Argos top RedBlacks in home finale
TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts used three quarterbacks to throw a combined five touchdown passes in a 39-9 home win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Saturday. Toronto outscored Ottawa by 23 points in the second half to take the season series and claim their fourth win of the season.
The Argos led by seven points at half-time after McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw his second touchdown of the game. Backup quarterback Dakota Prukop took over under centre to start the third quarter and threw a pair of touchdowns to help give Toronto a 32-8 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Bethel-Thompson increased his league-leading passing touchdown total to 26, and he also became the first quarterback this season to throw for over 4,000 yards.
Armanti Edwards led the game in receiving with 126 yards and a touchdown on six catches, and Smith finished with two touchdown catches and 71 yards receiving.
The Argos’ defence forced 10 punts while also racking up four sacks and a fumble recovery.
Toronto struck first with an opening-quarter scoring drive that saw Bethel-Thompson lead the Argos down the field with accurate throws. Bethel-Thompson connected with S.J. Green for a 15-yard gain and followed it up with a solid 33-yard touchdown strike to Edwards. Zack Medeiros kicked the convert to make it a seven-point lead.
Ottawa appeared to come up with a turnover in the second quarter when Sherrod Baltimore intercepted Bethel-Thompson in the end zone, but the play was called back due to a too many men penalty on the REDBLACKS. The second opportunity allowed the Argos to extend their lead, but Toronto only managed to add one point after Medeiros’ 18-yard field goal attempt went wide and out of bounds for a single.
The REDBLACKS mounted a late first-half scoring drive, as Arndt moved the chains with completions to Caleb Holley and Sinopoli before throwing a 36-yard touchdown to Dominique Rhymes. Arndt then tied the game up at eight points apiece by completing another pass to Sinopoli for the two-point conversion.
But Toronto managed to respond with a solid drive in the final two minutes of the half. Bethel-Thompson completed four straight passes to move the offence down the field in a hurry, including a 45-yard deep bomb to Smith. Bethel-Thompson capped the drive off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Worthy, and Medeiros kicked the extra point to give Toronto a 15-8 lead heading into half-time.
Prukop came in at quarterback for Toronto to start the third quarter, and the Argos’ offence proceeded to put together another effective drive. Running back A.J. Ouellette got things started in a big way with a 36-yard run, and Prukop moved the team closer on the following play with a nine-yard run. Prokop finished things off with a beautiful 13-yard touchdown pass to Smith, throwing it up high where only his receiver could reach it. Medeiros kicked the convert to put the Boatmen up 22-8.
The Argos kept it coming, and Prukop completed a 26-yard strike to Llevi Noel before following it up two plays later with his second touchdown pass of the quarter. Ouellette reached the end zone on a 15-yard catch-and-run to extend the lead, and Medeiros kicked the extra point to put the Argos up by 21 points.
Medeiros added a 30-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter after another strong defensive stop forced Ottawa to punt it away for the ninth time. O’Connor took over under centre for Toronto in the fourth quarter, and the Canadian quarterback further extended the Argos’ lead. O’Connor completed three straight passes before finding Smith in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Meideiros’ extra point gave the Argos a 39-8 lead.
Ottawa added a single point later in the fourth quarter when a 38-yard field goal attempt from Lewis Ward went wide and out of bounds.
Shaquille Richardson forced a fumble for Toronto by stripping the ball away from Wesley Lewis, sealing the victory for Toronto.
The final week of the regular season will see the Ottawa REDBLACKS host the Montreal Alouettes next Friday at 7:00 p.m. (EDT), while the Toronto Argonauts will travel to take on the East-leading Hamilton Tiger-Cats next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).
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