On the Riders’ second possession of the game, Durant scrambled up the middle and took a hit from Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence, jarring the ball loose from the Riders signal-caller. Fortunately for the Green and White, the pigskin popped up into the air and down into the arms of Kory Sheets in full stride, who rumbled 39 yards to the Ticats’ 33-yard line. Five plays later, Durant hit Geroy Simon for the touchdown, and instead of the Ticats having the ball on the fumble, the Riders had a 7-3 lead.
It was a wild series of events midway through the second quarter at Mosaic Stadium. A botched snap by Tabbies centre Marwan Hage handed the Riders the ball deep in Ticats’ territory, but Durant fumbled it right back and, after being ruled down, Ticats head coach Kent Austin challenged the call and won. But Henry Burris quickly went two-and-out, and Durant capitalized with a dagger on the very next play, finding a wide-open Getzlaf down to the one-yard line, where Sheets punched it in on the next play to give the Riders a commanding 24-3 lead.
After the Ticats cut into the deficit on Luca Congi’s second field-goal of the evening, Sheets went to work. The Riders scrimmaged from their own 35-yard line, but Sheets quickly moved it out near midfield on an 18-yard scamper with 2:40 remaining the first half. Riders offensive co-ordinator George Cortez liked that one so much, he called No. 1’s number again, and Sheets rumbled for 15 yards. Durant then went to the air and found Simon for his second touchdown of the game and a stranglehold, heading into halftime with a 31-6 lead.
The Ticats had cut the deficit to 15 points, but Tasker — the son of former Buffalo Bills special-teams demon Steve Tasker — got a little too aggressive with the Ticats in punt-block mode, running into Schmitt and earning a 15-yard flag with a little more than seven minutes to go in the game.
The penalty handed the Riders a first-down at the Ticats’ 34-yard line, and three plays later, Sheets punched in his second touchdown of the game from four yards out.
Immediately after the Sheets touchdown stretched the Riders’ lead to 38-16 with just five minutes to play, the nail in the coffin came on the very next play. The Ticats scrimmaged from the 35-yard line, with Burris taking the snap and getting swallowed up by defensive end John Chick, who returned this season from a three-year stint in the NFL, and Ricky Foley — another off-season addition to the Riders’ defensive line — hopped on the loose ball. Durant hooked up with Weston Dressler on a 26-yard scoring strike on the next play to seal the blowout win for the Riders.