HALIFAX — The Boatmen looked very much at home at St. Mary’s University, as the Toronto Argonauts rolled to a 31-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Touchdown Atlantic.
Chad Kelly made 13-21 passes for 122 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in an unusually quiet offensive night for the league’s top team. The Argos’ defence and special teams units picked up the slack, however, flexing the club’s overall strength.
Mason Fine made 27-39 passes for 302 yards and a pair of interceptions. Jake Dolegala closed out the game at quarterback for the Riders, making four of his five passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Riders’ receiver Shawn Bane Jr. led all players with 144 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
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The Argos took command of the game early, after returner Leake got Kelly and the offence into good field position with a 49-yard return that set them up at Saskatchewan’s 51-yard line. While Kelly was unable to get them to the end zone, Boris Bede was able to connect on a 38-yard field goal to open the scoring at the four-minute mark.
Leake got the breakthrough he was looking for shortly after. The shifty returner took the ball 71 yards up the sideline, weaving his way through the Riders’ coverage unit for the touchdown. He was just a few steps into the end zone before he pointed to the boat stationed nearby, where he and his Argos teammates celebrated the score. Bede’s convert made it a 10-0 game at 8:54 of the first quarter.
The Argos added their second field goal of the game with Bede’s 39-yarder at 13:40 to push their lead to 13-0.
Robertson Daniel pick on Fine, allowed the Argos to take over at the Riders’ 26-yard line. Kelly needed just five plays to work his way down to the two-yard line. There, he found Dejon Brissett for the end zone reception. Kelly stuck with his target and went back to Brissett for the two-point convert, which pushed the Argos’ lead to three full scores, at 21-0 at 10:18 of the second quarter.
After the Argos opted to punt from their end zone, Fine and the Riders got to striking distance, lining up at the Argos’ two-yard line. Jamal Morrow took the handoff and looked for the touchdown but fumbled the ball, with Jamal Peters knocking it loose and Folarin Orimolade recovering at the one-yard line. The Riders’ defence dug in and got the ball back, as Nic Marshall intercepted Kelly, with the quarterback committing just his fourth interception of the season. The Argos took their three-score lead into the half.
Kelly was 8-14 for 66 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Fine made 15-0f-21 passes for 142 yards and the one interception.
The Riders got on the board at 9:19 of the third quarter, after former SMU Huskie Brett Lauther sent a 39-yard field goal through the uprights, making it a 21-3 game. The points were welcome to the largely green crowd at Huskie Stadium, but they remained hard to come by through the third quarter. The Riders got to the Argos’ six-yard line, but were hurt by an intentional grounding penalty. Their drive stretched into the fourth quarter and on third-and-15, Fine looked to Brayden Lenius, but the freshly-returned receiver was unable to pull in the would-be touchdown pass, forcing the team into its fourth turnover of the game.
Lauther added his second field goal of the night, this one from 44 yards out, to make it 21-6 at 4:27 of the fourth quarter. Bede marched back out onto the field at 10:23 to connect on a 31-yard field goal to restore the 18-point lead.
DaShaun Amos provided the dagger on the night, when he intercepted Fine and took it 58 yards for the touchdown. Bede’s convert made it a 31-6 game with just over three minutes to play.
Dolegala checked in after the Argos’ touchdown and promptly led a quick, five-play, 100-yard drive that he capped with a 30-yard touchdown toss to Shawn Bane Jr. Lauther’s convert pushed the score to 31-13. Lauther attempted a sneaky onside kick, but the Argos maintained possession and closed out the game.
The Argos are in action again on Friday, Aug. 4 when they travel to Calgary to face the Stampeders. The Riders will close out Week 9 when they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Sunday, Aug. 6.