TORONTO — Week 10’s finale provides an opportunity for both the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa REDBLACKS to rebound from their latest losses as they matchup on Sunday at BMO Field.
Toronto’s 20-7 loss to the Calgary Stampeders was their first of the season. Ottawa meanwhile is coming off two close losses, including a 26-24 defeat at the hands of Saskatchewan to close out Week 9.
Argos’ quarterback Chad Kelly suffered an ankle injury early in their most recent game but has healed enough to suit up as the starter. Depending on how he responds, backup Cameron Dukes will need to be locked in and ready to go.
In an already heavily used run game, A.J. Ouellette and Andrew Harris will need to rebound from their combined 35-yard performance, especially given the fact Kelly may not be his usual mobile self.
Fortunately for head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, there’s reason to believe they have it in them as Ouellette still ranks in the top three in rushing yards (459), rushing touchdowns (4) and yards per carry (5.4), while Harris is a proven veteran.
They’ll have to do it against a REDBLACKS team that has been the best at stopping the run. They’ve allowed a league low 61 yards per game and are led by an active front of Lorenzo Mauldin, Douglas Coleman and Jovan Santos-Knox.
The injuries didn’t stop on offence for the Argos in their loss to the Stamps, as defensive back Adarius Pickett left last week’s game but is also pencilled back in. Having Pickett available is important given the Argos are allowing 297 yards per game through the air. Joining him in shutting down the pass game will be Robertson Daniel who’s coming off a 16-tackle performance.
In what will likely be a showdown between two run games and their respective defence’s ability to stop it, quarterback Dustin Crum will be pivotal to the REDBLACKS success.
Crum leads the league with 8.5 yards per carry when he calls his own number but can also turn to Devonte Williams and Jackson Bennett at any given time as the three have the REDBLACKS sitting atop the league with 1,010 rushing yards.
As much success as they’ve had in the run game, it hasn’t been the case downfield in the air. Averaging a league low 204.5 passing yards, head coach Bob Dyce continues to search for answers.
Last week Crum targeted seven receivers with Acklin pulling down a team leading 56 yards. With the Argos struggling to stop the pass, it could provide an opportunity for Nate Behar, Shaq Evans and Justin Hardy to break out.
Regardless of past performances, Crum believes in his group.
“Guys fighting to the end has been our character,” Crum told OttawaRedblacks.com.
“At the end of the day, we have to be cleaner, especially on offence. We just have to sustain drives. It’s all about finishing in the endzone.”
If there was ever a game for Kelly to show off his arm to guide the offence, it may be this one as the REDBLACKS are the only team in the league giving up more than 300 passing yards per contest. He’ll need to be cautious though, as he’s facing a secondary that has 13 interceptions. Ottawa remains without star Brandin Dandridge but still feature Damon Webb and Justin Howell who will anchor the unit this week.
Faced with a tough matchup to close out Week 10, REDBLACKS head coach Bob Dyce loves his team’s never-say-die attitude. It’s a mindset they’ll need to take on the road Sunday night.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys,” Dyce told OttawaRedblacks.com.
“They continue to fight every single play, and as you can see, we’re never out of any game.”
It’s a matchup full of intrigue to close out Week 10 as both teams try to get back to their winning ways.
Kickoff from BMO Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. This game is available to International and U.S. audiences on CFL+. Canadian viewers can watch on TSN/RDS.
— With files from OttawaREDBLACKS.com