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(Friday, July 23rd)
Final Score: Toronto 24, British Columbia 20
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Byron Parker's 41-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as the Toronto Argonauts came back to defeat the British Columbia Lions, 24-20, at the Rogers Centre.
Parker's pick was one of four turnovers registered by the Toronto (3-1) defense as the team logged its third straight win since opening the 2010 campaign with a 30-16 setback at Calgary on the first of July. With their third win, the Argos also matched their entire victory total from all of last season (3-15).
Toronto quarterback Cleo Lemon completed 19-of-28 passes for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also surviving a couple of interceptions. Running back Cory Boyd added a game-high 148 yards on 19 carries as the Argos logged their first win over BC since posting a 22-16 triumph at home back on October 11, 2004, snapping a 10-game series losing streak in the process.
Travis Lulay, who was making his first CFL start at quarterback with Casey Printers being held out due to a nagging quad strain and a sore right knee, finished the night 26-of-40 for 330 yards for the Lions (1-3), but he too was intercepted two times as the squad bowed for the third time in as many outings.
For the first time in CFL history a pair of teams clashing on the gridiron were owned by the same person in David Braley.
Toronto put the first points on the board early in the first quarter when Grant Shaw converted a 50-yard field goal, but from there the Lions ripped off 17 consecutive points to storm ahead.
Jamal Robertson scored the first of his two TDs in the first half on a one- yard effort, capping a five-play, 41-yard drive by the visitors. Kicker Paul McCallum converted a 45-yard field goal in the second frame before Robertson's 13-yard run into the end zone late in the period pushed the BC advantage to 17-3.
However, Toronto did not go quietly into halftime, as Lemon completed a 21- yard TD pass to Jeremaine Copeland with just under one minute remaining, cutting the deficit to 17-10 at the break.
Stepping in for Lulay after the Lions forced a Lemon fumble and recovered it deep in Toronto territory, Jarious Jackson was on the field only briefly as BC subsequently fumbled the ball inside the five-yard line.
The Argos suffered a blow when Lemon was speared in the chest by Solomon Elimimian just after releasing the ball, requiring Toronto to turn to Dalton Bell. Rather than risk a punt out of their own end zone, the Argonauts opted to concede a safety, raising the BC lead to 19-10 with about five minutes remaining in the third.
Lulay was back under center for the Lions on their next series, as was Lemon for the Argos, but neither was able to guide his respective club into scoring position.
British Columbia picked up a single early in the fourth when McCallum nailed a 68-yard punt and Chad Owens conceded in the end zone.
Midway through the final period, Boyd finally found some holes coming out of the backfield for the Argonauts, weaving his way for 41 yards to put his team deep in BC territory. Following a two-yard effort by Boyd, Lemon hit Brandon Rideau on a crossing pattern, and the receiver then fought his way into the end zone from 20 yards out to make the score 20-17. The score for Rideau was the first of his CFL career.
Coming out of the three-minute warning, Toronto's Parker jumped a route out on the right sideline, picked off a Lulay pass intended for Emmanuel Arceneaux and streaked 41 yards into the end zone to give the visitors a 24-20 advantage.
"I've got to credit my teammates, they did their job covering their men," Parker noted of his game-breaking play. "My man was wide open, my eyes got big and I saw the ball and I just ran for the end zone."
Needing to get his team into the end zone, Lulay took a shot deep down the left side in the direction of Geroy Simon, but Willie Pile made the interception with 1:13 remaining, permitting Toronto to take some additional time off the clock before punting the ball back over to British Columbia with just 17 seconds to play.
The final snap of the contest allowed Lulay to toss up a prayer, answered by Derick Armstrong 59 yards down the field; unfortunately, the play finished up at the two-yard line as Toronto held on for the victory, the first against BC since a 22-16 decision back in 2004.
"You get judged by wins and losses and we didn't come out with the win," Lulay related after the game. "We had a good first half, we played well enough to win despite the mistakes. We made mistakes, they were drive killers."
BC entered the evening with a 46-30-2 advantage in regular season matchups versus the Argos, winning 10 straight meetings overall...Robertson played his first two years in the CFL with Toronto and was the leading rusher for the Argos a year ago with 1,031 yards...Since opening the season with just 32 rushing yards versus Calgary, Boyd has produced three straight 100-yard games for Toronto...The interception return for a touchdown by Parker was the seventh of his career, his first since the 2007 campaign...Dick Thornton, Malcolm Frank and Jason Goss all hold the all-time record for INTs returned for TDs with eight.
07/23 23:41:59 ET
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