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Roughriders beat Argonauts for fourth straight win
Saskatchewan Roughriders' Joe McKnight is tackled by Toronto Argonauts' Aaron Berry, top, and Jamal Campbell during first half CFL action in Toronto, Saturday, October 15, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 15, 2016 5:14PM CST
TORONTO -- Joe McKnight ran for 150 yards and a TD in his first CFL start while Joe Craig scored on a 71-yard punt return as the streaking Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Toronto Argonauts 29-11 on Saturday.
McKnight, who appeared in two games with Edmonton last year, opened with a 29-yard run on the first of his 17 carries as Saskatchewan (5-10) earned its fourth straight win. But the Riders must play the role of spoiler as they've been eliminated from playoff contention.
After registering their first four wins by a combined eight points, the Riders easily recorded the West Division's 14th straight victory over an East Division rival. The West is 23-8 overall head to head.
Riders' quarterback Darian Durant finished 15-of-22 passing 164 yards and TD strikes of 14 yards to Craig and five yards to Caleb Holley. After Mitchell Gale played in the second half, the Riders went with Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., at quarterback for the final 2:33.
Toronto (5-11) suffered its fifth straight loss and ninth in 10 games. The Argos also closed out the home portion of their schedule a dismal 2-7 at BMO Field and heard it throughout the contest from the announced gathering of 15,023.
And with good reason. It was the second abysmal home performance for Toronto, which lost 48-20 to Calgary last weekend.
That prompted Diane Clemons -- the wife of former Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons -- to tweet Saturday, "ΓåòTorontoArgos time for a .REAL .SHAKEUP starting with front office and .coaching staff .... .embarrassing."
Toronto scored all of its points in the fourth. Lirim Hajrullahu broke the shutout with a 17-yard field goal 1:17 into the frame before Dan LeFevour's 22-yard scoring strike to Brandon Whitaker and two-point toss to Anthony Coombs at 10:53 cut Saskatchewan's lead to 29-11.
Despite the loss, Toronto remains in playoff contention, just two points behind second-place Hamilton (6-9) in the East but must finish ahead of the Ticats having lost the season series. And the Argos finish their season on the road in Calgary (13-1-1) and Edmonton (8-7-0).
Toronto quarterback Drew Willy was 11-of-23 passing for 87 yards before being replaced late in the third by LeFevour.
Tyler Crapigna booted three converts and two field goals for Saskatchewan. The other points came on a safety.
Craig's punt-return TD highlighted a 17-point second quarter that staked Saskatchewan to a commanding 20-0 lead. After misjudging the ball and letting it bounce past him, Craig went up the middle of Toronto's cover team at 13:44 to give the Riders their 20-point advantage.
Toronto provided a bizarre plate late in quarter when Willy booted the ball downfield on a scramble. Receiver Ken Shaw corralled it at the two-yard line and scored but it didn't count as Shaw wasn't onside and received a no-yards penalty.
After Saskatchewan kneeled to end the half, the BMO Field gathering booed the Argos off the field.
Collins recorded Saskatchewan's first TD of the game with a solid grab at 12:57. But McKnight was the club's top offensive threat with 113 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Last weekend, Calgary's Jerome Messam recorded 99 of his 133 yards rushing in the first half.