July 16th, 2024

Roughriders extend win streak to four in a row to start CFL season


By Jeff DeDekker, The Canadian Press on July 4, 2024.

Saskatchewan Roughriders' Samuel Emilus (right) runs past Toronto Argonauts' Royce Metchie (9) and Mason Pierce (28) during the first half of CFL football action in Regina, on Thursday, July 4, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

REGINA – The Saskatchewan Roughriders extended their CFL winning streak to four games Friday with a 30-23 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

Saskatchewan improved to 4-0 while the Argonauts dropped to 2-2.

Marcus Sayles scored the game-winning touchdown on a 54-yard interception return with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter.

A pass from Argos quarterback Cameron Dukes went off the hands of receiver Demonte Coxie for Sayles to snag and run down the sideline for the touchdown. It was Saskatchewan’s third interception of the game.

On Toronto’s next possession, Dukes threw his fourth interception of the game, which Rolan Milligan grabbed his second pick of the game and returned the ball 49 yards to the Toronto 11-yard line.

Facing third and goal from the three-yard line with 3:15 remaining, the Roughriders opted for a Brett Lauther 11-yard field goal to increase their lead to 30-20.

The Argos cut the deficit to 30-23 with 1:56 left on a 42-yard field goal by Liram Hajrullahu but that’s as close Toronto would get.

The Argos took an early lead when Janarion Grant returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown three minutes into the game. It was Grant’s first touchdown as an Argo after signing in the off-season with Toronto following four seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Saskatchewan quarterback Shea Patterson got off to a slow start in his first CFL start going one-for-five passing for 12 yards.

He got into a rhythm in the second quarter, completing five of six passes for 82 yards on an eight-play, 94-yard touchdown drive. Samuel Emilus capped the drive with a 34-yard touchdown reception.

The play featured a spin move by Emilus on Argos defensive back Benjie Franklin that enabled the Saskatchewan receiver to break free along the sideline and head into end zone untouched.

The teams exchanged field goals on their opening drives of the second. Saskatchewan’s Lauther was good from 28 yards followed by Hajrullahu from 40. Saskatchewan led 13-12.

The Roughriders increased their lead to 20-12 with 1:21 left in the third quarter when Patterson scrambled nine yards into the Toronto end zone.

The Argos drew even at 20-20 on a three-yard touchdown run by Ka’Deem Carey and a two-point convert reception by Rasheed Bailey five minutes into the fourth quarter.

Patterson started in place of the injured Trevor Harris. Since signing with the ‘Riders before the 2023 off-season, the 38-year-old Harris has had a run of bad luck with two knee injuries.

In Game 3 of the 2023 season, he suffered a tibial plateau fracture of his right knee and missed the last 15 games of the campaign.

After surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, Harris was ready for the 2024 season, but he made it only to Game 3 on June 24 when he suffered an MCL sprain of his left knee.

He was placed on the six-game injury list June 30. Saskatchewan head coach Corey Mace described the injury as a “moderate sprain” doesn’t believe the injury is season-ending for Harris.

The game was delayed by lightning that occurred midway through the teams’ warm-ups.

The players spent almost half an hour in their respective dressing rooms before returning to the field for another 10-minute warm-up. Kickoff happened 10 minutes later than originally scheduled.

UP NEXT

The Argonauts are on the road again July 11 against the Montreal Alouettes. The Roughriders travel to Vancouver for a July 13 date with the B.C. Lions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2024.

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