June 8, 2024

Roughriders rally for season-opening victory in Edmonton

The Saskatchewan Roughriders scored 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points en route to defeating the host Edmonton Elks 29-21 on Saturday.

Edmonton led 21-8 before Saskatchewan erupted for three touchdowns in a span of 10 minutes 23 seconds to propel Corey Mace to his first victory as a CFL Head Coach.

“I won’t apologize for winning, but that was not really the way that we envisioned doing it,” Mace said after a game in which the Roughriders committed three turnovers and were penalized 11 times for 101 yards.

“As coaches, we’re always looking at things that we can do better, penalties being a big one. They were costly for us. But we’re happy that we’re walking away 1-and-0.”

Mace is also pleased with his team’s resilience.

“It says a lot about the group that we have and the belief that we have,” he said. “We were put in those situations during the pre-season, so the pre-season is valuable for us.

“It’s just kind of our psyche and how we handle ourselves in these adverse situations. I was extremely pleased to see our guys band together and find a way to get it done.”

The turnaround was triggered when Trevor Harris found Shawn Bane Jr. for a 40-yard score. The ensuing Elks possession ended when the Roughriders’ Deontai Williams forced a fumble that was recovered by Jameer Thurman. That turnover set up a one-yard TD run by A.J. Ouellette.

Bryan Cox Jr. subsequently forced and recovered a fumble that preceded another Harris-to-Bane Jr. TD, from 33 yards out.

Bane Jr. had also scored on a 27-yarder in the first quarter.

He tied a Roughriders record for TD receptions in a game (three). That feat had been accomplished on 19 previous occasions. As well, he produced the Roughriders’ 74th game of three or more TDs by a player, dating back to 1919.

“It feels really good,” Bane Jr. said. “I didn’t think it would be the first one of the season, but I’m glad it happened. My (29th) birthday is tomorrow, so that’s like a gift in itself.”

Harris threw three TD passes for the second time as a Roughrider. On June 16, 2023, he found Samuel Emilus for three scores in the home opener against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“We left a lot out there, unfortunately,” Harris said. “We’re fired up we got the win today, but we’ve got a lot to clean up.”


Edmonton led 11-7 at halftime, largely due to the Roughriders’ propensity for miscues.

A 15-yard misconduct assessed to right tackle Trevor Reid and a 25-yard rough-play penalty on right guard Logan Ferland, who was ejected, took Saskatchewan out of field-goal range.

As well, the Roughriders had advanced to the Elks’ 34-yard line late in the first half before Harris was intercepted.

Additionally, a 91-yard punt-return touchdown by Mario Alford was called back due to a holding penalty. Earlier, a holding call had negated a 32-yard punt return by Alford.

In the fourth quarter, a taunting penalty on safety Jayden Dalke extended an Edmonton drive that appeared to have ended with a two-and-out.

“It’s the most frustrating thing, to be honest with you,” Mace said of the penalties. “It’s kind of putting a cloud over what’s happening here.

“For someone like Ferland, it’s just uncharacteristic. Dalke kind of lives on the edge a little bit. We’ve just got to be smarter.”


Harris reached the 30,000 mark in career passing yards. In the second quarter, he found Jerreth Sterns for a 16-yard completion to hit 30,000 on the nose.

The 38-year-old Roughriders pivot is 19th on the CFL’s career passing-yardage list, with 30,189. He is within striking range of 17th-ranked Sam Etcheverry (30,381) and 18th-place Tom Burgess (30,308).

Harris, who went 22-for-31 for 305 yards, moved past Darian Durant and into 16th place on the all-time completions list, with 2,511. Durant connected 2,500 times.

As well, Harris leapfrogged another former Roughrider (Kerry Joseph) to move into 18th all-time in attempts (3,558). Joseph is next in line at 3,532.

Harris is 21st in career touchdown passes (163) — one behind Durant.


The Roughriders are to return to action on June 16 against the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5 p.m., TSN, CKRM).

Hamilton will then visit Mosaic Stadium on June 23 for the Roughriders’ home opener.



Edm — FG Bede 17 6:11

Bethel-Thompson went 4-for-5 for 48 yards

Sask — TD Bane Jr. 27 pass from Harris (Lauther convert) 9:22

Harris went 3-for-3 for 64 yards


Edm — Single Julien 57 3:56

Julien punt rolled into end zone

Edm — TD Mayala 22 pass from Bethel-Thompson (Bede convert) 13:54

Bethel-Thompson went 4-for-4 for 58 yards


Sask — Single Korsak 63 10:18

Saskatchewan marched 43 yards in seven plays

Edm — TD Mayala 6 pass from Bethel-Thompson (Bede convert) 13:27

Bethel-Thompson hit Lewis for 52 yards to Saskatchewan’s three


Edm — FG Bede 30 1:47

Edmonton moved 35 yards in five plays after Gray intercepted Harris

Sask — TD Bane Jr. 40 pass from Harris 3:32 (Lauther convert)

Harris went 3-for-3 for 70 yards to answer Elks FG

Sask — TD Ouellette 1 run (Lauther convert) 6:33

Williams forced Leake fumble; Thurman’s recovery set up Roughriders’ second TD in three minutes

Sask — TD Bane Jr. 33 pass from Harris (Lauther convert) 13:55

Cox Jr. forced and recovered fumble by Bethel-Thompson to set up Bane Jr.’s third TD



Saskatchewan: Ouellette 18-40 (1 TD).

Edmonton: Brown 7-23; Prukop 1-6; Bethel-Thompson 1-6; Leake 3-4.


Saskatchewan: Harris 22-31, 305 yards, 3 TDs, 2 interceptions.

Edmonton: Bethel-Thompson 33-42, 336 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception.


Saskatchewan: Bane Jr. 5-125 (3 TDs); Sterns 7-81; Schaffer-Baker 4-52; Emilus 4-27; Ouellette 1-19; Johnson 1-1.

Edmonton: Mitchell 7-93; Lewis 4-85; Gittens Jr. 9-62; Mayala 5-40 (2 TDs); Brown 5-26; Flowers 1-14; Smith 1-12; Leake 1-4.


Saskatchewan: Korsak 9-418, 46.4 average, long 62.

Edmonton: Julien 7-381, 54.4 average, long 69.


Saskatchewan: Alford 5-22.

Edmonton: Leake 3-29; Flowers 4-24.


Saskatchewan: Alford 2-62; Bertrand-Hudon 1-35.

Edmonton: Leake 5-102.


Saskatchewan leaders: Milligan Jr. 9; Fields 6; Reavis 6; Thurman 5; Williams 5.

Edmonton leaders: Morgan 9; O’Neal Jr. 6; Anderson 5; Jackson 5.


Saskatchewan: Cox Jr. 1; Fields 1.

Edmonton: Brodrique 1; Nkemdiche 1.


Saskatchewan: Avery 1-0.

Edmonton: Gray 1-22; Bratton 1-0.


Saskatchewan: Cox Jr. 1; Thurman 1.

Edmonton: Bratton 1-8.


Saskatchewan: Cox Jr. 1; Williams 1;

Edmonton: Bynum 1.


Saskatchewan: Lauther 0-0 on field goals; 4-4 on converts.

Edmonton: Bede 2-3 on field goals; 2-3 on converts.