On the heels of their thrilling 34-24 win over the Edmonton Elks at TD Place last week, the Ottawa REDBLACKS look to make it two in a row, Wednesday night, when they roll into the 6ix to face the Toronto Argonauts (4-3). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm EDT from BMO Field.
Catapulted into his first career professional start, REDBLACKS quarterback Caleb Evans looked like a seasoned pro in his team’s victory over Edmonton, completing 15 of 22 passes for 191 yards, and three touchdowns to Ryan Davis, Timothy Flanders, and Kenny Stafford, respectively. He earned himself a place among Week 9’s CFL Top Performers, along with teammate DeVonte Dedmon, who returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row.
On defence, the REDBLACKS were powered by dominant performances from linebacker Don Unamba, and safety Antoine Pruneau, appearing in his 100th career CFL game. Unamba led the team with nine tackles and a sack, also forcing a key early fumble that Pruneau recovered, setting up a REDBLACKS touchdown. With time winding down, and the Elks making a last desperate attempt to claw their way back into the game, it was Pruneau that capped off the night with a critical interception.
Ottawa will also get a major boost in the defensive backfield, tonight, with Abdul Kanneh returning from injury. Kanneh hasn’t suited up since the REDBLACKS’ 16-9 win over Edmonton in Week 1, when he earned Top Performer honours on the back of two interceptions, including one for the game-winning touchdown.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
The Argos enjoyed a 10-day respite, following their narrow 30-27 win over the Montreal Alouettes on September 24. Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who also starts tonight against the REDBLACKS, filled in for the injured Nick Arbuckle, throwing for 210 yards and two touchdowns, improving his record to 2-1 on the year. Running back D.J. Foster also chipped in a rushing touchdown.
Defensive lineman Charleston Hughes led the way for his team defensively, recording six tackles and a sack. Defensive back Shaquille Richardson is currently tied for third in the CFL, with three forced fumbles, while defensive lineman Shawn Oakman sits tied for fourth in sacks, with four on the year.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Paul LaPolice, head coach, on the mood among the team after a big win: “Everything’s better with a win. I’d also say our guys have been really good week to week, coming in, ready to practice, and enjoying the practice. They’ve had a really big compete level, but certainly winning games makes the environment good.”
Caleb Evans, quarterback, on his mentality while trying to make it two wins in a row: “You’ve just got to keep even keel, never get too high, never get too low. So after the game, we celebrated, of course, and then we got back to work and were focused on Toronto. The more you look forward to the next thing, I feel like it’s harder for you to get complacent, and you’re always pushing to get better.”
Abdul Kanneh, defensive back, on returning to the REDBLACKS lineup: “It’s always a good feeling when you get to come back, and help out the team. Especially as a player that looks forward to making plays, and helping out the defence, so I’m definitely excited to be back and playing with the boys. They’ve been playing some good football, playing some good defence, and I just want to be able to help out and get things done.”
7:30 PM ET | TV (ENG): TSN/ESPN+ | TV (FR): RDS2
Radio: EN: TSN 1200, SiriusXM (ch.167) | FR: 104,7 FM Outaouais