b In his first start with the Toronto Argonauts, James Franklin was able to lead his team to a 20-17 win against the Edmonton Eskimos.
In the first game without Ricky Ray as the starting quarterback, his replacement James Franklin took command of the offence leading the Toronto Argonauts their first win of the season.
Franklin went 16-for-24 with 217 yards a touchdown and an interception along with six rushes for 31 yards and another touchdown.
He didn’t do it alone as James Wilder Jr. got back to the dominant form that earned him Most Outstanding Rookie last season breaking tackles and pushing for extra yardage.
The 26-year-old finished with 21 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown along with three receptions for 27 yards.
After the game head coach Marc Trestman said that it wasn’t a perfect game from start to finish but the players know that getting that first win takes a lot of pressure after a rough start to the season.
“It feels good to get that one under our belt,” said Wilder Jr. after the game. “To be able to watch our offence and our whole team come together, finish drives, get some big stops on defence, turnovers on defence and eliminate the self-mistakes we had in the first two games.”
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With their backs against the wall in the fourth quarter, it was Franklin and Wilder Jr. that led an impressive drive down the field that ate up a lot of the game clock. It was something the team couldn’t do in the second quarter where Edmonton dominated possession time.
That type of pressure is not easy for a young quarterback in his first start with a new team but Trestman liked what he saw from Franklin.
“He had great poise today,” Trestman said to reporters after the game. “He made some key plays when we needed him to and he got the throws when we needed the throws.”
What was vital to Franklin’s success was spreading the ball around with seven different players getting a reception. Llevi Noel benefited the most in his first game as a starter in the offence making a pair of receptions for 81 yards.
“James did an amazing job,” said Noel after the game. “He takes his job serious putting in the extra hours and it paid off.”
On the defensive side, the Eskimos had their chances with Mike Reilly throwing for 370 yards. However, a key interception from Ronnie Yell in the endzone and limiting Edmonton to one touchdown and three field goals was enough to give the Argos defence a win against a tough offence.
“They are an explosive, the entire week we talked about being detailed in our assignments, said Aldon Darby Jr. after the game. “For us, it was all about lining and trusting ourselves to play our style of football.”
The Argos won’t have much time to get as much practice in with their next game in Edmonton on Friday. Trestman doesn’t expect the team to get back on the field until Tuesday so that players can get time to recover and heal. That might only give the team a couple of days to get work in before they travel out west.
“Details are going to be key, we won’t have a lot of time to get out to practice so film study and details will be key, said Darby Jr. on preparing for the rematch in Edmonton. “They’re going to come out with some changes and momentum because they’re at home so focusing on specific details will be key.”
If Franklin can continue to build the chemistry with his receivers and Wilder Jr. can continue to produce like he did the team feels confident in their chances to win.