Geroy Simon and Kory Sheets put on a record-setting performance as the Saskatchewan Roughriders captured the 101st Grey Cup with a 45-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Regina.
Simon, the CFL's all-time leading reciever, became the first Roughriders player to score two majors in a championship final while Sheets ran for 197 yards to shatter a 57-year-old Grey Cup record. Sheets also rushed for a pair of touchdowns on his way to being named the Most Outstanding Player of the game.
Saskatchewan slotback Chris Getzlaf was named the game's top Canadian.
Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant, who threw for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns, picked up his first win in three Grey Cup appearances as the Roughriders became the third straight team to win the final at home.
Hamilton head coach Kent Austin, who led Saskatchewan to their last Grey Cup title in 2007, lost for the first time in the playoffs in six games.
TURNING POINT NO.1
One of the first big turning points in the game came at about the seven minute mark of the second quarter. With the Saskatchewan Roughriders driving once again, quarterback Darian Durant appeared to fumble the ball before his knee touched the ground. The Tiger-Cats challenged the call and were awarded the ball but could not do anything with the turnover, forced to punt it after two-and-out. On the first play from scrimmage following the punt, the Riders quarterback found Chris Getzlaf with a 29 yard strike to put the ball on the one yard line. Kory Sheets took it in from there to put Saskatchewan up 24-3 at the time.
TURNING POINT NO. 2
At the 10 minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had clawed their way back to within 15 points of the lead and the Roughriders were facing a 2nd down and 19 after back-to-back penalties. It was then that Kory Sheets came up with a 21 yard run to keep the drive alive, ultimately leading to a touchdown which effectively ended any hopes of a comeback by Hamilton.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders fumbled on each of its first two possessions of the game in the first quarter. Luckily, they recovered both and in the case of the second fumble, managed to go down the field and score the opening touchdown of the game. Had the Hamilton Tiger-Cats recovered one or both of those fumbles, it could have changed the complexion of the game.
There was some pre-game controversy when Hamilton defensive back Dee Webb, a starter in the Eastern final, was announced as a game-time scratch.
"I Feel Real DISRESPECTED!!! 5Alive," tweeted Webb, an import who wears No. 5.
The other Hamilton scratches were offensive lineman Marc Dile, defensive back Courtney Stephen, and running back Chevon Walker. (CP)
The 101st Grey Cup game has managed to pull in some star power. Canadian funnyman Martin Short, who showed off a Ticats jersey emblazoned with the No. 1, is joined in Regina by Academy Award winner Tom Hanks and his son, Colin Hanks, who is currently shooting a television series in Calgary. Hanks said he is no stranger to the CFL, saying he has been a fan of three-down football since the days of the Montreal Concorde.
Saskatoon's own "The Sheepdogs" entertained the fans in the stadium during pre-game ceremony, performing their Juno Award winning song "Feeling Good" and "I Don't Know".
Serena Ryder was given the honour of singing the national anthem, complete with a Flying V guitar.
Hedley hit the right note with "Anything" during the halftime show of the 101st Grey Cup.
"I can do anything," sang lead singer Jacob Hoggard.
A snowmobiler flew up a ramp and over the stage as the band performed at midfield, with cheerleaders surrounding the stage. The songs "Invincible" and "Cha-Ching" followed before volunteers raced onto the field to remove parts of the stage, with pickup trucks hauling the largest parts off the field.
Brenda Jessome, a die-hard Rider fan, was wearing a watermelon carved into a hat with pompoms coming out the sides. Jessome said one of her sons carved the watermelon hat, but it didn't fit him so she ended up wearing it.
"You just got to make sure it doesn't touch your forehead because it gets cold," she laughed.
Ticats fan Donna Harrison was also in Saskatchewan for the game and said she wouldn't miss it. The Ticats have been her team for 52 years and she loves them, she said.
"Well, it's Grey Cup and I come to Grey Cup. It's my 15th one. It's Canada's party," said Harrison.
"You come for the party and stay for the game, and in this case we're really staying for the game." (CP)