OTTAWA, ON – October 28, 2023 – The Toronto Argonauts finished off their regular season on a high note, defeating the Ottawa Redblacks 27-22 at TD Place on Saturday night.
Cameron Dukes completed 22 of 34 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He found David Ungerer III six times on the night for 88 yards. Dejon Brissett also added 61 yards and a touchdown.
Adarius Pickett finished off his strong campaign with eight tackles and a sack.
Benjie Franklin had a big game in his first start for the Argos, posting four tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. Mason Pierce also had an interception and a forced fumble to go along with four tackles.
The game opened with a stalled drive from the Argos following a penalty that negated a 20-yard completion to Tommy Nield. John Haggerty helped in the field-game battle, pinning Ottawa in their own end, and the Argos’ defence was able to force a quick two-and-out.
Dukes tried to stretch the field on the ensuing drive but was intercepted by Alonzo Addae. However, Toronto came right back with a big defensive play. Pierce made a beeline across the field from his halfback spot to intercept Dustin Crum for a 33-yard pick-6 to open the scoring. Bede’s point-after made it an early 7-0 lead for the Argos.
Toronto kept pressing to end the opening frame. Dukes rolled out to his right off play-action and hit Brissett in stride down the right sideline for a 61-yard major.
The quarter ended with another pair of interceptions. Addae got his second of the game but Franklin got his first pick as a member of the Argos on the very next play. Toronto carried their 14-0 advantage into the second.
Ottawa got their first points of the night on their first touch of the second quarter. Despite a 41-yard completion between Crum and Justin Hardy, the drive came up short of the end zone. Michael Domagala’s 24-yarder cut the Argos’ lead to 14-3.
He’d add another field goal – a 39-yarder – in the final seconds of the second to make it a 14-6 Toronto lead heading to the break.
Domagala opened the scoring in the third quarter as well, hitting his third straight field goal to make it a five-point advantage for the guests.
Starting off from their own 40, the Argos were able to put together one of their best drives of the game when they needed it most. They were able to keep the drive going twice with a completion to Carlton Agudosi and a short-yardage rush by Dukes. Jeremiah Haydel got the Argos deep into Ottawa territory with a 34-yard catch and run off a crossing route. Getting down near the goal line, Deonta McMahon punched it in from the 2-yard line to make it a 21-9 Toronto lead after a Bede PAT.
To open the fourth, Bede knocked through his first field goal of the night from 37 yards out to push the lead further.
With under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Redblacks got their first touchdown of the night, with Crum hitting Hardy over the middle for a 30-yard touchdown.
Toronto got the ball back with 6:21 on the clock and started chipping away at the time. A big first down on a QB sneak was followed by a Dukes 41-yard completion over the top to Ungerer to get the Argos down to the Ottawa 22. But a misconduct penalty on the next play pushed them back to the 31. Bede drilled his second field goal of the night to make it 27-16 for Toronto.
With their last-gasp effort, the Redblacks were able to get into the end zone again. Crum found Keaton Bruggeling for another score. But the Argos were able to stuff the two-point conversion and recover the onside kick to secure the victory.
Finishing the regular season with a 16-2 record, the Argonauts set the franchise record for single-season wins and also tied the CFL record. They will have a week off before returning to action in the East Division Final against either the Montreal Alouettes or Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Nov 11.