Argos' Franklin knocks off Eskimos in 1st start for Toronto
Toronto playing 1st game since Ricky Ray's injury
The Toronto Argonauts are off to a good start without their starting quarterback.
James Franklin passed for one touchdown and rushed for another in his Argos starting debut as Toronto beat the Edmonton Eskimos 20-17 on Saturday at BMO Field.
"He had great poise today," Argos coach Marc Trestman said after the first game of a home-and-home series. "He made some key plays when we needed him to and he got the throws when we needed the throws."
The Argos (1-2) were playing their first game this season without regular starter Ricky Ray, who was carted off with what is believed to be a season-ending neck injury in their last contest. Franklin, playing against his former team, finished the game 16-for-22 for 217 yards passing.
"The thing I was most concerned about was the chemistry with the guys and how they would respond to me in the huddle," Franklin said.
The results were promising. Franklin guided the team on a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. A five-yard touchdown pass to Canadian fullback Declan Cross put Toronto up by one and a two-point conversion pass to Armanti Edwards from Franklin capped the scoring with 2:57 left.
Although it is believed Ray is out for the season, there has been no official announcement from the Argos, who entered the game as the only winless team in the CFL.
"Having a win against your former team in your first start is big, it's a confidence booster," Toronto running back James Wilder Jr. said.
Wilder had a rushing touchdown and carried the ball 21 times for 120 yards.
The Eskimos (2-2), meanwhile, weren't surprised by Franklin's performance.
"What he displayed out there is what we've seen the past two years," Edmonton coach Jason Maas said of Franklin. "At the end of the day, the last two drives [Franklin ran the clock out to finish it] were enough to win them the game."
The Eskimos (2-2) lost despite a productive game from quarterback Mike Reilly, who was 28-for-40 for 370 yards and one touchdown.
"We got ourselves on a roll and we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties," Reilly said. "It came down to discipline, especially on offence."
Edmonton committed 12 penalties for 126 yards compared to seven penalties for 75 yards from Toronto.