Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (4) throws the ball and avoids the sack by Ottawa Redblacks linebacker Micah Awe (24) during first half CFL football action in Toronto on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Argos use 27-point third quarter to capture 35-16 home victory over Ottawa Redblacks

Argos use 27-point third quarter to capture 35-16 home victory over Ottawa Redblacks

TORONTO — McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw two TD strikes while Dexter McCoil Sr. and Chris Edwards both returned interceptions for touchdowns during a wild third quarter as the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 35-16 on Wednesday night.

All four scoring plays came in a 27-point third for Toronto (5-3), which improved to 4-0 at home this season. There were 6,788 in attendance at BMO Field.

McCoil Sr. corralled a Caleb Evans pass tipped by defensive lineman Cordarro Law and took it back 71 yards at 7:22 to put Toronto ahead 21-9. After Bethel-Thompson found Damion Jeanpiere on a 21-yard touchdown pass at 11:30, Edward returned his pick 82 yards for the TD to end the and give the Argos a commanding 35-9 lead.

Toronto took a 14-9 advantage on D.J. Foster’s 63-yard TD catch at 2:44. The two-point convert was unsuccessful.

The Argos recorded two pick-sixes in the same game for the first time since 2006. And the last time they scored TDs in all three phases of the game (offence, defence and special teams) was 2004.

It was a tough second CFL start for Evans, who finished 23-of-41 passing for 334 yards and three interceptions with 54 yards rushing on six carries.

Last week in his pro debut, Evans completed 15-of-22 passes for 191 yards and three TDs and ran for 59 yards in leading Ottawa past Edmonton 34-24 to snap a five-game losing streak.

But football wasn’t the only thing on Evans’s mind Wednesday. Earlier, his younger brother, Titus, was evacuated from Timberview High School in Arlington, Tex., where four people were hurt in a shooting there.

Titus Evans was reportedly fine. The Associated Press said an 18-year-old student was arrested and faces three counts of aggravated assault.

Bethel-Thompson finished 15-of-21 passing for 181 yards and improved to 3-1 as Toronto’s starter. The Argos moved two points ahead of Hamilton (4-4) atop the East Division standings with the two teams meeting Monday at Tim Hortons Field.

Ottawa (2-6) faces the Montreal Alouettes (3-4) also Monday.

Toronto also kept Ottawa returner DeVonte Dedmon from scoring. Dedmon had returned punts for touchdowns in each of the Redblacks last two contests.

Dedmon came in having registered four return TDs in 11 career CFL games. Only Calgary’s Derrick Crawford, who had four kick-return TDs in his first 10 games of 1990. did it faster.

But Ottawa’s special teams were responsible for a TD. Frederic Chagnon recovered Brendan Gillanders’ blocked punt in Toronto’s end zone at 2:38 of the fourth to cut the Argos’ lead to 35-16.

Ottawa got the ball back at Toronto’s 48-yard line after recovering Chandler Worthy’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff. But nothing materialized.

Dejon Brissett scored Toronto’s other touchdown. Boris Bede added four converts and a single.

Ottawa’s Lewis Ward kicked three field goals and a convert.

Ward’s 32-yard field goal at 14:44 of the second staked Ottawa to a 9-8 half-time lead. It capped a smart 62-yard, nine-play drive after Toronto’s special teams registered the lone touchdown of the half.

Rookie running back Dom Pellerin blocked Richie Leone’s punt, which was recovered by Brissett. The first-year receiver ran 23 yards for the touchdown at 11:40 to put Toronto ahead 8-6.

Ward gave Ottawa a 6-1 lead with a 28-yard boot at 2:50 of the second. He also connected from 28 yards at 7:29 of the first to put Ottawa up 3-1.

Bede opened the scoring with a 54-yard single at 3:55.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2021.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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