MAC'S MAIN MAN
Well, I guess fired head coach Paul LaPolice wasn't the problem with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Saskatchewan Roughriders deployed their weapons of mass destruction on both sides of the ball in an outstanding 52-0 victory over their prairie rivals this past Sunday, making this a Mac's Main Man first -- declaring an entire team as my most valuable player.
In a league known for parity and typically close matchups, the recently ice-cold Roughriders burst out of their slump as a cohesive unit. The Darrios and All Dresslers were tasting extra fresh for Saskatchewan fans as the Green and White delight struck quickly. Starting quarterback Darian Durant was near perfect, going 10 of 12 and tossing two touchdown passes in the opening quarter alone. Weston Dressler danced into the end zone on a couple of occasions and a tip of the cap goes to Terence Jeffers-Harris, who collected a game-high 54 receiving yards.
Moving to the running game, how about the performance of rookie back Kory Sheets? He tore up the ground and broke down the former Swaggerville defence with 106 rushing yards on 19 carries. Even first-year quarterback Drew Willy got in on the action in relief of an injured Durant with 98 yards passing and a TD.
Of course ,offence cannot pull off such a lopsided win singlehandedly. Saskatchewan's defence, notably import linebacker Tyron Brackenridge, deserves just as much credit. Brackenridge had his most impactful CFL outing, recording three tackles, an interception and, for the cherry on top, blocked a punt and returned it for a score.
What comes out of this weekend is that Saskatchewan has a new confidence to march to and that Winnipeg is still in desperate need of some answers.
-- Andy McNamara
I've been very critical of the Toronto Argonauts receiving corps in the past -- and of one Chad Owens. I've been on record as saying that Owens is in no way, shape or form a No. 1 receiver. Monday may have changed that thought.
Owens showed up in the biggest game on Toronto's schedule, on the road and in the final Labour Day Classic to be played at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium. The Flying Hawaiian totalled 402 yards in a 33-30 victory over their bitter rivals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Owens is now the all-time, single-game, all-purpose yards leader in Argos history, breaking Raghib (Rocket) Ismail's team record of 401 yards set in 1992. Owens also climbed into third spot in CFL history behind Albert Johnson III (474 yards in a game for Winnipeg) and Larry Taylor (441 yards for Calgary versus the Boatmen this season).
When Owens wasn't giving the Argos good field position in the return game, he was extending drives with clutch catches. None was bigger than the highlight-reel, one-handed grab that summed up his afternoon in one play: spectacular. Owens' clutch grabs led to a 33-yard field goal from Swayze Waters that put the Double Blue in the lead which it didn't relinquish.
The Tabbies are now 29-13-1 on Labour Day against Toronto. The Argos are now 4-3-1 in their last eight Labour Day games at historic and unfriendly Ivor Wynne Stadium.
The two teams will now turn their attention to the rematch at the Rogers Centre and, if the Ticats want to put an end to their four-game losing streak, they will have to do a much better job of neutralizing the Flying Hawaiian.
-- Carlan Gay
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