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Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker (89) gets tackled by the Ottawa Redblacks during first half CFL football action in Regina on Saturday, August 21, 2021.Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press

It wasn’t a work of art but the Saskatchewan Roughriders did enough to grind out a 23-10 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks in the Canadian Football League on Saturday night.

With the victory, the Riders sit on top of the CFL’s West Division with a 3-0 record heading into a bye week. The Redblacks drop to 1-1 with the loss.

Brett Lauther kicked five field goals and Cody Fajardo scored on a two-yard run for the Riders. Punter Jon Ryan had a 55-yard punt for a single.

The Riders defence, which entered the game with a league-leading eight sacks, picked up six sacks against the Redblacks. Jonathan Woodard, who had three sacks in last week’s victory over Hamilton, and Garrett Marino had two sacks each with A.C. Leonard and Micah Teitz chipping in one sack each.

DeVonte Dedmon, on a three-yard run, scored Ottawa’s lone touchdown while Lewis Ward added a 33-yard field goal.

Saskatchewan scored the first touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter when Fajardo slipped around the right end for a two-yard major, making the score 17-3 for the Riders.

The seven-play, 76-yard drive featured a 30-yard reception by Brayden Lenius on the opening play and a 19-yard reception from Paul McRoberts to move the ball to the Ottawa two-yard line. McRoberts caught the ball on the 16-yard line and made a couple of Ottawa defenders miss before being tackled.

The Redblacks got back into the game early in the fourth quarter when Dedmon, filling in as running back for an injured Timothy Flowers, scored on a three-yard run. Two Rider penalties, one for roughing the passer and another for unnecessary roughness, helped extend the Ottawa scoring drive.

Holding a 17-10 lead, the Riders responded to the Ottawa touchdown with Lauther’s fourth field goal of the game, a 31-yarder.

On the ensuing Ottawa possession, Ed Gainey intercepted a deep throw to the sideline by Redblacks quarterback Matt Nichols, giving the Riders the ball on the Ottawa 37-yard line. The interception set up a 31-yard field goal from Lauther.

Nichols went 19 of 24 for 176 yards and the interception for Ottawa.

A rather pedestrian first half featured three field goals from Lauther and one field goal from Ward. It also featured a rare miss from Ward who entered the game as the career leader in field goal percentage — 97 of 105 (92.4 per cent). Ward was wide left on a 52-yard attempt in the second quarter.

After Lauther and Ward exchanged first-quarter field goals, the Riders put together an eight-play drive late in the first quarter, taking a 6-3 lead on a 19-yard field goal by Lauther.

The drive featured a disputed reception by Saskatchewan’s Lenius. He caught the ball at the sideline, cradling it on his shoulder. As he fell out of bounds, Ottawa safety Antoine Pruneau pulled the ball from Lenius’ grasp. The officials ruled the play a catch, a decision challenged by Ottawa head coach Paul LaPolice. After review, the call stood and the Riders ran two more plays before Lauther’s field goal.

In the final minute of the half, Fajardo connected with Lenius for 10 yards and Kian Schaffer-Baker for 42 yards. Lauther then kicked a 42-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give the Riders a 9-3 lead.