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Sunday, October 16, 2016

FINAL: ROUGHRIDERS 29 ARGONAUTS 11

Photo by Ryan Pollock
TORONTO - Joe McKnight gained a measure of redemption Saturday while dealing the Toronto Argonauts' faint playoff hopes a blow.

McKnight ran for 150 yards in his first CFL start in leading the streaking Saskatchewan Roughriders past the struggling Argos 29-11 at BMO Field. McKnight began the season with Edmonton but was let go in August because of fumbling issues.

He fumbled two punt returns in the Eskimos' 39-36 overtime win over the Riders on July 8 and was relegated to the practice roster before being released.

"It was like a redemption game for me,'' McKnight said. "The last time I played I had two fumbles and you're only as good as your last game so I had to take this game very personally.

"I came out here with a chip on my shoulders and wanted to redeem myself.''

McKnight opened with a 29-yard run on the first of his 17 carries as Saskatchewan (5-10) earned its fourth straight win. But the Riders must be content playing the role of spoiler as they've been eliminated from playoff contention.

"We're not in the playoffs so it makes me sick to my stomach,'' said Chris Jones, the Riders head coach/vice-president of football operations. "Joe has had a problem in the past of getting a little loose with the football and I was proud that he took care of it.

"Certainly he made the most of his opportunities.''

Quarterback Darian Durant said the Riders were well aware of the difficulties Toronto endured last weekend in its 48-20 home loss to Calgary. CFL rushing leader Jerome Messam ran for 133 yards against the Argos, 99 coming in the first half.

McKnight had 113 rushing yards on 11 carries in the first half Saturday.

"When you break down film, you look at what teams have done well against your upcoming opponent,'' he said. "We saw Calgary kind of pounded the ball against that front and we came in with the same mentality.''

Joe Craig provided more fireworks with a 71-yard punt return TD in the second quarter that helped stake Saskatchewan to a 20-0 half-time lead.

"That's why you tackle the guy when the ball is bouncing and take a five-yard no yards,'' Jones said. "When they back up it's somebody else's play every time.''

After registering its first four wins by a combined eight points, Saskatchewan easily recorded the West Division's 14th straight victory over an East Division rival. The West is 23-8 overall head to head.

Durant finished 15-of-22 passing 164 yards and TD strikes of 14 yards to Craig and five yards to Caleb Holley. After Mitchell Gale played in the second half, the Riders went with Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., at quarterback for the final 2:33.

Toronto (5-11) suffered its fifth straight loss and ninth in 10 games. The Argos also closed out the home portion of their schedule a dismal 2-7 at BMO Field and heard it throughout the contest from the announced gathering of 15,023.

And with good reason as it was the club's second straight abysmal home performance. That prompted Diane Clemons - the wife of former Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons - to tweet Saturday, "TorontoArgos time for a #REAL #SHAKEUP starting with front office and #coaching staff .... #embarrassing.''

A sombre Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said he's more concerned with the state of his football team than his job status.

"The pain in that locker-room is something I haven't felt in a long time,'' he said. "We're working so hard to get better and it's not coming out on the field.

"All three phases are failing at one point or another.''

Toronto scored all of its points in the fourth. Lirim Hajrullahu broke the shutout with a 17-yard field goal 1:17 into the frame before Dan LeFevour's 22-yard scoring strike to Brandon Whitaker and two-point toss to Anthony Coombs at 10:53 cut Saskatchewan's lead to 29-11.

Despite the loss, Toronto remains in playoff contention, just two points behind second-place Hamilton (6-9) in the East but must finish ahead of the Ticats having lost the season series. And the Argos finish their season on the road in Calgary (13-1-1) and Edmonton (8-7-0).

Calgary hosted Montreal (4-10) later Saturday. If the Stampeders earned their 13th straight win, it would earn the West the crossover. That means the fourth-place squad would assume the East Division's third and final playoff position.

"It would be a crazy story to come back and win two,'' Whitaker said. "Nobody believes that but the guys in this locker-room.

"However we've got to keep pushing forward, we've got to have faith.''

Toronto quarterback Drew Willy was 11-of-23 passing for 87 yards before being replaced late in the third by LeFevour.

Tyler Crapigna booted three converts and two field goals for Saskatchewan. The other points came on a safety.

(Canadian Press)

25 comments:

John Knight said...

Its a good thing there are Rider fans in Toronto or there would be no fans at the game at all. Wow, is Mcknight for real?

Anonymous said...

Joe McKnight - AWESOME !

Evan Wiome said...

Overall a good game for the Riders, but the OL and the RBs need to improve in pass protection.

Anonymous said...

Great day! Riders win big and the Jays lose again! Yes, a great day!

Anonymous said...

Once again a good effort by the Riders! Room for improvement still but we have plenty of time for all these players to show off their talents. Mitchell Gale needs more playing time in my opinion but maybe Brandon Bridge has jumped ahead of him. Good game to watch, better than the Jays game apparently.

Anonymous said...

648 fans in attendance as the Argonauts outplayed the Roughriders in the second half. Saskatchewan needs to keep the pedal to the mettle no mercy against their opponents.

Evan Wiome said...

According to the Rider game stats McKnight didn't score a TD.

Anonymous said...

The Riders have needed a high impact running back if we want to be an elite team and McKnight may be that guy. We have not been the same since Kory Sheets left and now maybe we have a Sheets 2.0. I hope. We have a rich pool of young receivers for Durant, add a real running threat and the play book goes up a notch. The next thing to complete the offense it to get healthy on the offensive line.

The defense continues to get better and Muumba is a good addition.

Special teams seem to have a good returner to go with our excellent punter and our young clutch field goal kicker. 2017 is going to be a good year, but its all about building towards being a team that can beat Calgary.

