Realty One

Titan Auto

Sunday, August 9, 2015


TORONTO (CP) - Once again, Trevor Harris and the Toronto Argonauts added to the Saskatchewan Roughriders' misery.

Harris threw two fourth-quarter TD passes to rally Toronto (4-2) to a penalty-filled 30-26 win over the hard-luck Riders (0-7) on Saturday night at Rogers Centre. It was the second time the Argos had beaten Saskatchewan this year - the first being a 42-40 overtime decision at Mosaic Stadium on July 5 - and marked the first since '04 the Double Blue have swept the season series with their Western rival.

"We were fortunate to sneak out a victory, our defence did a great job making a big play for us,'' Harris said. "We had guys step up when we needed (them) to and that's the key in football.''

Harris finished 23-of-29 passing for 316 yards - his fourth 300-yard game this season. He hit a streaking Diontae Spencer for a 53-yard touchdown pass at 4:41 to put Toronto ahead 30-23. Just 58 seconds into the fourth, Harris found Vidal Hazelton on a 27-yard scoring strike that tied the score in a game that featured 43 combined penalties for a whopping 367 yards.

It was the second-most penalties in a game in CFL history. The record is a combined 46 flags for 445 yards in a 1992 game between Hamilton and Winnipeg.

But it was Akwasi Owusu-Ansah who provided the game-changing play. He returned a Brett Smith interception 50 yards for the TD that Harris followed up with a two-point conversion pass to offensive lineman Wayne Smith to tie it 16-16 in the third. And although Smith then hit Chris Getzlaf on a 55-yard touchdown toss at 9:49, Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said Owusu-Ansah's return was crucial.

"It was the biggest play of the game, without a doubt,'' he said. "We were struggling offensively and kind of slopping around defensively.

"That play, followed by Wayne's two-point conversion, energized our sidelines and it was game on.''

Toronto won just five days after dropping a 34-18 road decision to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"These games are ugly when you play in five days ... I knew it would be that way,'' Milanovich said. "That display of penalties, you can't blame that on anything.

"It was way uglier than I expected it to be. I'm proud we found a way to win ... we sit here 4-2 and we don't have to apologize for that but we've got to get better.''

The Riders pulled to within 30-26 on Paul McCallum's 27-yard field goal at 12:13 of the fourth. They took over at their 39 with 1:35 remaining and drove to the Toronto 15 but Smith's pass into the end zone on the game's final play fell incomplete.

It was another heart-breaking loss for Saskatchewan, which had three TDs nullified by penalties. The Riders were last 0-7 in '79 when they dropped their first 12 contests.

"We took points off the board,'' Roughriders coach Corey Chamblin said. "This was a good game, we had a chance down to the field.

"We have to clean up the negative and move to the positive. It's that simple.''

For Getzlaf, who had five catches for 80 yards, penalties were the main factor for Saskatchewan.

"We're constantly setting ourselves back,'' Getzlaf said. "We had a lot of good plays ... but if you eliminate a lot of those penalties it's a way different game.''

Toronto won its first game of the season at Rogers Centre before 20,642 spectators with the roof open on a gorgeous summer night. Ronnie Pfeffer booted two field goals and two converts, with the other Argonaut points coming on a safety.

Getzlaf finished with two TDs for Saskatchewan. McCallum added two converts and three field goals.

McCallum's 27-yard field goal as time expired staked Saskatchewan to a 13-8 halftime lead despite having the three TDs nullified by penalty. The biggest play of the half belonged to rookie Nic Demski, who returned Pfeffer's missed 48-yard field goal try 93 yards to the Toronto 18, setting up Getzlaf's six-yard TD catch at 13:18.

But twice Saskatchewan took costly penalties that nullified Getzlaf TD grabs. Getzlaf's 55-yard touchdown catch in the first came back because of offsetting flags before his 18-yard reception in the second was waved off by an illegal interference call on offensive lineman Chris Best.

Saskatchewan also had Geoff Tisdale's interception return for a TD following Getzlaf's score but Tisdale was called for illegal contact.



- Write it like the other ones and you have the same story.  Tight loss.  We did some good things but negative things hurt us.  Everytime we had big plays, penalties killed us.

- We changed some things up to add guys like Steven Miller and he gave us a chance.  The new guys stepped in and gave us a breath of fresh air.

- That's how things are right now.  We fix one side and we know the other side is coming along.  They did some good things tonight but as a unit we have to play better football.

- Brett Smith took some big shots tonight but he can play the game.  He just needs to lock in and lock down.

- Every last guy is fighting and their pride is kicking in.  They're doing whatever it takes to win.

- Weston wasn't able to go this week.  He tried and didn't finish but Korey Williams stepped in and did a nice job.

- I told them to take a step back, re-evaluate themselves and come back and play some positive ball.


- Just little stuff is hurting us.  We just have to keep pressing but we can't afford these penalties.  That's what killing us.  We just have to keep pressing, there's nothing else I can say.  We have to eliminate penalties and move forward.

- We've been doing the same things but now we're getting sacks.  We've always been getting pressure, hurries and things but we've been emphasizing two and outs and getting the ball back so we can score.

- (On Brandon Tennant's sack).  All I saw was stomach!  Haha.  That's all I saw.  Tennant is learning here in his first year and really being a big part of the defense but like I told him before, 'You're a good kid, just keep working hard'.  But I hope he doesn't lift his shirt again.

- It's getting harder and harder and it's definitely a game of inches.  It's getting tougher every week.  Hopefully this week off will give us time to reflect and find out what it takes to get a win.


- Defense played great tonight.  They did all they could for us to win the game.  We shot ourselves in the foot again and made it hard for us to win the game.  We gotta be able to close it.

- Brett did a great job today.  There's the unfortunate pick but he played hard.  He played real hard.  He took some hits but he made things happen with his legs and that gives him a chance.

- He was resilient today, that's for sure.  I told him he was a warrior today.

- We got a week for everybody to get their bodies right and maybe take a look in the mirror to make sure we're mentally sound.  Penalties are costing us games.  You take this out and it's a whole different ballgame.