Ricky Ray makes history as the Toronto Argonauts win a nail-biter

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 25: Ricky Ray /

After dropping two close games over the past two weeks, the Toronto Argonauts avoided yet another tough loss on Saturday, winning 29-28 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Toronto Argonauts led by one with 22 seconds remaining as Winnipeg’s kicker Justin Medlock attempted a 39 yard field goal, all that the fans and players on bench could do was watch.

After the kick missed, Toronto’s Lirim Hajrullahu got the ball and booted it out of the zone, sealing the victory.

Toronto running back James Wilder Jr., who scored two touchdowns, knew his team had won after Winnipeg missed the kick.

"Oh shoot! I jumped in the stands,” Wilder Jr. said after the game. “I already knew (we’d won). We practice this situation so much.“I didn’t even finish watching the game, I jumped in the stands. I already knew – we’d prepared for it.”"

With the win, Toronto leapfrogged Ottawa for first in the East Division, as they now lead the RedBlacks by one point with each team having one game remaining.

It wasn’t a must win game for Toronto but it certainly felt that way after their previous two losses.

"“I’m really happy for our football team. I’ve seen how hard (the players) have worked,” Argos head coach Marc Trestman said in a post-game press conference. “We’ve lost some games over the past few weeks that we could’ve won and we won a game tonight we certainly could’ve lost.“That’s just our league.”"

The offence for both sides came out strong as three touchdowns were scored on the first three drives and Toronto lead 14-7 after the first quarter.

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Arogos quarterback Ricky Ray entered the game chasing history, needing 218 yards to reach 5,000 on the season and 335 to reach 60,000 for his career.

Ray’s 108 first quarter yards set him well on his way to reaching both those marks, as he finished the day with 423 yards.

In the second quarter Winnipeg’s Weston Dresler made back-to-back catches as the Blue Bombers tied it at 14 with 7:16 left in the half. The first play was for 43 yards, followed by a 28 -yard pass into the end zone.

Dressler led both sides with 129 receiving yards for the Bombers.

Ray reached the 5,000 yards at the end of the half on a pass to Wilder Jr.. It was the first time the 37 year old had achieved this mark with the Argos during his six years in Toronto.

"“It’s special to be able to do it with this franchise,” Ray said. “To do it with this team – it’s a lot for me.“It’s definitely something I’m going to cherish.”"

The Argos quarterback joined Anthony Calvillo and Doug Flutie as the only players in CFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards four or more times. He headed into the second needing 117 yards to reach 60,000 for his career.

Trestman who coached Anthony Calvillo from 2008-2012 in Montreal continues to be amazed by the performance of his veteran quarterback.

"“I look at Ricky (Ray) and I can’t believe I’ve had the privilege to coach him,” he said. “Him and (Calvillo) are so similar, so similar in their preparation.“There’s never a worry, everyone comes to our building everyday with hope. Because we know he comes ready to play.”"

The Blue Bombers pulled ahead for the first time in the game with a 52 yard field goal with 2:10 into the second half.

The following drive the Argos made it deep into Blue Bombers territory. But Ray was intercepted by Tristan Okpalaugo who ran it back 98 yards before finally being dragged down on the one yard line. Dan Lefevour ran it in for Winnipeg to give them a 10 point lead.

After scoring on their first two drives Toronto was held scoreless until Wilder Jr. ran in his second touchdown with three minutes left in the third, making it 25-20.

With 10 minutes left in the game Ray threw a nine yard pass to Jimmy Ralph to crack the 60,000 mark, becoming only the fourth quarterback in CFL history to reach that mark. That drive ended with Hajrullahu’s first field goal of the game, making it 28-23.

With less than two minutes to play Cody Fajardo ran it in from the one yard line to put Toronto ahead 29-28. They tried for the two-point conversion, but Winnipeg made the goal line stand on Fajardo.

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That set up Winnipeg’s final drive and once the final kick went wide the clock ran out. The Argos will now wait for the result of the Ottawa-Hamilton game to see where they stand after their bye week.