day our ultimate goal is to compete for first place in the division.”
Milo’s kick helped him atone for his missed convert with 2:34 left in the fourth quarter that would have put Ottawa up 28-24. The Riders’ Tristan Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards and three plays later McCallum booted a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 27. Ottawa decided not to receive the kickoff and pivot Henry Burris guided the Redblacks on a seven-play, 68-yard drive capped off with Milo’s winning field goal.
“It was all about taking what they gave us,” Burris said about the drive. “I had to use my feet at times to move the chains and just chip away. There was plenty of time and no need to rush things.”
Burris threw for 477 yards and two touchdowns in the game, relying heavily on receiver Chris Williams (eight catches, 137 yards, one TD). Ottawa’s Ernest Jackson caught six balls for 101 yards while Greg Ellingson had 45 yards receiving to go along with a TD.
The Redblacks trailed 20-14 at halftime, but outscored Saskatchewan 16-6 in the final two quarters. It was a similar story last week against the B.C. Lions, when Ottawa outscored the Leos 17-0 in the second half en route to a 31-18 victory. In its last three games, Ottawa has outscored teams 54-9 in the second half.
“We make great adjustments at half time. As the game goes on, our team figures out a lot of the things the other team is doing and we put ourselves in position to be successful,” Burris said. “Saskatchewan is a great team and their defence played a heck of a game tonight, but we found ways that could help us be successful and at the end of the day it helped us win a big game.”
Kevin Glenn, who was activated off the six-game injured list this week to replace Brett Smith, went 16 of 29 for 227 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Riders (1-11). Naaman Roosevelt hauled in three catches for 95 yards and a touchdown for Saskatchewan while Jerome Messam rattled off 53 yards on 10 carries. McCallum hit 4 of 5 field-goal attempts.
It was another case of close, but no cigar for Saskatchewan.
“I certainly can’t question the guys’ effort, but some of the little challenges we’ve had in the past came back in this game at inopportune times and we weren’t able to finish with the victory,” Rider head coach Bob Dyce said. “Whether it’s a procedure call or sack that takes you out of field goal range, those are things that have to be corrected.”
Glenn moved into seventh all-time in CFL career passing yards, passing Matt Dunigan. Burris made his 215th career start, ranking him fifth all-time in the CFL.
John Chick, who recorded one sack for the Riders, now has seven sacks in his last seven games. Roosevelt’s 71-yard touchdown catch was the longest scoring play for Saskatchewan this season.
Jonathan Hamelin, The Canadian Press