Ouellette rushes for two TDs, Argos cement playoff berth with win over Alouettes
Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (19) and running back A.J. Ouellette (34) celebrate a touchdown during second first CFL football action in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, September 9, 2023 4:24PM EDT
TORONTO - Chad Ouellette ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns as the Toronto Argonauts clinched a CFL playoff spot with a 39-10 home win over the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto (10-1) earned a fourth straight victory, but also cemented the season series with Montreal (6-6). The two teams meet Friday at Molson Stadium to complete the home-and-home series.
Ouellette cemented the win with a two-yard TD run at 2:36 of the fourth quarter, putting Toronto ahead 36-10. The Argos improved to 6-0 within the East Division and 6-0 at home (although one win came in Halifax).
Montreal has dropped three straight, but now must be concerned with the third-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-7).The Alouettes played most of the contest without Austin Mack - the CFL's leading receiver with 60 catches for 971 yards and four TDs - after he was ejected in the first quarter.
Toronto earned its fifth win in seven meetings with Montreal to the delight of a BMO Field gathering of14,415. The Argos improved to 17-5 at the venue since 2021.
Argos starter Chad Kelly was 21-of-28 passing for 278 yards. He also ran twice for six yards and a TD.
Montreal's Cody Fajardo completed 21-of-24 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown. He also rushed twice for five yards before giving way to Caleb Evans late in the fourth.
Cameron Dukes had Toronto's other touchdown. Boris Bede added the converts and four field goals.
Cole Spieker scored Montreal's touchdown. David Cote booted the convert and a field goal.
Kelly's five-yard TD run on third-and-three put Toronto ahead 29-10 after an unsucessful two-point convert. Kelly's scamper at 8:31 capped a six-play, 70-yard march.
Cote's 10-yard field goal at 5:29 pulled Montreal to within 23-10.
Bede's 37-yard field goal at 13:43 accounted for all of the scoring in the second quarter and gave Toronto a 23-7 halftime advantage. Montreal did itself no favours with four turnovers (three fumbles, one on downs) and five penalties for 51 yards while mustering just five first downs compared to the Argos' 12.
Fajardo was a solid 12-of-14 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown, but Montreal ran for just 11 yards on six attempts. By comparison, Kelly completed 11-of-18 passes for 132 yards, but Toronto also had 60 rushing yards on 12 attempts, with Ouellette accounting for 52 yards on eight carries.
Montreal was dealt a huge blow late in an eventful opening quarter when Mack was ejected following a melee that ensued after an apparent Toronto interception was ruled incomplete. Mack came into the game as the CFL's leading receiver.
Bede's 26-yard field goal at 12:12 of the first pushed Toronto's lead to 17-7
Fajardo got Montreal on the board with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Spieker at 8:22. It was set up by Chandler Worthy's 79-yard kickoff return, which didn't go for a TD thanks to a terrific tackle by Bede.
Ouellette's 15-yard TD run at 7:03 staked Toronto to a 14-0 advantage. It came two plays after Jack Cassar's recovery of Worthy's fumble on a kickoff return.
Dukes opened the scoring with a one-yard TD run six minutes in.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2023.