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Another one bites the dust

Undefeated Green Machine rolls over Ticats in Guelph

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GUELPH, Ont. -- Backup Drew Willy threw three first-half touchdown passes while CFL rushing leader Kory Sheets had a record fifth straight 100-yard game as the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 32-20 Saturday night to remain the CFL's only unbeaten team.

Willy made just his second career CFL start and first this season with incumbent Darian Durant nursing a foot injury. But the sophomore quarterback was 14-of-25 passing for 269 yards before an Alumni Stadium gathering of 13,002 that endured intermittent rain, but nowhere near the deluge during Edmonton's 30-20 win in Hamilton's home debut here July 7.

The Riders (5-0) also got a timely defensive stop as Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris was halted on third-and-goal from their one-yard line early in the fourth to protect a 32-20 advantage. Then Willy marched Saskatchewan 62 yards on 11 plays, taking 6:01 off the clock before the Ticats regained possession at their 15-yard line with 3:39 remaining.

Saskatchewan swept the home-and-home series with Hamilton (1-4) following last Sunday's 37-0 victory at Mosaic Stadium. The Riders improved to 8-2 in their last 10 road games versus the Ticats.

The loss of Durant could have been huge for Saskatchewan. With him, the Riders led the league in scoring (37.8 points per game), total offensive yards (423) and rushing yards (168) and were third in passing (267).

Durant also had a league-best 12 TD passes without an interception as Saskatchewan won its opening four games by an average of 21 points. He threw for 347 yards and four TDs last Sunday and was named the league's offensive player of the week.

But his injured right foot began to swell afterwards, prompting Durant to revert back to a walking boot. He originally hurt the foot in a July 11 road win over Toronto. He shed the boot and practised on a limited basis later in the week but was deemed a game-time decision.

With Durant sidelined, Sheets stepped up. The CFL's rushing leader had a record fifth straight 100-yard game with 138 unofficially, which would boost his total to 710. That would be the most yards through five games to start a CFL season, surpassing the mark of 646 yards set in 1975 by Calgary's Willie Burden. Sheets ran for 130 yards against Hamilton last week.

Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf and Geroy Simon scored Saskatchewan's touchdowns. Chris Milo kicked the converts and three field goals, with the other points coming on a safety.

Greg Ellingson and Lindsey Lamar had Hamilton's touchdowns. Luca Congi booted the converts and two field goals.

NOTES -- Linebacker Brandon Isaac, making his Hamilton debut, had an early sack but left later in the first half with a groin injury... Simon extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 175 with his first-half TD grab... A historic night for Burris. His 51-yard completion to Bakari Grant in the first moved him past former Ticats coach Ron Lancaster (3,384) into fifth in all-time regular-season completions. His touchdown toss to Lamar was the 307th of his career, moving him past Matt Dunigan into fourth all-time.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 28, 2013 B12

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