Perhaps the Argonauts were able to take some notes after their embarrassing loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Week 1, that christened their new stadium. It was their turn to be the road team in a season opening match. This home opener was the final one in the long and storied history of Mosaic Stadium/Taylor Field. The stadium’s history traces all the way back to the original playing fields of 1921. After 95-years at that site the Roughriders are moving into a new facility next season, and should be highly motivated to make sure their final season at the Mosaic Stadium is a memorable one.
The Argos were making sure that they did all they could to spoil the historic event. On an early punt return, Larry Taylor of the Argos made the first big play of the – returning a punt to Saskatchewan’s five yard line, setting up great initial field position. Ricky Ray later completed a five yard touchdown pass to Andre Durie. After a Hajrullahu convert, the Argos were 7-0 up in Saskatchewan.
After stopping the Riders on defense, the Argonauts went to work on offense, as young star receivers Vidal Hazelton and Torey Gurley were showing their prowess yet again with timely grabs. Ray later found a wide open Hazelton for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Argonauts a shocking 14-0 early lead.
This was the first regular season game for Chris Jones as head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and it was also an important return to action for Darian Durant – who got injured in the opening game of last season – but all of this was taking a backseat to the 14-0 deficit they faced after one quarter.
Despite being down, a Grey Cup winning Quarterback like Darian Durant or Chris Jones would not allow the team to fold, a welcome sign considering how things went last year. Durant drove the team down the field for a response touchdown on a six yard toss to John Chiles. Tyler Crapigna’s convert meant that the Roughriders only trailed by a touchdown 14-7.
The Roughriders looked to be getting back into the game until an unfortunate miscue cost them big time. Bryant Moniz fumbled a snap that was recovered by the Argos defense for the scoop and score. After the convert the score was 21-7 to Toronto. Tyler Crapigna was able to add another field goal just before half time to make the score 21-10.
After closing the scoring in the first half, Crapigna opened it right back up again in the second half with a 15-yard field goal to make it 21-13. The Argos responded later in the quarter with a Liram Hajrullahu field goal and the Argonauts had a 24-13 lead.
From here on in, the defense and the special teams took over the game as the teams traded field goals and singles down the stretch. Hajrullahu nailed a 50 yarder to make it 27-13. Just a few minutes later Crapigna responded for Saskatchewan to make it 27-16. A single later on would bring the score up to 27-17 before yet another Hajrullahu field goal made it 30-17.
The game ended at 30-17 with the Argonauts winning on the road to even their record at 1-1. The Roughriders showed some promise, but still have lots to work with new head coach Chris Jones, as they figure things out tactics-wise, but it will show a lot if they can respond next week and even their record.
The Argonauts next travel out west to take on B.C. on July 7 at 10:00pm EST. The Roughriders go to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos on July 8 at 10:00pm EST.