Ricky Ray stars as Argos top Roughriders, clinch home playoff game
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (4E Sports) – Ricky Ray tossed four touchdown passes while Toronto’s defense stymied a last-minute drive as the Argonauts clinched second place in the East Division and a home playoff game with a 31-26 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday at Mosaic Stadium.
The win improved the Argos to 8-9 this season and clinched second in the East Division, booking a home playoff date for Nov. 18 against an opponent to be decided. They will either face Hamilton, Edmonton, or Saskatchewan depending on how the rest of the season unfolds.
The Roughriders, meanwhile, hold a one-game edge for third in the West, and will either play in the West semifinal in Calgary or the East semifinal in Toronto.
Ray completed 24 of 30 passes for 305 yards, the second straight game he threw four touchdown heaves and eclipsed 300-yard mark since returning from a knee sprain that sidelined him for three starts.
“For more than just myself, for us as a unit to get this win and to be in the playoffs it’s going to boost our confidence,” said Ray.
“It’s hard to grasp right now,” said first-year Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich. “It was a big game for us. We obviously hadn’t been playing that well so to come on the road against a good team, in the weather and hostile environment, I was just proud of them.”
Darian Durant finished 24-for-38 for 252 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort while Kory Sheets tallied 86 rushing yards on 11 carries with a score on top of 49 receiving yards on four catches.
Ray buckled down to work early, throwing four straight completions, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Mann to give the Argonauts a 7-0 lead.
After the Roughriders came up empty, Ray found Spencer Watt and Mann to move the Argonauts into the red zone before finding Andree Durie with a seven-yard touchdown throw for a 14-0 cushion.
The Roughriders retaliated with two field goals by Sandro DeAngelis and a 24-yard touchdown run by Sheets to trim the margin to one, 14-13.
On the next play, the Argonauts launched a 12-play scoring drive, capped off by Durie’s second touchdown catch of the game from seven yards before the Roughriders closed the first half with a 36-yard field goal.
The Roughriders had a chance to take the lead in the second half as Tristan Jackson barged into Argos territory but DeAngelis failed to complete a drive, giving them a single point for their effort.
Ray then hooked up with Chad Owens for a 60-yard touchdown pass to give the Argonauts a 28-17 lead before DeAngelis booted a field goal to bring the Roughriders within eight points at the end of the third period.
The Roughriders further trimmed the gap to 28-26 and had a chance to clinch the game but Durant’s pass was intercepted by Evan McCullough.