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Riders remain perfect on season with win over Hamilton

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Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Mace had no official update on the status of his starting quarterback following the team’s 36-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-cats on Sunday afternoon.

Trevor Harris, 38, left the game with under a minute to go in the first half after being tackled by Ti-Cats defender Nick Usher. The veteran pivot left the field under his own power, with an apparent left leg injury, and did not return to the field.

“Why? You know, why risk it? We love Trevor, it’s a long season,” said Mace. “Heading into the bye week, just give Trevor a little more rest.”

Harris missed much of last season with an injury to his right leg. Harris led a touchdown drive on his first possession after the Riders’ special teams unit forced a turnover on the game’s opening kick-off.

Melique Straker jarred the ball lose from a Hamilton runner and two plays later, Harris found Samuel Emilus for the score.

Harris later hit rookie Ajou Ajou for a 40-yard major to extend the lead to 14 points.

Harris completed 16-of-21 passes for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception before he was forced out and replaced by back up Shea Patterson.

“They prepare us all week, do a great job, putting in extra work so we’re ready for these moments,” Patterson explained. “Its fun any time you get to go out there and play football, especially with these guys, in this environment.”

Saskatchewan forced three turnovers in the third quarter alone, including a 28-yard pick-six by Jameer Thurman off a deflected pass attempt.

DaMarcus Fields intercepted Hamilton quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell on the very next series.

“I challenged the defence to get a little more pressure without necessarily having to press the pressure button and to score on defence and we managed to do both of those things,” said head coach and defensive coordinator Mace of his defence.

“Whenever you get control of the game as a defence, that win percentage is always high. We had takeaways. We scored on defence,” Thurman said.

Hamilton was able to chip away at the Roughriders’ lead in the third quarter. Ante Litre scored on a one-yard plunge with 6:29 to go to bring the visitors within two touchdowns.

Just over four minutes later, Mitchell connected with Kiondré Smith on a 28-yard touchdown pass to cut the Riders lead to 36-20.

Shea Patterson, who took over for Harris late in the first half and played the balance of the game, completed 4-of-10 pass attempts for 41 yards and rushed for two yards on one attempt.

This was Mace’s first taste of regular season game at home.

“That bring 'em out hit different,” he admitted. “That was really, really cool.”

The Roughriders (3-0) are back in action on Thursday, July 4th when they host the Toronto Argonauts. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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