REGINA — Will Ford ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns in his first game as a Rider as Saskatchewan took care of the Toronto Argonauts 37-9 Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.
The Argonauts and Roughriders entered their Week 5 matchup looking like very different teams from when Toronto trounced Saskatchewan 48-15 in Week 2.
The Riders were going with a new addition to the team in the backfeild after signing Ford and released Hugh Charles earlier in the week in hopes that they could find that solid running back they had been looking for. The Argos were without their three biggest offensive contributors in that Week 2 game as Chad Owens, Jason Barnes, and Andre Durie were all sidelined with injuries.
Factor all of the aforementioned changes in and this one would start very differently.
The Argos came out looking to get momentum started as they tried to silence Rider Nation but instead they fired the fans up in Regina even more.
On the first drive of the game Ray through an interception, only his second of the year, that was taken by Tyron Brackenridge and returned 43-yards giving the Riders great field position. Saskatchewan took advantage scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run by QB Darian Durant.
Momentum remained on the side of the Riders in the next Toronto drive after Ricky Ray was sacked and stripped by Tearrius George, once again putting the Riders in Argos territory.
This time the Riders would give the ball to their newest addition in Ford, who ate up yardage on his way to a 20-yard touchdown run to put Saskatchewan up 14-0 early in the first frame.
The Argos defence began to step up in an attempt to help the offence find their way back into the game and did so when Jamie Robinson broke into the backfield to tip a Darian Durant pass that was intercepted by Thaddeus Gibson, his first career interception.
Ray led the offence down the field but could not put the Argos into the endzone as Swayze Waters kicked a 17-yard field goal for Toronto’s first points of the game.
The Argos defence came through once again on the Saskatchewan drive forcing a two-and-out and giving the offence another chance.
Once again Ray would lead the drive down the field with a 46-yard pass to Anthony Coombs but could not get the ball into the endzone settling for a 16-yard field goal.
The first quarter ended with the Riders up 14-6 but still trying to get things going on offence after Durant finished the quarter without a complete pass.
After the defences took over in the beginning of the second quarter, Durant began to find his groove and in their third drive began connecting with his favourite receiver; throwing a 35-yard strike to Taj Smith to put the Riders on the 3-yard line. That set up a Ford touchdown to extend Saskatchewan’s lead to 21-6.
The Argos could not answer and gave the ball back to the Riders who once again were led by a big pass and catch this time from Durant to Dan DePalma for 56 yards. The Riders looked to their new addition again as Ford ran for his third touchdown of the night, this time from 2-yards out.
Getting the ball back down 28-6, the Argos looked to Ray to lead another drive down the field but their next drive ended with Ray’s second interception of the night, double his total interceptions for the season, to Marc LeGree.
The Riders drove down the field again with time ticking away, but would not manage to put points on the board before the half, which was matched by the Argos who ended the half down 28-6.
Going into the locker rooms after the first half the Riders were clearly in control but saw Durant taking a little extra time on the sidelines after a 7-yard scramble saw the quarterback seemingly injured and leaving many to wonder if he was going to return for the second half of the game.
The Boatmen had some work to do at half with uncharacteristic turnovers hurting them and giving the Riders too many opportunities.
As they got the ball back for their first drive of the half, Toronto began putting together a good drive until a fumble by Ray handed the ball back to the Riders.
Following the turnover, the Riders took advantage again with Chris Milo kicking a 39-yard field goal to increase the Rider lead to 31-6.
The Argos showed some life throughout the quarter but penalties continued to halt the Argos offence and the boatmen settled with another Waters field goal, this time from 40-yards away to make the deficit 31-9.
The third quarter ended with the Riders comfortably ahead and the Argos continuing to falter on offence in a game that looked like the exact opposite of their Week 2 meeting.
The fourth quarter saw the defences take over as the teams looked to their backups in a game that was out of hand.
The Riders added to their lead kicking two field goals, 38 and 43-yards by Milo, as they increased their lead while they continued to stifle the Argonauts offence.
As the game came to an end it was a familiar site from the Week 2 match-up but a reversal of fortunes with the Riders taking the 37-9 win earning some redemption for their 48-15 loss in the first meeting between the two teams.
Toronto will look to regroup from this loss as they head to Montreal for their first Eastern Division game of the season while the Riders try to build on the win when they travel to Ottawa for the second home game of the newest CFL franchise.