REGINA – The short-handed Saskatchewan Roughriders were no match for Toronto tailback Andrew Harris as the Argos registered a 31-21 come-from-behind CFL victory on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Harris gained 143 yards on 26 carries as the Argos (3-2) overcame a 21-14 deficit with 17 points in the final 4:30 of the game.
With 10 regulars out of the lineup due to COVID-19 exposure, the Riders (4-3) entered the rescheduled game as underdogs but came close to earning a victory before Toronto took over late in the final quarter.
Kurleigh Gittens, who scored on a 70-yard pass and run play in the second quarter, hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 21-21.
Boris Bede kicked the game-winning field goal, a 29-yarder, with 47 seconds left in the game. Toronto sealed the deal on the ensuing kickoff when Enoch Penney-Laryea scooped up a fumble by returner Mario Alford and scored a 10-yard touchdown.
The winning field goal was set up by a 35-yard punt return by Dejon Brissett that put the Argos on the Saskatchewan 50-yard line with 3:30 remaining.
It was the combination of big plays and turnovers that allowed Saskatchewan to keep the game close until the late stages. The Riders capitalized on five Toronto turnovers – the Argos were stopped twice on third and one attempts, they fumbled twice and were intercepted once.
The Riders gathered momentum by scoring two touchdowns in the final 1:39 of the second quarter. Rookie quarterback Jake Dolegala, making his first CFL start, hit Tevin Jones with a 10-yard scoring pass to cut the Argos lead to 11-10.
Then with 26 seconds left in the half, Alford scored an electric 112-yard touchdown on a return of a missed 61-yard field goal attempt by Bede. Alford caught the ball to the left of the uprights but worked his way across the field and down the right sideline into the Toronto end zone to give Saskatchewan a 15-11 halftime lead.
The Argos offence controlled the first half statistically, collecting 15 first downs with 19:52 time of possession compared to Saskatchewan’s five first downs and 10:08 of possession.
The six-foot-seven, 242-pound Dolegala was filling in for starter Cody Fajardo, who was in COVID protocol this week while also nursing a knee injury. Mason Fine, who finished COVID protocol on Friday, served as the backup quarterback.
Darnell Sankey had an interception, while Rolan Milligan and Charleston Hughes had fumble recoveries for the Riders. DeMarcus Christmas and Mike Edem registered sacks for Saskatchewan which leads the CFL with 25 sacks.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but due to the COVID outbreak it was pushed back 24 hours.