REGINA — The legend of Trevor Harris continues to grow.
The Argonauts QB led his team on a last-minute touchdown drive to send the game into overtime and then threw two touchdown passes in extra time to lead Toronto to a 42-40 double-overtime victory over the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday. Harris, in his third game as starter for the injured Ricky Ray, led Toronto (2-0) to a 26-11 upset over the Edmonton Eskimos in Week 1.
“I just want to be the best possible back-up I can be,” said Harris, who went 30 for 38 with 267 yards and four touchdowns and one interception in the game. “Ricky Ray is one of the best quarterbacks ever in the CFL. My job is to steer the ship in the right direction when he’s not available.”
Playing in front of 31,907 fans at Mosaic Stadium, Saskatchewan led the game 28-21 with just over a minute left in the game. Scrimmaging from the Toronto 25, Harris led the Argonauts on a last-minute touchdown drive, capped off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Chad Owens, to send the game into overtime.
In a crazy overtime session filled with penalties and a few reviewed plays, Saskatchewan opened up the scoring on its first possession when Rob Bagg took the ball one yard into the end zone on an end around. Running back Jerome Messam was tackled in the backfield on the ensuing two-point conversion. The Argos stormed back with a nine-yard receiving touchdown by running back Brandon Whitaker in their first overtime period. They, too, failed their two-point conversion attempt when Harris was sacked by Rider defensive back Macho Harris.
In the second overtime, Harris threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tori Gurley and then hooked up with running back Anthony Coombs on a three-yard strike for the two-point conversion to put Toronto up 42-34. Saskatchewan (0-2) had a chance to tie the game after QB Kevin Glenn connected with Chris Getzlaf for a 25-yard touchdown on the next drive, but Glenn just missed Getzlaf on the ensuing two-point convert.
“I was on the sideline and coach said these are the moments you live for,” Harris said. “I remember thinking, ’I’ve done this in my backyard a few times. Now you’ve just got to go do it with 30,000 thousand people in the stands.’ We took a punch in the mouth from a great football team and we were able to come back and keep fighting.”
Owens, who led Toronto receivers with eight catches for 88 yards and one touchdown, said the team has always believed in Harris’ ability to lead.
“He’s a guy who doesn’t go out there to prove guys wrong; he just goes out there and does his job,” Owens said. “This just shows that this a guy who can go into a hostile environment, go into a situation where there’s still question marks surrounding him, and get the job done.”
The Riders put up over 500 yards of offence in the loss. Glenn went 33 for 40 for 477 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Riders, while the Riders’ Ryan Smith led all receivers with eight catches for 174 yards and one touchdown. It was a similar story in Week 1, where the Riders put up nearly 500 yards in offence in a 30-26 home loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“It’s bittersweet since we didn’t get the victory, but I’m still proud of the guys on the offence side of the ball because we went out and showed a lot of resiliency,” Glenn said. “We don’t want to be 0-2, but that’s what professional sports is all about. We’ll learn from our mistake in this game and move on.”
Veteran kicker Paul McCallum, who returned to Saskatchewan last week after being released by the B.C. Lions on June 3, hit all four of his field goal attempts in the game, including a 49-yarder.