Roughriders player Trevor Harris share tragic health news

The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Tiger-Cats, improving to 3-0, despite Trevor Harris’ injury.

Harris was hurt near the end of the first half but Saskatchewan was still able to prevail over the 36-20 Tiger-Cats for their third straight win

The Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36-20 on Sunday night to improve to 3-0 on the season, but the victory was overshadowed with concern over quarterback Trevor Harris.

Shea Patterson took over at quarterback for Harris and helped Saskatchewan secure the win in front of 24,875 spectators.


Given that the Riders had the lead when Harris was hurt and with a bye week upcoming, Riders’ head coach Corey Mace didn’t see any reason to risk putting Harris back into the game in the second half.


“Why risk it,” Mace posed to reporters after the game. “I talked to him at half time and he was in pretty good spirits.


“In the second half, he was in my ear saying ‘Coach, I can go!’ But we wanted to play it just a little bit safe.”


Mace didn’t provide an exact diagnosis on the injury but the head coach doesn’t expect it to keep him out long term. It also gave the Riders a chance to see the backup Patterson run the offence while carrying a lead.


“We’re confident with what Shea has provided for us to this point and certainly we were still able to maintain the lead and move the field and execute the offence,” said Mace. “I just didn’t see any point to letting Trev go back in the game.”


With the victory, the Riders remain the only unbeaten team in the CFL’s West Division, while the Tiger-Cats fell to 0-3 and remain the only winless team in the East Division.

Regarding the game, the Riders did not require a fourth-quarter comeback, like they did in Week 1 against Edmonton and last week against the Tiger-Cats, for the first time in three games.

The Riders on Sunday jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the opening quarter, then held a 25-7 advantage over the next three quarters before winning in the fourth.

“Very happy with how these guys turned out,” Mace remarked. “I felt we got off to a quick start, attacked the ball, and made the most of our opportunities.

“I thought we relied on each other when people went down and people had to step up.


“This is closer to the ID of what we expect to be.”


Harris hurt


With :44 seconds left in the first half, Harris took a hit after releasing a pass and fell awkwardly before he got up holding his left leg.


The 38-year-old veteran QB tried to walk it off but had a noticeable limp. Trainers attended to Harris and helped him walk off the field under his own power before the pivot headed to the locker room.


Patterson took over at quarterback for Harris, who returned to the sideline midway through the third quarter with a brace on his left knee. He threw passes on the sideline but didn’t re-enter the game.

Prior to the injury, Harris completed 16-of-21 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.


Patterson finished the game having completed 4-of-10 passes for 41 yards, while also rushing for three yards and a score.


“I’m prepared for the moment,” Patterson said after the game. “I’m prepared any time I have to step onto the field.


“Our defence and our special teams played unbelievable tonight and put us in good situations all game.”


Last season, Harris missed the final 13 games of the season with a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee. He was hurt in Saskatchewan’s Week 6 matchup against the Calgary Stampeders on July 15.


Sayles hurt


With 9:55 left in the fourth quarter, Riders’ defensive back Marcus Sayles threw a hit on Ti-Cats’ receiver Kiondre Smith but Sayles got the worst of it as remained down for several moments.


The stadium fell silent as trainers attended to Sayles before the defensive back walked off under his own power.

Safety Nelson Lokombo moved over to cornerback for the remainder of the game while Jayden Dalke took over at safety.


Running strong

After back-to-back games with 32 rushing yards to begin the season, Riders’ running back A.J. Ouellette had a much stronger performance on Sunday as he rumbled for 98 yards on 20 carries.


The 5-foot-9, 210-pounder was also Saskatchewan’s leading receiver with four catches for 47 yards.


“The last two weeks I felt like I wasn’t contributing to the team,” said Ouellette. “So, it feels good to get out there and help the guys get the win.”


“Things started to click for us,” said Mace. “We challenged the offence and the offensive line and the running game this week in the meetings and these guys took, they heat to it.”


Dabire double


Not only did the Riders defensive line hold Hamilton running back James Butler to just 10 yards on five carries, but Saskatchewan was able to sack Bo Levi Mitchell twice.


And the man behind both of those sacks was Canadian defensive tackle Charbel Dabire.


“Just capitalizing on opportunities,” said Dabire, who had a career-high two sacks in 2023. “Working hard as a whole defence and being able to be up there when my time was called.


“It felt awesome because this was the year I wanted to upgrade myself and just play harder and move better and this was the first step to heading that way.”

Scoring summary


The Roughriders kicked off to begin the game, but Ti-Cats returner Lawrence Woods took a hit from Saskatchewan’s Thomas Bertrand-Hudon on the return and fumbled the ball, which was recovered Saskatchewan’s Christian Albright.


Two plays later, Harris threw a strike to Samuel Emilus in the end zone to make it 7-0 for Saskatchewan just 1:05 into the game.

Later in the first quarter, the Riders added to their lead as Harris threw a 40-yard bomb to Ajou Ajou for the rookie receiver’s first career touchdown to put Saskatchewan up 14-0.


“It felt amazing,” said Ajou. “It was a great pass by Trevor; shout-out to my dog.”


Before the first quarter was up, Riders’ kicker Brett Lauther made a 34-yard field goal to give the Riders a 17-0 lead.


Early in the second, the Riders scored a single point to make it 18-0 on a conceded punt.


With 2:01 left in the half, Mitchell connected with Shemar Bridges for a 41-yard touchdown pass to make it 18-7.


In the second half, Hamilton marched down to Saskatchewan’s six-yard line before Mitchell was sacked by Dabire. The ball popped loose and was recovered by linebacker Jameer Thurman.

While the Riders didn’t turn that turnover into points, they did on their next takeaway.


Near the end of the third quarter with Hamilton in the shadow of their goalposts, Saskatchewan linebacker C.J. Avery tipped Mitchell’s pass and it was caught by Thurman, who rumbled 28 yards into the end zone to put Saskatchewan on top 25-7 with the convert.


“We talked about it all week that somebody was going to get one,” said Thurman, who also added six tackles. “I just saw the ball when he tipped it and I knew I had to get into the end zone.”


On Hamilton’s next possession, the Riders forced another turnover as Sayles tipped the ball into the hands of teammate DaMarcus Fields as Saskatchewan took possession near midfield.


Patterson and Ouellette helped Saskatchewan get down to the seven-yard line before Lauther came in to kick a 21-yard field goal to make it 28-7.


With 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, Hamilton marched down the field before running back Ante Litre plunged in from one-yard out to make it 28-14 with the convert.


After an unsuccessful onside kick, the Riders got the ball at Hamilton’s 35-yard line and marched it down to the one-yard line before Patterson plunged into the end zone to put Saskatchewan up 35-14 with the convert. Lauther added a single point on the kickoff to make it 36-14.

After a failed two-point conversion, Mitchell drove 70 yards in five plays and finished the drive with a touchdown pass to Smith, making the score 36–20. Hamilton lost no time in adding another touchdown.

With 1:06 remaining, Mitchell attempted to lead another touchdown drive after the Tiger-Cats successfully recovered an on-side kick, but Rolan Milligan Jr. intercepted him.

Despite having one last drive, the Ti-Cats were unable to score before the time ran out.

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