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CFL Preview - Toronto (5-4) at Montreal (4-5)

From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Sunday, September 8, 1:00 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: The East Division standings got a little tighter on Tuesday night and there could be even more of a log jam at the top as the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes face off against each other for the second time in less than a week, this time on Sunday afternoon at Molson Stadium.

In what should be a marquee matchup between top-flight quarterbacks will instead be an experiment testing the patience and growth of youngsters on both sides, as Toronto's Ricky Ray continues to nurse a right shoulder injury and Montreal's Anthony Calvillo tries to rebound from a concussion suffered in the middle of August.

Ray will be out of action for about six weeks after suffering a muscle tear in the home loss to Calgary on Aug. 23, opening the door for Zach Collaros to take over the offense for the Argonauts for the time being.

One of the all-time greatest quarterbacks in professional football, Calvillo's prognosis is not nearly as defined. Dealing with a concussion, his second in the last few years, the aging signal caller has been dealing with poor vision which is not a good sign for him and the immediate future for a Montreal squad that has gone through many changes this season already.

With Calvillo watching games from home, the Als opted to go with Tanner Marsh as their starting quarterback on Tuesday night, mainly because he lit up British Columbia in his first action back on Aug. 22, leading Montreal to a thrilling 39-38 upset victory.

After accounting for 400 yards of offense, a pair of touchdowns, but also four interceptions versus the Lions, Marsh was given the start against Toronto in Week 10 action and responded by guiding Montreal to a 20-9 victory on the road. Marsh was a bit shaky at times, tossing one interception and getting sacked four times, but still he completed 18-of-27 passes for 309 yards and a score in the triumph.

Brandon Whitaker was responsible for 13 of Montreal's 30 rushing attempts in the outing, leading to 59 yards, but he was forced to the sidelines with an injury, an issue that seemed to plague quite a number of performers on both sides of the ball. Jerome Messam, who at one point was seen limping, added a game-high 61 rushing yards on 10 attempts.

Taking over the Toronto offense again for Ray was Zach Collaros who appeared to suffer a shoulder injury in the second quarter and left the field, but he did return to action later in the frame. Collaros hit on 21-of-32 pass attempts for 256 yards and a score, a 34-yard effort to a wide open John Chiles in the first quarter, while being sacked twice and picked off once.

Collaros, who can bring the added element of a running quarterback to the game for the Argos, responded with just 25 yards on seven attempts on Tuesday and also lost a fumble that was returned 38 yards for a touchdown by Montreal's Shea Emry.

Chad Owens, one of the most electrifying players in the league, was also believed to have been banged up in the meeting, but still finished with four receptions for 35 yards, 15 yards on two rushing attempts, 43 yards on punt returns and 57 more yards stemming from kickoff returns, but still those efforts went for naught as the Argos lost their second in a row and fell to 3-3 at home in Rogers Centre.

Following Tuesday's result, Toronto is now just two points up on both Hamilton and Montreal in the division standings, the Argos being one game over .500 overall at 5-4.

Prior to Tuesday's decision, Toronto had won the most recent meeting between these teams back in August by a score of 38-13 on the road. In that contest, Ray threw for three touchdowns and Calvillo accounted for 202 yards and a score through the air as well for their respective clubs, but neither will be seen on the field this week.

Montreal has now won three of the last four encounters with the Argos and leads the all-time series by a count of 109-84-3 in regular-season bouts dating back to 1946.

Getting back home will not only benefit Marsh by having a favorable crowd cheering him on, it also means he'll be aided by Calvillo who will be on the sidelines to provide even more guidance. Sure, the youngster will continue to make mistakes, as do most quarterbacks in the CFL, but as long as he has a short memory he should be fine.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 21, Toronto 14

09/04 11:15:14 ET

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