Hank Biesiot told me about this today. Apparently, Dickinson State alumnus Ken Miller lost his chance to win a Grey Cup — the Canadian Football League’s Super Bowl — because his team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, made a almost-to-ridiculous-to-believe error as time expired in Sunday’s game.
The CFL allows a team to play with 12 men. But when you throw a 13th out there, that’s a no-no. Miller and the Roughriders found out the hard way.
By The Associated Press
CALGARY, Alberta — Long a staple of Saskatchewan Roughriders lore, the “13th man” took on a new and forever negative connotation Sunday night.
Instead of the loud and colorful Saskatchewan faithful providing a figurative extra man, a real 13th man cost the team the Grey Cup title.
The Roughriders appeared to have escaped with a two-point victory when Montreal kicker Damon Duval’s field-goal try sailed wide from 43 yards in the final seconds, but the Roughriders were flagged for having an extra man on the field.
Given a second chance, Duval nailed a 33-yarder with no time left to give the Alouettes a 28-27 comeback victory over the dazed Roughriders.
“The man upstairs gave me a second opportunity,” Duval said. “I got the ball through and what can I say, it was all these guys here just fighting back play after play. As soon as I saw the flag I didn’t care, I had to focus on making a kick.”
The Roughriders failed in a bid for a second title in three years.
“It was a lack of communication … but it should have been recognized,” coach Ken Miller, a Dickinson State graduate, said about the critical penalty. “The disappointment of this loss is going to affect us as long as we’re on this planet. Total 100 percent disappointment.”
Special teams coach Kavis Reed refused to say which player should have come off.
“The player’s name is not important,” Reed said. “What’s important is that a mistake was made and ultimately I think I’m responsible for that mistake.
“It was not a heat-of-the moment thing. I was going through the mechanics of counting. I asked people to verify the count and that mistake was made.”
Montreal, a team-record 15-3 in the regular season, erased a late 16-point deficit.
Avon Cobourne, selected the game MVP, scored on a 3-yard run with 7:05 left, and Anthony Calvillo completed a 2-point conversion pass to Kerry Carter to make it 27-19. Calvillo then threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Ben Cahoon. The 2-point try failed, but the Alouettes got the ball back and Calvillo set up the winning field goal.
The victory ended a run of Grey Cup woes for the Alouettes and Calvillo, who won only their second title in seven championship game appearances since 2000. They also ended a four-game losing streak in the Grey Cup with their sixth overall title.
“The key is not to make mistakes,” Calvillo said. “We made our share, but they made a key one at the end.”
Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant scored on a 16-yard run to give Saskatchewan a 27-11 lead with 10 minutes left, and also threw a touchdown pass to Andy Fantuz in the first quarter. Luca Congi made four field goals for the Roughriders.
Calvillo also threw a touchdown pass to Jamel Richardson in the third quarter, and Duval connected earlier from 28 yards and had a single.