Argonauts seek to claim division title in Montreal on TSN
MONTREAL — The Toronto Argonauts can clinch top spot in the Canadian Football League’s East Division with a win Friday over the host Montreal Alouettes.
After securing a playoff berth last week with a dominant 39-10 win over the visiting Alouettes, Toronto (10-1) also looks to sweep the three-game season series after a 35-27 victory in July.
Last week's game in Toronto quickly became contentious when Alouettes receiver Austin Mack was ejected after a mass confrontation in the first quarter, which deprived Montreal (6-6) the CFL's receiving-yards leader.
"They’re going to come out swinging," Argonauts defensive back Adarius Pickett told reporters.
"There’s always a lot of animosity competitiveness out there and a lot of animosity because this is the third time playing them.
"We’re one of the best teams in the CFL and that means every team we play against is going to give us their best shot.”
Montreal has lost three games in a row by a total score of 120-52 following a run of four straight wins.
In Toronto, the Als were beat in nearly every statistical category on both sides of the ball and hampered by turnovers, which prompted the players to take a long look inward.
“I know our football team and I know what we’re about," Alouettes head coach Jason Maas said following the loss.
"We’re about hard work and being competitive. We didn’t get knocked out tonight. We got punched in the gut. Now we have to get back up and we will get back up and learn from this. The best thing for us is that we do face them again.”
As the CFL's playoff picture begins to solidify, Montreal has slipped from challenging the defending Grey Cup champion Argos for first in the East to fighting off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for second and the home playoff game that comes with that.
“I could care less who is that behind us and who is ahead of us. We concentrate on ourselves and where our feet are,” said Maas. “This is the most important game of the week for us because it’s the only game of the week. Where the standings go after that, that’s for everybody that’s outside our locker room to look at.”
Montreal will be minus running back William Stanback, who was the CFL's rushing leader in 2021.
After a combined 14 rushing and receiving yards against the Argos last week, Stanback's been ruled out Friday with a wrist injury.
The Argonauts will be without veteran defensive back Robertson Daniel (ankle) and wide receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (hip).
If the Alouettes prevail Friday, the Argonauts can still guarantee a home playoff game if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Tiger-Cats on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept 14, 2023.