Riders drop season opener to Argos

Ricky Ray threw two first-half touchdowns and the Toronto Argonauts spoiled the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ home opener with a 30-17 victory at Mosaic Stadium on Thursday.

The Argos scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the game. After the Riders went two and out to start the first quarter, Larry Taylor returned a punt 57 yards to Saskatchewan’s four-yard line. Ray found Andre Durie in the end zone for a touchdown on the next play.

On the ensuing possession, Darian Durant marched the Riders into Toronto territory, but came up short on a third-down rush and turned the ball over on downs on the Argos’ 16-yard line.

Ray and the Argos again took advantage. Vidal Hazelton blew past the Saskatchewan secondary for a 56-yard touchdown reception to put the visitors up 14-0. Ray was 7-for-10 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He finished the game 13 for 22 for 186 yards.

The Riders cut that lead in half early in the second quarter when Durant hooked up with John Chiles for a six-yard touchdown reception. Durant completed 15-of-19 pass attempts for 166 yards and one touchdown in the first half. He ended the contest 31 for 40 for 310 yards.

Toronto restored a two-touchdown lead, and this time it was the defence that scored. Matt Black scooped up a fumble on a third-and-one sneak and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. That made it 21-7 with two minutes remaining in the half.

The Argos led 21-10 at halftime.

Saskatchewan’s Tyler Crapinga kicked two field goals (28 and 15 yards) in the game, while Lirim Hajrullahu kicked field goals from 27, 50 and 32 yards _ all coming in the second half _ for the Argos.

Durant was playing his first game after missing last season from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the 2015 season opener. He missed the second half of the 2014 season with a torn ligament in his right elbow. Saskatchewan went 6-23 in games without Durant in the lineup.