Toronto Argonauts air it out in rout over Montreal Alouettes

TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts channeled some of the excitement of the neighboring Canadian National Exhibition on Saturday at BMO Field, where they dominated the visiting Montreal Alouettes en route to a 38-6 victory.

Ricky Ray threw for 377 yards and a quartet of touchdowns in the win for Toronto (4-5), while the double-blue defense limited Montreal (3-5) to just 163 yards of offence.

Facing his former team, Argos receiver S.J. Green was nothing short of dominant in catching nine passes for 145 yards and two spectacular touchdowns.

Saturday’s contest was over by the half; Toronto scored four majors in the second quarter to pull away, while allowing Montreal just 77 total offensive yards in the opening 30 minutes.

The lone bright spot on the afternoon for the Alouettes was receiver Nik Lewis, whose six catches vaulted him over Ben Cahoon and into second on the CFL’s all-time receptions list.

The Argos opened the scoring on their first possession of the afternoon, as Ray led his team down the field on a methodical eight-play drive before finding Green in the end zone through double coverage. The ensuing Lirim Hajrullahu convert made it 7-0 Toronto.

Toronto WR SJ Green hauling in a pass from Ricky Ray Photo: The Canadian Press

Montreal then drove the length of the field on a 10-play drive only to have the 11th play, a Darian Durant pass, intercepted on the Argos goal line by Toronto linebacker Cassius Vaughn.

A catch-and-run touchdown for Declan Cross early in the second quarter was brought off the board by a holding penalty; two plays later, Ray aired one out to the end zone via S.J. Green airways for a 28-yard touchdown connection. Hajrullahu’s convert then made it 14-0 for the double blue.

Toronto found the end zone on the very next play, as Alouettes return man Stefan Logan muffed a punt and rookie Justin Tuggle returned the loose ball for a scoop and score. Hajrullahu’s convert pushed the Argos’ lead to 21-0.

The hosts continued to dominate, and Declan Cross found the end zone again — this time legally — on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ray. Hajrullahu’s fourth convert of the afternoon brought the Toronto lead to 28-0.

Armanti Edwards got in on the action in the final minute of the first half, hauling in a seven-yard Ray pass for a touchdown; following Hajrullahu’s convert, Toronto took a 35-0 lead into the locker room.

Hajrullahu sent a 54-yard field goal attempt wide right late in the third quarter.

Toronto RB Declan Cross scoring a TD Photo: Johany Jutras

It was Montreal’s defense that broke the Argo shutout bid with 30-odd seconds left in quarter, as Dominique Tovell stepped up and intercepted Ray for a 61-yard pick-six. Durant’s two-point convert attempt fell incomplete, and the score stood at 35-6.

A 22-yard chip shot from Hajrullahu rounded out the afternoon’s scoring.

Defensive leaders in Saturday’s contest for Toronto included Tuggle, who in addition to his scoop and score had three tackles and a pass breakup, and Marcus Ball, who recorded a team-high six tackles. Montreal defensive Dondre Wright registered a game-high eight tackles.

Drew Willy took over at quarterback for Montreal on its final possession, relieving Durant after an underwhelming 14-for-27, 93-yard, one-interception performance on the veteran’s 35th birthday.

The win was not without a cost for the Argos, who lost starting cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and slot back Anthony Coombs to injury.

The Alouettes will face a short week, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers due to pay them a visit on the Week-10 edition of Thursday Night Football (Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m. ET), while Toronto will head west for a date with the red-hot Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night (Aug. 26, 9 p.m. ET).

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