Canadian Football League

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Riders destroy Bombers in Canadian Football League opener

Corey Holmes returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown and accumulated 308 total yards to spark the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 42-15 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in CFL action Saturday night.
Saskatchewan Roughriders' Kenton Keith is brought down just short of the goal line in the third quarter of CFL action on Saturday in Regina. Holmes gained 67 yards on 11 rushing plays, 22 yards on three pass receptions, 71 yards on two punt returns and 148 yards on three kickoff returns.
The start of the game, the season-opener for both teams, was delayed half an hour by a thunderstorm accompanied by frequent lightning.
Holmes' touchdown at the 12-second mark was the Roughriders' first kickoff return for a major since Kevin Nickerson scored on a 96-yarder against the Ottawa Renegades on August 17, 2003.
Holmes electrified the 23,067 fans three minutes later with a 63-yard punt return that set up the Roughriders at the Winnipeg 20.
Nealon Greene sneaked in for a one-yard touchdown four plays later.
Saskatchewan padded its lead to 16-0 late in the first quarter when Scott Gordon blocked Jon Ryan's punt in the Winnipeg end zone and the ball caromed out of bounds for a safety touch.
Roughriders placekicker Paul McCallum expanded the margin to 19-0 on a 16-yard field goal early in the second quarter before the Blue Bombers finally hit the scoreboard. Troy Westwood's 43-yard field goal attempt went wide for a single at 8:32.
Just 70 seconds later, Keith Stokes broke free for a 69-yard punt return touchdown, Winnipeg's first such major since Stokes himself had an 83-yard touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes on August 26, 2004.
McCallum's 38-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter gave Saskatchewan a 22-8 halftime lead.
Winnipeg surrendered another safety at 2:30 of the third quarter when Roughriders defensive end Terrell Jurineack stripped Kevin Glenn in the end zone. Matt Sheridan of the Blue Bombers recovered the ball and Saskatchewan's Scott Schultz smothered him for the two points.
Saskatchewan elected to take the ball on its own 35 after Schultz's safety and reeled off a 75-yard march that culminated in Nealon Greene's 14-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Thurmon at 7:09. Winnipeg replied one minute later when Glenn capped a three-play, 62-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Milt Stegall.
Greene connected with Matt Dominguez with a five-yard scoring pass on the last play of the third quarter. McCallum, who converted all four Roughrider touchdowns, added a single and a 19-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Westwood kicked two converts.
Winnipeg's next action is Thursday at home against the Edmonton Eskimos. The Roughriders will be in Hamilton to face the Tiger-Cats on Saturday.


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