TORONTO – Kory Sheets’ 48-yard touchdown gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter and they did not look back after that, defeating the Argos 36-10 in Toronto.
Sheets was a force all afternoon, rushing for 106 yards on 17 carries and helping take pressure off of Darian Durant who passed for 276 yards and a touchdown on 21 of 29 passing.
The Riders were coming off a statement win over the league-leading BC Lions at home and seemingly picked up right where they left off in this one, scoring on their opening two posessions.
Running back Brandon West, subbing in for the injured Jock Sanders, took the opening kickoff back 81 yards to set up the Riders deep in Toronto territory but couldn’t put up a major and settled for a 16-yard Sandro DeAngelis field goal.
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After forcing the Argos to punt on their opening series, the Riders would strike once more when Durant found WR Taj Smith in stride down the sidelines for a 56-yard gain and set Saskatchewan up at the Argos’ 3 yard line.
Backup QB Drew Willy would punch it in two plays later in short yardage to give the Roughriders an early 10-0 lead.
On the other side of the ball, Jarious Jackson was getting his second start in a row after an impressive showing in Winnipeg last week. Another addition to the Argos backfield was Gerald Riggs Jr. who got his second start in four weeks after Chad Kackert hurt his shoulder late in Toronto’s win over the Blue Bombers.
Riggs would be bailed out by his defence early after fumbling at mid-field but the Boatmen would force a two-and-out and get the ball back.
A solid 44-yard Chad Owens punt return would give the Argos their best field position of the game and help set up a 48-yard Swayze Waters field goal to cut the lead to 10-3 Saskatchewan with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Owens return would prove to be costly for the Riders in more than just the yardage gained. Punter Chris Milo went down after making the tackle, forcing DeAngelis to take over punting duties. Conversely, the Argos were forced to use backup linebacker Kyle Jones handled all the punting for Toronto as Waters nursed a sore hand – he would continue placekicking however.
The Riders would answer Waters’ field goal with one of their own, when DeAngelis capped off a 10-play drive with a 45-yarder to restore the 10-point lead.
Jackson, who looked a little unsettled in the first quarter, would find a bit of a groove on the Argos’ next possession, leading a 7-play, 94-yard drive finished off by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Riggs out of the backfield for his first career score.
The drive was aided by a 30-yard pass interference penalty against the Riders’ secondary and two crucial catches by Maurice Mann (5 and 21 yards).
As time ticked down in the first half, the Riders seemed poised to put another major on the board after three runs for a total of 28 yards by Kory Sheets helped set Saskatchewan up on the one yard line. The Argos defence held strong however, forcing DeAngelis to hit an 11-yard chip-shot to put the Riders up 16-10.
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Jarious Jackson and the Argos offence simply could not solve the Roughriders active defence, passing for just 162 yards and holding thier top two receivers, Chad Owens and Andre Durie, to just 74 combined receiving yards.
A quick Toronto two-and-out and the Riders would scrimmage one more time with 22 seconds left in the half on the Argos’ 45 yard line. They would knock another field goal, from 48-yards out, to take a 19-10 lead into the half.
The Riders would lay claim to the first points of the second half when DeAngelis hit a 31-yard field goal to extend the lead to 22-10. The score was set up by a 28-yard catch-and-run by Neil Hughes who carried defenders with him and also earned an addition 15 yards on a horse-collar tackle by Argos linebacker Marcus Ball.
The Riders defence continued to confuse Jackson and the Argos who were hanging around up until 5:17 of the third quarter when Saskatchewan opened up their biggest lead of the game. Sheets found a crease and jetted up the middle of the Argos defence 48 yards for a touchdown to give his team a commanding 29-10 lead.
The run put the CFL rookie up over the 1,000-yard mark for the year, the second tailback to do so this season. Calgary’s Jon Cornish was the other.
The Argos would once again go two-and-out and on their very next play from scrimmage, would put the game away when Durant found speedster Weston Dressler who found a whole in the secondary, made the catch and outran the remaining Toronto defenders for a 78-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 36-10.
The Argos answered with their best drive of the second half, threatening to put a touchdown on the board but when Jackson looked endzone for Owens, Riders DB Chris McKenzie stepped in front and intercepted the pass.
Jackson who had 51 yards rushing last week in Winnipeg, simply couldn’t escape an active Saskatchewan pass rush, limiting his ability to evade the pocket all game. He did not record a carry Monday afternoon.
He would exit the game with 9:52 remaining in the contest to give way to rookie QB Trevor Harris. Jackson finished with 162 yards on 16 of 31 passing. He threw one touchdown and one interception.