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Monday, July 18, 2016

WEEK 5 CFL TRENDS


T-JACK'S BACK:  Last month, Tristan Jackson seriously wondered if he was done with football.

Released in December by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Jackson spent six months patiently waiting for another CFL club to call. He even took matters into his own hands, giving Ottawa Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell a shout but no contract was forthcoming.

That is until last month, when Ottawa added the five-foot-eight, 185-pound defensive back to its practice roster. On Wednesday night, Jackson thanked the Redblacks for the new lease on his football life with a 75-yard punt return that broke a 20-20 tie and led them to a 30-20 road win over the Toronto Argonauts.

"Scoring touchdowns and helping this team win, I need to do that,'' Jackson said. "They brought me here, they believed in me.

"I was sitting at home three weeks ago, nobody wanted to give me a chance. I have to show every team in the CFL they should've given me a chance.''

Jackson was appearing in just his second game with Ottawa when he scored the third-year franchise's first-ever special-teams TD.

"That will be good for my kids when they get older,'' Jackson said. "They'll know their dad had that first return.''

The Redblacks (3-0-1) remain the CFL's only unbeaten squad with all three victories coming on the road.

The last time an Ottawa franchise began the season with three straight wins away from home was 1976 when the then Rough Riders went on to capture the city's last Grey Cup title.

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NO PASSING FAD:  Quarterback Trevor Harris enjoyed a record performance against his former team.

The Ottawa quarterback completed 28-of-31 passes for 392 yards in the Redblacks 30-20 road win over Toronto on Wednesday. It was Harris's first game against the Argonauts, who he spent four seasons with before signing with Ottawa as a free agent.

Harris's completion percentage of 90.3 was a CFL record with a minimum of 30 pass attempts. And through four games, Harris has completed 104-of-126 passes (82.5 per cent) for 1,475 yards and nine TDs with a passer rating of 143.3.

Harris had a CFL-high 33 TD strikes last season with Toronto, compiling a 9-7 record as the starter while incumbent Ricky Ray recovered from off-season shoulder surgery. Ray holds the league single-season records for completion percentage (77.2) and passer rating (126.4).

But last week's top passing performance belonged to Edmonton's Mike Reilly, who threw for 465 yards and two TDs in the Eskimos' 20-16 road victory over Winnipeg.

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HOME WOES:  Home field continues to be anything but an advantage in the CFL so far this season.

Last week, all four road teams won their games, boosting the visiting squads' record to 12-3-1 this season.

Ottawa (3-0-1) is the CFL's lone unbeaten team with all three of its wins coming on the road. That includes a 30-20 decision Wednesday versus the Toronto Argonauts.

Toronto, Hamilton and B.C. are all 2-0 on the road. However, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers , Argos and Ticats are all 0-2 at home.

B.C., Calgary and Edmonton are the lone teams to win home games this season.

(Canadian Press)

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