For the second straight Touchdown Atlantic game, the Toronto Argonauts have defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders, this time 31-13, in front of another capacity crowd in Nova Scotia.
The Argos, 6-0 for the first time since 1935, got it going early in front of more than 11,000 fans at Huskies Stadium in Halifax, with Boris Bede kicking a 35-yard field goal just over a minute into the game.
Javon Leake went 71 yards off an Adam Korsak punt for a touchdown and Bede added another field goal for a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Toronto kept that momentum going in the second quarter, with quarterback Chad Kelly completing a touchdown pass to Dejon Brissett. The two connected again for a two-point convert to give Toronto a 21-0 lead.
Argos lead 21-0 at halftime
The Riders had a chance to earn some points late in the second quarter but fumbled before reaching the end zone and the Argos maintained their 21-point lead going into halftime.
Despite the one-sided score, local fans were on their feet and cheering early in the third quarter when kicker Brett Lauther put the Riders on the scoreboard to make it 21-3 with a field goal from 39 yards at 5:40. Lauther is from Truro, N.S., and a former Saint Mary’s Huskies player.
The Roughriders were able to keep the Argos at bay going into the fourth, with Lauther adding a second field goal from 44 yards midway through the quarter to close the gap to 21-6.
Toronto pulled away from there. DaShaun Amos returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown and Bede notched his third field goal for a 31-6 lead.
Saskatchewan quarterback Jake Dolegala passed deep to wide receiver Shawn Bane Jr. for a touchdown as the Riders made it 31-13 in the final minutes.
Homecoming for Lauther
“It was awesome for me, personally, but we want to go out there and win at the end of the day,” Lauther said of being back at Saint Mary’s.
“It’s a team game; on to next week now, but it was awesome to have friends and family come to a game. It means so much to me.”
Kelly said the game that the win was a true team effort. “As a whole — offence, defence, special teams — we came out today.”
“This team really plays for each other; this team really has each other’s backs,” said Argos running back Andrew Harris. “This team is just full of talent, across the board.”
“Any given guy can make a game-breaking play; any given guy can take over the game,” said the five-foot-10, 216-pound Harris, who hails from Winnipeg, Man. “We genuinely care about each other.
“We’ve got so many ballers on this team. Special teams, defence, offence (and) a great coaching staff.”
Toronto’s 6-0 run to begin the CFL season is the franchise’s best start in 83 years.
“I think it shows you how much depth we’ve got across the team,” Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said of the defending Grey Cup champions.
Dinwiddie said the Argos don’t focus on having a winning streak. “We’re proud of it, but we don’t talk about it,” he said. “We just try to make it to the next game.”
Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson said being at Huskies Stadium “feels a lot like a home game for us.”
“Super job by Halifax, putting on a great event,” Dickenson said. “Hats off to all the folks that were involved in that. We sure felt privileged to be here.”
This year’s Touchdown Atlantic marks the event’s second regular-season game, the last playing out in a year ago at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. Toronto topped Saskatchewan 30-24 in the 2022 meeting in front of more than 10,000 fans.