REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders finished in first place in the CFL’s West Division for the first time since 2009 with their 23-13 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday.
Brett Lauther’s 12-yard field goal snapped a 13-13 tie with 1:30 remaining in the game. Lauther had missed his previous three-field goal attempts.
A Cam Judge pick-six on the ensuing Edmonton possession provided insurance. He returned the interception 29 yards for a touchdown.
It was the Riders’ 13th win of the season, the team’s highest win total since 1970.
The Riders will host the West Final on Nov. 17, with either the Calgary Stampeders or Winnipeg Blue Bombers visiting.
The Riders have won seven straight home games.
The Eskimos (8-10) will, for the fourth time, be the crossover team and take on the Montreal Alouettes in the East semifinal. West teams are 4-7 in this contest.
Both the Riders and Eskimos were without their No. 1 quarterbacks.
The Riders won with rookie quarterback Isaac Harker filling in for an injured Cody Fajardo. Fajardo, the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player, suffered an oblique injury at practice earlier in the week.
Edmonton’s Trevor Harris did not dress. Logan Kilgore started in his place.
Marcus Thigpen’s touchdown run and Lauther’s 50-yard field goal in the first quarter gave the Riders an early 10-0 lead, one they took into the halftime break.
Edmonton scored on its first possession of the second half when Logan Kilgore found Tevaun Smith in the back corner of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown.
Later in the quarter, Kilgore hooked up with Kevin Elliott for a seven-yard touchdown that gave the Eskimos their first lead at 13-12.
A missed field goal from Lauther, his third miss of the game, sailed through the end zone for a single and knotted the score at 13 with eight minutes remaining.
Harker completed 23-of-28 pass attempts for 213 yards.
Kilgore managed just 88 yards passing on 12-of-22 attempts.