Ford's debut sends Saskatchewan over Argos
Regina, SK (SportsNetwork.com) - Will Ford ran for three touchdowns and more than 100 yards in his first game of 2014, leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a commanding 37-9 victory over the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium.
Ford, who scored only two rushing TDs in all of 2013 while with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was signed just this week by the Roughriders (2-2), helping them to snap a two-game slide. Quarterback Darian Durant completed just nine of his 17 passes for 155 yards, but he did make it into the end zone on one of his rushing attempts.
The victory for the Roughriders was in response to their lackluster effort in the first meeting of the season between the clubs on July 5 when Toronto crushed the defending Grey Cup Champions at home, 48-15.
The Argos (1-4) struggled to get their offense into gear, en route to their third straight setback. Ricky Ray converted 23-of-35 passes for 221 yards, but was sacked three times and picked off twice.
Despite losing four of the first five games on the schedule, Toronto is far from being out of contention in the Eastern Division where three teams are tied for first at 1-3 after Week 5 action.
Ray's first pass of the contest was picked off near mid-field by Tyron Brackenridge and returned to the 23-yard line. Ford then carried the ball on consecutive plays for a combined 14 yards and then Durant did the honors with a 10-yard run into the end zone for the first points of the night.
On their next possession, the Argos suffered yet another turnover, as Tearrius George sacked Ray and forced the signal caller to fumble. After a review, the turnover was confirmed and again the Riders were in business.
On his fourth carry of the game Ford slipped through the defense at the line of scrimmage and streaked 20 yards to the end zone to give the hosts a commanding 14-0 lead less than five minutes in.
Toronto had to punt on the next possession, but a positive sign for the Argos saw the defense deflect the first pass attempt of the game by Durant at the line of scrimmage, leading to an interception by Thaddeus Gibson that he returned to the 40-yard line of the Roughriders.
With a depleted receiving corps, the Argonauts turned to the running game to generate some momentum, but in the end had to settle for a 17-yard field goal by Swayze Waters, cutting the deficit to 14-3.
Waters added a 16-yard field goal on the next Toronto possession, with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Riders dominated the second quarter as Ford accounted for a pair of majors on runs of three and two yards, pushing the advantage to 28-6 at the break.
There was some concern heading into the half though, as Durant came up limping after running into some signage along the sidelines, but he returned to the field at the start of the second half.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter as Chris Milo knocked through a 39-yard effort for the Riders and Waters countered with a successful 40-yard kick, keeping the margin at 22 points heading into the fourth period.
Milo added two more field goals in the final frame, hitting from 38 and 43 yards out.
With the outcome no longer up for debate, both teams inserted their backup quarterbacks to finish out the contest. Tino Sunseri came on in relief of Durant and Trevor Harris took over for Ray.
07/27 02:19:50 ET