TORONTO — Brett Lauther’s 56-yard field goal with 1:14 remaining earned the Saskatchewan Roughriders a wild 30-29 road win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night.
Lauther’s boot came after Saskatchewan (8-5) drove to the Toronto 36-yard line. But quarterback Zach Collaros was penalized for intentional grounding, moving the ball to the Argos’ 48-yard line.
Toronto (3-9) took over at its 38-yard line with 1:06 remaining and drove to the Saskatchewan 44, where a pressured McLeod Bethel-Thompson missed a wide-open S.J. Green on a pass that would’ve likely gone for a touchdown.
Zack Medeiros missed the game-winning, 51-yard field goal and the Riders conceeded the single with two seconds remaining before an energetic BMO Field gathering of 14,479 that was liberally sprinkled with Rider green.
Saskatchewan earned its fifth win in six games and moved into second in the West Division after Edmonton (7-6) lost 28-15 on Saturday to Ottawa.
Collaros finished 14-of-25 passing for 233 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He’s yet to exceed the 300-yard mark this year, but this marked the first time this season Saskatchewan has had multiple TD passes in a game.
Toronto suffered its third straight loss and remains tied with Montreal (3-9) for last in the East Division. More importantly, the Argos are six points behind second-place Hamilton, which visited the B.C. Lions (5-6) later Saturday night.
And Toronto trails the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (6-7), who entered Saturday’s action holding down fourth in the West Division, in the cross-over battle.
Bethel-Thompson was 32-of-44 passing for 321 yards with an interception. Toronto receiver Duron Carter faced his former team for the first time since being released in August but had no catches.
Medeiros also missed a 36-yard field goal that went for a single, putting Toronto ahead 28-27 at 10:53 of the fourth.
Saskatchewan appeared to be in business midway through the fourth when punter Josh Bartel hit defensive lineman Chad Geter on third-and-five for a first down. But Geter was ruled an ineligible receiver, forcing the Riders to punt.
Toronto opened the second half with an 11-play, 61-yard march that Medeiros capped with a 22-yard field goal at 5:38, cutting Saskatchewan’s lead to 24-17.
But Saskatchewan countered with a 60-yard, six-play drive that Brett Lauther finished with a 23-yard boot at 8:24 to restore the 10-point advantage. Toronto came right back with Medeiros’s 21-yard kick at 12:53 to pull to within 27-20.
Trumaine Washington pulled Toronto even at 27-27 with a 61-yard interception return TD on the final play of the third. It was his second pick of the game.
Jordan Williams-Lambert, with two, and Marcus Thigpen had Saskatchewan’s touchdowns. Lauther added the converts and three field goals.
James Franklin scored Toronto’s other touchdown. Medeiros booted four field goals, two converts and three singles.
Medeiros’s 48-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter cut Saskatchewan’s half-time lead to 24-14. It came after Collaros hit Williams-Lambert on a 12-yard TD pass at 10:09.
Medeiros pulled Toronto to within 14-11 with a 67-yard single at 8:16.
The Argos tied the score 10-10 on Franklin’s one-yard TD run at 4:12. It came after Bethel-Thompson hit S.J. Green on a 56-yard completion, but was short-lived as Thigpen scampered 82 yards for a touchdown at 5:06 to put Saskatchewan up 17-10.
Toronto needed luck to get on the scoreboard at 13:57 of the first. The Argos botched a fake field-goal try, but kept the ball after being flagged for proceedure, which came before the snap. Lauther then connected from 42 yards, cutting Saskatchewan’s lead to 10-3.
It was a miserable start for Toronto as Willie Jefferson sacked Bethel-Thompson for a seven-yard loss on the game’s first play. Lauther then missed a 43-yard field goal, but an Argos offside call kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Collaros opened the scoring with a five-yard TD strike to Williams-Lambert at 6:00.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press