Old Hank

John Knight said...

I see all the trolls calling for Jones to be fired and the Riders would finish 1 and 17 have stayed away. We will be very strong next year in the new stadium.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rod for yet another update. Do you have any idea how many updates you do per year?

Can't believe how many empty seats there are in Calgary for Mtl vs Cgy. Can you imagine how many butz in the seats they would have if they had our record. Calgary fans suck!

Montreal D is taking it to Cal O. Fun to watch! But at O - 20 Mtl O has to step up.

4 W in a row, who would have thunk that a month ago. Every W is HUGE given the year we have had.

We still continue to go into a 'lull' every game. I know the Riders believed they had the game at half, but cmon DD get those guys motivated.

We all hope Cox is OK.

D has stepped up in bushels!

Bagg = :( he had the Demski bad. Where was Demski? I haven;t given up on Demski.

Mc Knight = Good Night. He doesn't run like Sheets but man he can run. Morris also came from nowhere and performed.

It's next year time but so awesome to see the Riders respectable!

Go RIders

GpS

Anonymous said...

Only Hamilton, Ottawa and Saskatchewan basically sold out every home game this season. The rest of the teams should be ashamed of their home attendances this year.

Ave per
Home Game
BC 20,027
Edmonton 30,684
Calgary 27,469
Sask 31,185
Winnipeg 25,916

Hamilton 23,981
Toronto 16,380
Montreal 20,355
Ottawa 24,774

Stuey Regina said...

The trolls are to busy dumping on the Jays tonight! Hope these wins in the last half of the season leads to better times in the next. Nice to see the players smiling having fun and playing as a team even though they are out of it. Suspect most are looking forward to playing in this beautiful new stadium and the outstanding team facilities available.Can do nothing but boost team spirit and morale heading into the offseason. Just keep those wins coming boys. Regardless, Rider Nation is alive and heading in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

According to Robert Vanstone, this is the first time that the Riders have won back-to-back road games in the east since 1976!

@mrt_man said...

THE TV GUYS WERE NOT TAKING IT EASY ON THE ARGOS... MAYBE THEY CAN PLAY SCHULTZ'S SONG WITH THE YEARS HIGHLIGHTS.

PUNT PUNT PUNTY PUNT FUMBLE PUNTY PUNT PUNT

@mrt_man said...

RUTHLESS!

Anonymous said...

Is it the first time they've stayed out there between games?

Anonymous said...

Nice!! #McKnight Rider!!

3RD and 1 said...

Hey guys and gals the Riders didn't let up in the second half. Nor did they get out played by Toronto. I love the new term to go along with YAC (yards after catch) that being YAB (yards after beat down)
All of Toronto's success in the second half including the 11 points came with Jones switching out several starters. We all know about the QB. However I saw numerous times on defence where Jones was subbing a player or 2 here and there.
Chris Jones obviously felt a 29-0 lead was a good enough lead to say the game was won and now it's time to try out players that have deserved a chance to play. Had we still be in a race to make the playoffs. Then Chris Jones keeps his foot on the throat and dosent start subbing until say 11 minutes left in the game.
I don't often agree 100% with the TSN panel but what Clyme said was dead on. 2 Months ago the Riders were the worst team in the league and almost impossible to watch. However they have become interesting and are no longer the worst team. In fact at this point they would be rated #5 in the power rankings.
I really hope Jones can keep a couple of the new found stars on the Riders come free agency. As a few receivers are in their second and final year of their contract. Even though he has been injured these last 3 or 4 games. Most prominently would be # 82 Wide out Naaman. Roosevelt.
I am certainly happy with the Riders progress this past Month. However we have caught some teams on a down swing. Let's face it Toronto is a hot mess with back up Willy at QB. His CFL career was bumped up and pushed ahead far too quickly. After 2 years in SK he becomes a starter in Winnipeg who pays him big buck for doing nothing. Then his confidence is shattered when his back up put performed him by a country mile. Look for Toronto to release Willy at year's end. Then Willy needs to go back to $190k and being an under study back up to Bo Levi or Darian Durant or even Reilly for that matter. Just for a year, 2 maximum.

Anonymous said...

Excellent football Riders, team is gelling, thats what fans love to see.
Finally a run threat...Mcknight was awesome...keep peddle to the floor the rest of the way guys...Doubles is the man..cant say enough about him...5 year contract lets go..give him the money

Anonymous said...

They only won by 18?

Anonymous said...

I would agree the defence was a little suspect in the 2nd half and the team didn't really display a killer instinct. However all in all they were never in any real serious trouble. TO was plain bad…

I can't believe for all the money and hype around Toronto they are going to play the Grey Cup in "THAT" facility?? It looks like a high school facility and I don't see any player wanting to play there. The way they market and treat the league there is embarrassing. With BC Place, Hamilton's Stadium, Winnipeg and now Saskatchewan to have these second rate facilities in places like Toronto is a head scratcher. The Argo need something that excites the fans into wanting to come out and see them. This stadium doesn't cut it. Big problem.

Anonymous said...

Why are you shouting.

Anonymous said...

McKnight doesn't become a star only playing one game guys and on top of it your all making it like the riders beat a good team…the Argos right now could be beat by anyone in the league by 10 points or more so let's be real…no Ricky Ray or named receivers and D is very weak. The Riders however are becoming a better team just as well…won't be saying grey cup material yet but they have some nice pieces.

Greensoup said...

Would love to see the Riders lay a beating on the Loins(both games) and knock them down to 3rd. Wally will go wild.

Anonymous said...

Those 2 losses would indeed look good on Wally! 😊