Andrew Harris leads Argos with historic performance in win over Saskatchewan

REGINA — In a rematch of last week’s Touchdown Atlantic game, the Toronto Argonauts were able to top the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a second consecutive week.

In a 31-21 win over the Riders, Toronto running back, Andrew Harris had a historic night. His 143 rushing yards pushed him over the 10,000 career rushing yard barrier, making him the first Canadian running back to reach the milestone.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson helped led the Argonauts efforts in the passing game, the Argos’ pivot threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns, completing 30 of his 38 passing attempts in yet another impressive showing.

Toronto receiver, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Was the leading pass-catcher in the game, reeling in a team-high 152 yards and a touchdown in the win over Saskatchewan. Markeith Ambles had an equally as impressive outing catching a team-high nine passes for 65 yards against a tough Rider defence.

» Box Score: Argos, Riders by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Toronto at Saskatchewan
» Andrew Harris surpasses 10,000 career rushing yards
» Watch: Dolegala, Jones get their first CFL TD


Entering Sunday’s contest Harris needed just 75 yards to reach 10,000 career rushing yards. The Toronto back was involved early in the game. On the team’s opening drive, Harris saw three carries and rushed for 15 yards, however the Argos couldn’t punch in a score.

With their next offensive possession Harris saw another three carries and pushed his total to 31 yards in the first quarter. He also caught a six yard pass to help his put his team in scoring range. Toronto would be unsuccessful in getting to the end zone, but did manage to score the game’s first points as kicker Boris Bede split the uprights on a 26-yard field goal attempt.

With their offence back on the field just before the end of the first quarter, Toronto looked poised to extend their lead over Saskatchewan. However, as Bethel-Thompson dropped back to pass, he fired a pass downfield that was intercepted by Rider linebacker Darnell Sankey.

Following the interception, the Saskatchewan offence had the ball on the Argonaut 25-yard line. The Boatmen defence was able to limit the damage from the interception, as they forced a two and out against Dolegala and the offensive attack.

Saskatchewan was forced to settle for the field goal as kicker Brett Lauther converted a 28-yard attempt to tie the game 3-3 before the end of the first quarter.

Toronto opened the second quarter with four consecutive rushing plays called for Harris, which he was able to turn into 25 yards for the Argos offence, putting him just 13 yards shy of the 10,000 yard mark.

With the ball on the Saskatchewan three-yard line, Harris was just two yards away from reaching the milestone and on a second down rushing attempt, Harris became just the six player in CFL history to rush for 10,000 career yards. However, Harris was unable to find the end zone, leaving Argos facing a third and goal.

Toronto elected to keep their offence on the field and Harris was called upon to convert the goal line score, but Saskatchewan’s defensive front held strong as Anthony Lanier forced a fumble on the play which the Riders were able to recover.

The fumble from Harris didn’t impact the confidence of the Argos offensive unit. With their offence back on the field following the turnover the Boatmen needed just two plays to find the end zone, as Bethel-Thompson found Gittens Jr. for a 70-yard touchdown connection to give his team the lead midway through the second quarter.

With just under three minutes remaining in the first half the Boatmen appeared to be driving once again, but Saskatchewan defensive linemen Charleston Hughes found his way into the Toronto backfield for the sack-forced fumble on Bethel-Thompson, giving the Riders the ball back with a chance to score before halftime.

Saskatchewan would find themselves faced with a third down on the Toronto 10-yard line, but Dolegala would call his own number and rush for a seven yard gain to extend the Saskatchewan drive.

With the fresh set of downs, Dolegala fired a beautiful pass to Tevin Jones on a corner-route in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown pass of his CFL career, it was also the first touchdown reception of Jones’ career.

Toronto would have one more opportunity to put points on the board before halftime, however it would have to be a near perfect kick as the Argos called on Bede to try for a 61-yard attempt with second left in the half, the make would be a new career long for the Toronto kicker.

Bede struck the kick wide right as the ball soared into the hands of Saskatchewan returner, Mario Alford. Alford found a crease up the sideline and made the Argonauts pay for their decision to try a long field goal, as he returned the missed Bede field goal 112 yards for a touchdown to give his team the lead before the end of the half.


The second half of play opened with a defensive back and fourth between the teams. On the second Rider drive of the new half, Shaquille Richardson was able to punch a ball free from Saskatchewan’s Morrow, Toronto’s Chris Edwards recovered the loose ball putting the Toronto offence on the Saskatchewan 35-yard line.

The Boatmen offence would be held out of the end zone, however Bede was once again called on to attempt a field goal, this time he would connect on the 36-yard try, bringing his team within a single point.

Following the fumble from Morrow, Dolegala and the Riders’ offence looked determined to erase the memory of the turnover as Dolegala heaved a ball deep downfield to  rookie receiver, Samuel Emilus for a 51-yard completion to put the Rider offence within striking range.

Despite the big play from Emilus, Toronto’s defence held their ground and forced the Riders to settle for a field goal, as Lauther connected on a 28-yard attempt to push the Saskatchewan lead back to four.

Following the made field goal, the Rider defence kept the pressure on the Boatmen, Demarcus Christmas found his way into the Toronto backfield for the sack on Bethel-Thompson. On the very next play, a bad snap went careening past Bethel-Thompson as Saskatchewan’s Hughes made the veteran play to tip the ball forward to give the Riders the ball at the Toronto 21-yard line.

The Argos defence once again dug in and held their footing against the Rider offensive attack, a strong run from Frankie Hickson was met by Ja’Gared Davis on the goal line, as Davis held Hickson out of the end zone.

Saskatchewan would again be forced to settle for a field goal as Lauther was good from 18-yard out, giving his team a 21-14 lead heading into the final frame of action.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Toronto was finally able to break the Saskatchewan defence. Bethel-Thompson engineered a play scoring drive, completing five passes for 47 yards to help his team get into scoring position. With the ball on the Saskatchewan five-yard line Bethel-Thompson found Cam Phillips for the touchdown, helping his team tie the game with just over five minutes remaining.

After a good punt return from Brandon Banks, Toronto had the ball at midfield with three minutes left in the game. Harris looked determined to help give his team the chance to win the game. He carried the ball fives times for 32 yards to put the Argos inside the Saskatchewan 10-yard line with less than a minute to play.

The Rider defence bent, but it didn’t break, on second down Saskatchewan defensive bakc Mike Edem found Bethel-Thompson in the backfield for a crucial sack to halt the Toronto drive.

Toronto was forced to try for a 29-yard field, which Bede converted, giving the Boatmen a three point lead with just over forty seconds to play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Alford, already with a return-touchdown in the game, was again waiting for the kick. However, Alford couldn’t get lightening to strike twice as Toronto’s Robbie Smith forced a fumble that rookie linebacker Enoch Penney-Laryea was able to return for a touchdown. All, but ending Saskatchewan’s hopes of a comeback.

Looking ahead to Week 8, Toronto will look to continue their success as they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Sunday, while the Roughriders will be hosting the BC Lions for Friday Night Football.

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