CFL: Saskatchewan Roughriders earn season’s 2nd win, beat Toronto at home

REGINA – On a scorching summer evening at Mosaic Stadium filled with highlight reel catches, the Saskatchewan Roughriders used their air attack to break open in the second half and secure the 38-27 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

Led by Kevin Glenn’s four touchdown passes and Duron Carter’s two endzone grabs and 131 receiving yards, the Riders overcame an early deficit for the win.

Toronto jumped out to a quick lead but the Riders consistently kept the game close.

Ricky Ray found Anthony Coombs early and often on the team’s opening drive as the duo kept the ball moving downfield. SJ Green added a nine-yard grab and a rush by James Wilder on third down allowed for the Argos to keep the pushing downfield. Lirim Hajrullahu capped the drive with a 27-yard field goal to put Toronto up 3-0 early.

The Argos defence pinned the Riders deep in their own zone after a sack by Troy Davis, allowing for them to get the ball back on offence near midfield. A 45-yard gain by Declan Cross put Toronto into scoring territory and a roughing the passer penalty moved the Argos even closer to the end zone. Llevi Noel recorded his first touchdown reception of the season to push the Argos lead to 10-0.

First down catches by Bakari Grant and Naaman Roosevelt and rushes by Cameron Marshall led the Riders response to put some points on the board. Getting into the red zone, Glenn punched through on third down but could not find paydirt as Saskatchewan had to settle for a field goal by Tyler Crapigna.

The teams traded possessions in the second quarter with the defences holding strong throughout. Grant broke the stalemate with a 49-yard reception that put Saskatchewan into the red zone. Roosevelt scored a touchdown with a leaping grab on the goal line to tie the game.

Photo: Arthur Ward

Looking to regain the lead, a strong return by Martese Jackson led to an Armanti Edwards 22-yard gain. Ray made history to finish off the drive with his 304th touchdown toss, passing Matt Dunigan for fifth on the all-time list. The Green major in double coverage put the Argos back on top 17-10 with just over a minute remaining in the half.

Working with under a minute remaining, Glenn marched the Riders downfield before the halftime whistle. With 14 seconds remaining, Duron Carter hauled in a fantastic one-handed touchdown grab on the sideline to tie the game once again as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

The Argos notched a single five minutes into the second half.

An 18-yard run by Marshall and back-to-back catches by Carter were answered by two sacks on the drive by the Argos. Crapigna booted his second field goal of the game to give the Riders their first lead of the game, 20-18.

Ray went airborne with his receivers to move the chains and end any momentum that Saskatchewan was trying to build. The Argos lead was restored on a 29-yard touchdown grab by Jeff Fuller, his first as a member of the Double Blue. The two-point convert was unsuccessful as Toronto led 24-20.

Carter continued to go to work and didn’t let the Argos enjoy the lead for too long. The wideout caught a pair of passes to open the fourth quarter including a 14-yard touchdown reception to put the Riders up by three, 27-24.

The Riders recovered the onside kick as the game began to swing in Saskatchewan’s favour but could not add any more points. After shutting down the Argos, Carter added a 29-yard punt return on the next possession to put the Riders past midfield. A 44-yard field goal attempt by Crapigna was successful as the Saskatchewan lead grew to 30-24 with 9:19 remaining.

A 20-yard grab by Coombs and an 18-yard catch by Green moved the chains for the Argos offence. Toronto continued to use the clock with a series of short rushes but failed to capitalize just outside the goal line, settling for a 12-yard field goal to trail 30-27 with 3:49 left in the game.

Not wanting to make the game any closer, Grant caught the Argos defence napping, picking himself up off the field to add some extra yards on a 29-yard gain. Glenn found Grant twice more on the drive for fresh sets of downs. Caleb Holley’s touchdown and Roosevelt’s two-point conversion sealed the victory for the Riders with under a minute remaining.

Ray finished the game with 386 passing yards and three touchdown passes but it was not enough for Toronto.

Next week, the Argos host the Calgary Stampeders while the Riders visit the BC Lions.

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