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Fajardo helps Roughriders end slump by edging Elks


EDMONTON – Quarterback Cody Fajardo ran a pair of touchdowns in himself and passed for another as the Saskatchewan Roughriders emerged with a 34-23 victory over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday.

The Roughriders (5-4) snapped a three-game losing skid.

The Elks (2-7) have now lost 12 straight home games at Commonwealth Stadium, a shameful stretch extending back to Oct. 12, 2019.

After Saskatchewan recorded a punt single on its opening drive, Edmonton came roaring back with quarterback Taylor Cornelius opting to run himself on a broken play for a 10-yard touchdown.

Fajardo responded in kind late in the opening quarter with a one-yard plunge to put the Riders back in front.

Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther kicked a 34-yard field goal to start the second frame.

Edmonton looked poised to regain the lead, but Cornelius fumbled the ball away on the Saskatchewan five-yard line, with Rider Charleston Hughes recovering the ball.

The teams then traded field goals, with Elk Sergio Castillo making one from 38 yards and Lauther connecting from 46.

The Elks surged back ahead when Cornelius took another ball into the end zone himself, scrambling in from 26 yards with 31 seconds left in the opening half.

However, Saskatchewan would regain the lead before the halftime break off the ensuing kickoff as Mario Alford blazed 98 yards for the touchdown to give his team a 21-17 lead. The halftime break was extended due to nearby lightning strikes.

Edmonton conceded another punt single, the only point in the third.

Castillo started the fourth quarter with a 44-yard field goal, and got another 46-yarder shortly after on the heels of an interception by Nafees Lyon to give them a one point advantage.

The Riders regained the lead with four minutes left as Fajardo found Duke Williams in the end zone with a 24-yard TD pass. The two-point convert failed.

Edmonton attempted to trade blows, but Cornelius was picked off by Rolan Milligan, leading to a six-yard QB keeper for a touchdown by Fajardo.

Both teams return to action next Friday as the Elks travel to Ottawa and the Roughriders host the B.C. Lions.

FOOT NOTES: Saskatchewan won the previous encounter between the two teams by a 26-26 score in Week 2. ? The Elks came into the game with an 0-6 record against West opponents while being outscored by an astonishing 234-84 margin. ? In its first eight games, Edmonton had a league-high 79 players playing in at least one game. The Riders were the second-most at 68. ? It was the Wall of Honour night in Edmonton with three players from the five in a row Grey Cup champion teams from 1978 to 1982 _ Jim Germany, Joe Hollimon and Ed Jones _ recognized in a ceremony following the game, after the original halftime proceedings were erased due to a delay caused by nearby lightning strikes.

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