A.J. Ouellette runs away from his former Ohio University teammate and a great friend, Casey Sayles. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo

HAMILTON, CANADA – A.J. Ouellette, a 2014 Covington graduate, chose to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders due to the hiring of Corey Mace as the head coach and his passion to help build a winning culture for a franchise that finished with just six wins a year ago.

Now, just two weeks into the 2024 season, Ouellette has helped lead the Roughriders to a 2-0 record after a comeback victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-30.

Still, the game wasn’t perfect by any means as Saskatchewan committed so many penalties (11 for 115 yards) that gave Hamilton good situations. Fortunately the Roughriders were able to make just enough plays to escape with a victory on a field goal as time expired.

For A.J., running the football against the Tiger-Cat defense was extremely tough because he was hit in the backfield several time as he took the handoff. A.J. tallied 32 yards on 11 carries and virtually every yard was after contact. His toughness and determination running the football led to three first downs in key situations where the Roughriders were able to overcome a 30-23 deficit with just under six minutes left in the game.

Ouellette also caught four passes for 27 yards and had another big reception for a long gain that was negated by a clipping penalty. Had the penalty not been committed, Ouellette would have had the Roughriders inside the 20 with a great scoring opportunity. Instead, the penalty eventually ended the drive.

Saskatchewan held a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Hamilton went on a rampage in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead at the half.

The Roughriders opened up the second half with a field goal and a touchdown to cut the deficit to 20-17. Saskatchewan then recovered a fumble deep inside Hamilton’s territory, but the turnover was reversed as the ball was recovered by a Roughrider who lost his helmet. Hamilton took advantage of the break by scoring a touchdown two plays later to push its lead to 27-17 at the end of the third.

Saskatchewan put together a drive for a field goal and then Hamilton kicked a field goal to maintain a ten-point lead, 30-20.

The Roughriders kicked another field goal to put themselves in contention and then scored a touchdown with 43 seconds left in the game to tie the score at 30-30.

Saskatchewan’s defense followed up by picking off a pass at the Hamilton 37 with 35 seconds left. Two runs by Ouellette put the Roughriders in position to kick the game-winning field goal as the time ticked away.

Ouellette’s popularity was on display after the game as fans surrounded him on the field to get autographs and pictures with him. Saskatchewan fans were not the only ones who gravitated to Ouellette as many fans from Hamilton and Toronto were on the field embracing him as well.

Yes, A.J. Ouellette is a star player in Canada where he is hoping to lead the Roughriders to the highest level of football in the CFL.

A.J. Ouellette gains extra yards after leaping over a Hamilton defender. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo
A.J. Ouellette celebrates a huge victory over Hamilton. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo
A.J. Ouellette took a lot of time to embrace fans after the game. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo
A.J. Ouellette powers his way for tough yards in a 33-30 win over Hamilton. ©Ben Robinson/Color Green Photo