Argonauts Rally to 31-21 Comeback Victory Over Saskatchewan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Sunday, July 24, 2022
The first quarter of this game was not one that featured a ton of highlights. Both teams picked up some field goals leading to a 3-3 score, but neither team put up a major or built a lead entering the second.
There was however an outstanding defensive play made by Darnell Sankey. The linebacker picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson on a pass over the middle, fully extending himself to come down with the ball.
Toronto started the second quarter with the ball and picked up good yardage consistently until they got within the five. The play after Andrew Harris reached 10,000 career rushing yards, he fumbled at the goalline and gave the ball to the Roughriders.
In this one, Jake Dolegola was making his CFL starting debut. The Roughriders failed to move the ball much in the first half, with the next drive being a prime example of this as Saskatchewan went two and out after the Toronto turnover.
Kurleigh Gittens Jr. would continue his breakout season on the next Argonaut possession as he would score a 70-yard touchdown on a post route just two plays after Toronto was back on offense. After a successful convert and a single on the ensuing kickoff, they would lead 11-3.
As we reached the three minute warning, there was plenty of excitement yet to unfold. With 2:39 left on the clock the Riders began to drive and eventually scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Dolegola to Tevin Jones. The timing on the throw was good and brought the score to 11-9. A failed two point conversion would leave the score there with just under 90 seconds left in the first half.
The Boatmen were looking to add some more points to the scoreboard before halftime and they began to march down the field. With moderate gains eventually leading to a 61-yard field goal attempt by Boris Bede as the clock was nearly out of time. Bede would push the kick left and Mario Alford would field the miss and make the double blue pay.
Alford would easily get the ball out of the endzone and then slowly make his way across the field before hitting extra gears to get the edge and return the miss for a 113-yard touchdown. After another failed two point attempt the Roughriders would lead the Argos 15-11 entering the second half.
Shaq Richardson would make the first big play of the third quarter, knocking the ball loose from Jamal Morrow, the CFL’s current rushing leader. This would lead to a 37-yard field goal attempt that Boris Bede would easily knock through to get Toronto within one point of the Roughriders.
Brett Lauther would extend the lead on the next drive, knocking through a 28-yard field goal. Dolegola hit wide receiver Samuel Emilus for a 51-yard gain to get into field goal range.
Things would begin to unravel a bit for the Argonauts as soon as they got the ball back. A bad snap would get past McLeod Bethel-Thompson and find its way into the hands of former Argo Charleston Hughes. Leading 18-14 the Roughriders would take over at the Toronto 21-yard line. The Boatmen would hold strong and prevent Saskatchewan from scoring a touchdown, but they would relinquish a field goal leading to a 21-14 lead.
About six minutes into the fourth quarter, after some exchanged punts, DaVaris Daniels took a big hit to the head. Despite the scary look, Daniels was able to get up after trainers came out to check on him.
On the same drive as this, the Argonauts worked the ball down the field with Andrew Harris runs and quick passes. McLeod Bethel-Thompson would find Cam Phillips for a 5-yard touchdown on a slot fade route. The successful Boris Bede PAT knotted the score up at 21-21 with the Roughriders getting the ball with 4:23 left in the game.
Jake Dolegola was under 50% completion at this point and two incompletions would only lower that percentage. With 3:39 remaining, the Roughriders called a timeout to ensure they were sound with their duties before punting the ball away to Brandon Banks. Despite this, Speedy Banks would set Toronto up with the ball at the Saskatchewan 50-yard line.
Andrew Harris and the quick passing game would continue to work for the Argos. After a penalty on a 3rd and inches, Harris would get down to the Saskatchewan 17-yard line. He’d then carry it inside the 10-yard line, setting up a 1st and goal. A short gain and then a big loss on a sack set up Boris Bede for a 29-yard field goal. He’d split the uprights perfectly, taking the lead with just 43 seconds remaining.
Mario Alford would field the kickoff and dance around, looking for a seam to try and replicate the excitement of his 113-yard return from earlier in the game, but he would wind up fumbling with rookie Enoch Penny-Laryea recovering the ball and scoring to seal the win with a final score of 31-21.
McLeod Bethel Thompson would finish an effective 30/38 with 336 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Andrew Harris carried the load on the ground with 26 carries for 143 yards while Kurleigh Gittens Jr.’s receiving line of 8/152/1 easily led all Argonaut receivers.
Jake Dolegola’s CFL debut was a less than impressive 12/27, 121 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His favourite target of the game, Tevin Jones, had five receptions 67 yards, and a major while Jamal Morrow failed to get much going on the ground with just 25 yards on 10 carries.
The Argonauts are now 3-2 sitting atop the CFL East while Saskatchewan drops to 4-3. Saskatchewan’s next game is scheduled to for July 29th against the BC Lions while the Argos prepare to take on the Ottawa Redblacks on July 31st.