October 7, 2023

Argos Celebrate 150th Anniversary With Win Over Elks

TORONTO, ON –  The Toronto Argonauts got back into the win column during their 150th Anniversary celebration on Friday night, defeating the Edmonton Elks 35-12 at BMO Field. 

Chad Kelly finished the game 11 of 16 for 165 yards while Cameron Dukes had a pair of rushing touchdowns. AJ Ouellette had 65 yards while Deonta McMahon added a score on the ground. Damonte Coxie led the team with 86 receiving yards on four catches. 

Wynton McManis had an interception and a touchdown to go along with three tackles. The Argos also got two sacks apiece from Shawn Oakman and Jonathan Jones, another sack from Adarius Pickett, and an interception from Mason Pierce. 

The Argos began to assert themselves early at home, hemming the Elks against the goal line in the opening minutes of the game off a perfectly placed punt by Boris Bede. After holding Edmonton to a two-and-out, the ensuing punt set the offence up in plus territory.

Kelly and David Ungerer III clicked for a 20-yard pass to set the Argos up on the Elks’ five-yard line, and after an Ouellette rush to the one, Dukes punched in his sixth rushing touchdown of the season on a goal-line sneak. Boris Bede’s extra point gave the hosts a quick 7-0 advantage. 

Toronto added onto that shortly after with a 24-yarder from Bede to push the lead to 10. Edmonton added a rouge on a punt to make it 10-1 Toronto after one quarter. 

Edmonton opened the second quarter with a field goal of their own after a 41-yard connection between Tre Ford and Gavin Cobb set them up in Argos territory. 

The inter-divisional foes traded punts for a majority of the quarter. But one of those punts saw Javon Leake find a seam and return the ball to the Edmonton 14 with 2:43 to play. Coxie and Kelly got the Argos down to the 2, and McMahon fought off a tackler to find the end zone for his first CFL touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion, Toronto led 18-4. 

But before the end of the half, Edmonton pushed down the field. The drive was finished off by a scramble and throw by Ford that hit Cobb open in the end zone for a 16-yard score, making it 18-11 at the half. 

Edmonton started the third with the ball, but the drive stalled after a loss of 15 off a sack by Jones. After the punt, the Argos got over midfield but had to settle for a field goal. A 43-yarder from Bede made it a 10-point lead for Toronto midway through the frame. 

But another key play from the Argos’ defence turned the game on its head. McManis undercut a Ford throw to the right side and turned it upfield, returning the interception for the score – his second Pick 6 in three games. 

With the momentum on their side at home, the Argos’ offence went to work, putting together a nine-play, 70-yard drive. Ouellette and Dan Adeboboye split carries and helped move the chains with some gritty runs. Then Kelly hit Tommy Nield over the top for a gain of 35 down to the 2-yard line. Dukes capped off the drive with another sneak touchdown to make it 35-12 with under 10 minutes to play. 

Pierce helped put the game away with an interception on a deep pass, where he pulled the ball away from the receiver as they were going to the turf. 

Kelly was relieved by Dukes on the ensuing drive, and Toronto was able to hold Edmonton scoreless the rest of the way en route to another victory at home. 

With the victory, the Argos move to 13-2 for the year. They’ll return to the friendly confines of BMO Field for their second of three matchups against the Ottawa Redblacks this season on Oct 14.