Sunday, July 5, 2015

Harris heady at the helm as Argos win OT thriller

Trevor Harris proved Sunday that his Week 1 preformance was no fluke.

The Edinboro grad calmly stepped in and led his club from behind not once, but twice - in regulation and overtime -- to lift the Toronto Argonauts to a thrilling 42-40 overtime win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Harris completed an 11-yard pass to receiver Tori Gurley and then got a two-point conversion by completing a pass to Anthony Coombs on the final 'mini-game' of the extra frame to seal the win for Toronto.
Owens also caught another game-tying touchdown in the first stage of overtime when the Argos had their backs against the wall. Harris was 30 of 38 for 267 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win.

Harris and the rest of the Argonaut offence were slow out of the starting gate only gaining 108 yards in the first half, but Head Coach Scott Milanovich unleashed them when it mattered.

The Argos pivot checkdown-heavy approach early on came to a hault on the last drive of regulation on a nine play, 85 yard drive with Harris aggressively pushing the ball downfield, resulting in a Chad Owens touchdown reception.

Despite all of the edge-of-your-seat overtime action, the highlight of the game came from Roughrider slotback Ryan Smith. Smith put in his candidate for catch of the year with a 40-yard leaping reception in the fourth quarter followed by another 45-yard gain down the sideline with only minutes left in the game.

Also overshadowed with all of the late game heroics was Kevin Glenn's monster 477-yard game which moved him passed Matt Dunigan for 7th place on the CFL's all-time passing yards list.

Glenn completed 33 of 40 passes with 2 touchdowns on the day.

Special teams often gets overlooked in the game of football but it almost proved to be a difference-maker.

Forty-five=year-old kicker Paul McCallum was perfect on the day making all four of his field goal attempts. The other kicker in today's game, rookie Ronnie Pfeffer, was born one year before McCallum started kicking field goals for the BC Lions in 1993. Pfeffer made a 50 yard field goal in his debut, but the Laurier product missed two field goals later on which almost costed the Argos.

Perhaps the biggest turning point in the game came from the hands of Argonauts defensive back AJ Jefferson who sucked the energy right out of Mosaic Stadium with a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown. This came one play after the Rider faithful were jumping for joy after Smith's highlight reel catch.
Images: Capturing a classic at Mosaic


A big positive for Toronto was offensive tackle Bruce Campbell who was deemed the tough task of shutting down Saskatchewan defensive end John Chick. Campbell was able to keep the former Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the year quiet, limiting him to zero sacks and keeping Trevor Harris upright throughout.

The Argos opened the scoring with a touchdown pass to Kevin Elliott and the 50-yarder from Pfeffer.

The Riders stormed back however, and held a one-point lead off a 50-yard touchdown pass from Glenn to Smith.  
Saskatchewan seemed in control for the majority of the second half until Harris calmly led the Argos to a game-tying drive, capped off by a touchdown toss to Owens.
The two teams took to overtime after that as the Boatmen salted away the win.

It wasn't all good news for the Argonauts however; veteran slotback Andre Durie left the game in the third quarter with what appeared to be an injury to his knee and starting safety Jermaine Gabriel also left late in the game and did not return.  National DB Matt Black replaced Gabriel while Coombs stepped in for Durie.

The Argos look to build off a hot 2-0 start as they roll into McMahon Stadium next week to take on the Calgary Stampeders.

The Riders will counter with a Friday-night affair at BC Place against the Lions.

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