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Roughriders claim Grey Cup behind Sheets' record performance
Regina, SK (SportsNetwork.com) - Kory Sheets racked up a Grey Cup record 197 rushing yards and scored two majors to help the Saskatchewan Roughriders secure their fourth CFL championship with a 45-23 triumph over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday in the friendly confines of Mosaic Stadium.
Sheets' record-setting performance in the 101st edition of the Grey Cup sent Saskatchewan (14-7) to its first championship since 2007 and helped the Roughriders become to third straight squad to hoist the coveted Grey Cup in front of their home crowd.
"It feels good to get that rushing record but it feels better to get that Grey Cup under our belts," Sheets said.
Sheets, who finished with 20 carries, was named the game's Most Valuable Player for his stellar effort, while wide receiver and Saskatchewan native Chris Getzlaf was named Most Outstanding Canadian after catching three passes for 78 yards.
Saskatchewan signal-caller Darian Durant completed 17-of-24 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Geroy Simon, who finished with three catches for 67 yards.
Former Roughrider Henry Burris struggled under center for the Tiger-Cats (12-9), completing just 20-of-43 passes for 272 yards with an interception while adding an 18-yard TD run in the third quarter.
C.J. Gable registered the only other major for Hamilton, which was making its first Grey Cup appearance since 1999.
"We didn't make enough plays, period," said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin, who led Saskatchewan to Grey Cup wins in 1989 as the club's starting quarterback and 2007 as the team's head coach. "We played a better football team today. They were just better than we were."
Luca Congi connected on a 45-yard field goal on Hamilton's second series to get the Ticats on the board, but the Roughriders ripped off 24 straight points to seize control of the contest.
Durant nearly fumbled the ball away two plays into the ensuing Saskatchewan sequence, but Sheets scooped up the ball and scampered 39 yards to the Hamilton 33.
After converting a 2nd-and-3 from the 26, Durant hit Simon in stride for a 15- yard score that made it 7-3 with 6:38 left in the opening frame.
Chris Milo extended the margin with a 20-yard field goal early in the second, and after Hamilton went two-and-out, Sheets broke free for 15 yards before Jock Sanders scored from three yards out to push the lead to 17-3 near the midpoint of the frame.
Following an exchange of fumbles, Durant hooked up with Getzlaf on a corner route for 29 yards to the Hamilton 1 and Sheets scored from there to make it 24-3.
Congi drilled a 24-yard field goal on Hamilton's ensuing possession, but Durant and Simon got together on a 42-yard score three offensive plays later to send the Roughriders into the break with a 31-6 cushion.
Burris' 18-yard TD run served as the only score of the third quarter and brought the Ticats within 31-13 before Congi connected on a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 31-16.
Hamilton then forced a two-and-out, but failed to moved past midfield before punting the ball away.
Saskatchewan put the game away on its next two series, as Sheets capped an 11-play, 82-yard trek with a 4-yard run before a Burris fumble shortly after set up Durant's 26-yard TD strike to Weston Dressler that made it 45-16 with under four minutes left.
Gable scored from two yards out on Hamilton's next drive to account for the final margin.
Johnny Bright of Edmonton held the old Grey Cup rushing record of 169 yards set in 1956 ... These two teams battled it out for the crown back in 1989 at SkyDome, with the Roughriders slipping by in a 43-40 final ... Hamilton was looking to secure its ninth Grey Cup title ... Dressler finished with a game- high 81 receiving yards on five catches.
11/25 01:28:23 ET