Saskatchewan Roughriders force five turnovers to beat Argonauts

The Toronto Argonauts got used to seeing Corey Mace’s defence dominate opposing offences, but experienced what it’s like to be on the other side of it for the first time.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders relied heavily on their defensive unit to capture a 30-23 win over the Argonauts on Thursday at Mosaic Stadium.

The Green and White forced five turnovers, including four interceptions on Argonauts’ quarterback Cameron Dukes. One of them was a pick six by Marcus Sayles that broke a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter and eventually set up the win.

Jameer Thurman (fumble recovered), Deontai Williams (interception), Rolan Milligan Jr. (two interceptions) were the other standout defenders as the Riders remain undefeated after five weeks.

Pivot Shea Patterson, who was playing in his first CFL start, also put forth an admirable effort by scoring two majors, a passing touchdown connection with Samuel Emilus and a rushing score.

Janarion Grant added a punt return touchdown and Ka’Deem Carey scored a rushing major as the Argonauts lost their second straight game.

» Depth Chart: TOR | SSK
» Game Tracker: Toronto at Saskatchewan by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Argos at Riders

Grant gave Dukes and the offence good field position with a long return to start the game, but the offence wasn’t able to capitalize on it, punting the ball back to Saskatchewan. The Riders offence also went nowhere, kicking it back to Toronto after a couple of plays. That was when Grant took it into his own hands to score, evading a sea of Green and White defenders to score the first touchdown of the game. The Argos would go on to add two more points via conversion, but a holding penalty set them back 10 yards and an incomplete pass kept the score 6-0 in favour of the visitors.

Saskatchewan’s defence made a play later in the first quarter to put the offence in position to score. C.J. Avery forced a fumble on Carey and Thurman jumped on it to give Patterson the ball in Toronto territory. The offence was unable to move the chains and kicker Brett Lauther came in to cut the lead to 6-3 with 4:04 left in the first quarter.

Argonauts’ kicker Lirim Hajrullahu pushed the lead back to six with a 48-yard field goal to open the second quarter.

Patterson and the offence answered with their longest drive up to that point. The young pivot completed passes to Jerreth Sterns and KeeSean Johnson to move across midfield before Kian Schaffer-Baker muscled his way to another first down. A couple of plays later Emilus took a short pass from Patterson, dodged a couple of Argonauts and ran into the end zone to push the home team ahead for the first time, 10-9.

Hajrullahu missed his next attempt as the Riders held on to a one-point lead with 2:32 left in the first half. Toronto would get another possession with the chance to go ahead, but an interception by Williams gave the Green and White a chance to add more points to the board. The offence advanced a dozen yards further to move into Lauther’s range, but an offside penalty pushed them back five more yards and the veteran ended up hitting the crossbar from 57 yards out. The miss kept the lead at one going into halftime.

The second half began with Mario Alford giving the offence a spark with a 46-yard return that set up the offence close to midfield. Patterson and running back AJ Ouellette moved the ball all the way to Toronto’s 20-yard line, but Saskatchewan had to settle for another field goal try after a catch by Johnson fell short of the first down mark. Lauther converted from 28 yards out to push the lead to 13-9 with 10:50 left in the third quarter.

The visitors responded with their own scoring drive. Dukes got DaVaris Daniels and Damonte Coxie involved to move the ball into Saskatchewan territory, but the defence stopped them from moving further and Hajrullahu cut the lead back to one halfway through the third.

A couple of drives later the Riders defence put their team in position to score once more when Milligan Jr. intercepted a pass by Dukes in Toronto territory. The offence did its job by turning it into seven points. Patterson completed a 23-yard pass to Johnson before hustling his way into the end zone two plays later to push the lead to 20-12 with 1:03 left in the quarter.

Toronto fought back with a touchdown march to tie the game at 20 early in the fourth quarter. This time it was Carey’s show as the tailback rushed four times for 30 yards on the drive, including a three-yard scamper into the end zone. Dukes completed four of five passes on the drive while also throwing a successful two-point conversion to Daniels that evened the score.

The Argos got the ball back after a quick punt by the home team, but the Green and White defence stepped up one more time to put their team ahead. This time Sayles got the job done himself by catching a deflected pass and running it back the other way to put his team ahead 27-20 with the point after.

Milligan Jr. added another interception later in the quarter, returning it all the way to Toronto’s 11-yard line and Lauther extended the lead to 30-20 with 3:13 left in the game.

The visitors turned to veteran Nick Arbuckle for a spark and the pivot marched his team into Hajrullahu’s range to cut the lead to 30-23 with under two minutes to go.

Saskatchewan’s offence was then able to run the clock down to seal their fourth win in four games.

The Argos now stay on the road to face the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday, July 11, to open Week 6. The Riders meanwhile travel west to face the BC Lions on Saturday, July 13.

Today's CFL is more than just our great game of football. It's fans sharing their excitement for what they see on the field, and what they experience off it. Stay up to date on all the non-stop action at