CFL Preview - Saskatchewan (7-6) at Toronto (7-6)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Monday, October 8, 4:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With only a handful of games remaining in the regular season, the
Toronto Argonauts continue their chase for first place in the East Division on
Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre, as they entertain the Saskatchewan
Toronto, currently second in the division standings with 14 points, trailing
Montreal which has produced eight wins in 13 opportunities, snapped a two-game
slide last Saturday when it defeated Winnipeg on the road in a 29-10 final.
The good news for the Argos at this stage of the campaign is that all but one
of the final five games will be played at home, although the team is tied for
the most points earned on the road (eight) thus far so perhaps playing in
front of a favorable crowd isn't always optimum.
As for the Roughriders, they are already on that two-game win streak which
Toronto is searching for at the moment. Third in the West Division standings,
trailing British Columbia and Calgary by four and two points, respectively,
Saskatchewan has beaten both of those clubs in the last two weeks. First, the
team dropped the Stamps in a 30-25 decision at home on Sept. 23, and then six
days later the Riders turned the trick against the Lions in a 27-21 final.
Darian Durant threw for 371 yards and three touchdowns as he helped guide the
Riders to the thrilling six-point win over BC at Mosaic Stadium.
Weston Dressler, a five year vet in the CFL, entered the game never having
registered a receiving touchdown against the Lions and ended up with two in
the first half as the Roughriders registered their fourth win in the last five
outings. Durant converted 26-of-34 passes, with nine completions going to
Dressler who finished with a game-high 160 yards.
Defensively, the Riders nearly kept BC out of the end zone and came close to
snapping Travis Lulay's run of consecutive games with at least one touchdown
pass at 23, but the crafty signal-caller not only broke through in the waning
moments, he directed a couple of TD drives that made the final outcome not so
comfortable for Saskatchewan.
Earlier in the evening Toronto went on the attack at Winnipeg, scoring 21
points in the first quarter as it cruised to the easy victory. Quarterback
Jarious Jackson, who was filling in for Ricky Ray as the starter for the first
time this season, was rather modest in his passing exploits as he completed
17-of-28 passes for 155 yards and a score, while suffering a pair of sacks.
On the ground, Jackson scored on a one-yard run for the first points of the
contest and finished with 51 yards which was second only to Chad Kackert who
registered a game-best 86 yards on 20 carries.
Despite being used rather sparingly on offense, credited with just one rushing
attempt and one catch, Chad Owens made his presence felt as he produced 94
combined yards in order to reach 3,000 for the third straight campaign. Owens,
the only player to have achieved the feat more than twice, now has 3,009 yards
even after having his lowest output of the campaign.
With five games remaining, the former Hawaii Warrior is setting his sights on
becoming the only player in professional football history to record a 4,000-
yard season, but he'll need a lot help to make it happen. With Ray on the
injured list now, Owens would be wise to get in some additional reps at
practice with Jackson so that he'll be more of a factor on offense and won't
have to rely so much on kick returns to build his stats.
While the Argos are making the transition to Jackson, the Roughriders are
counting on Durant to get them over the hump again this week. Converting 64.5
percent of his pass attempts in 2012, the signal-caller is on the cusp of
reaching 3,000 passing yards, but what should be more important to him and the
team is for Durant to have a more sizeable differential between his passing
touchdowns (15) and interceptions (nine) this last in the season.
Durant needs to be careful not to make too many bad decisions with the ball
because the Argos have become hawks when it comes to picking off passes.
Toronto is first in the league with 20 INTs, a lofty number which has pushed
the group to the top in terms of turnover margin as well, with a plus-12.
Winners of six of the last eight encounters, the Riders posted a 30-20 win
over Toronto in the most recent meeting back on Sept. 17, 2011. Set to meet
one more time during this regular season three weeks from now in Saskatchewan,
the Riders maintain a 44-35-1 advantage in the all-time, regular-season series
going back to 1945.
With much of the focus falling on Owens now, perhaps Jackson can slip under
the radar and play just well enough to earn the Argos another victory, but it
won't be easy even at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toronto 23, Saskatchewan 17
10/03 11:30:05 ET
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