Donaldson set to turn new corner

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

TORONTO -- In the 1998 CFL season, B.C. Lions quarterback Damon Allen hooked up with a second-year Canadian receiver by the name of Dave Donaldson 10 times for 159 yards.

Tonight alone, Allen might come Donaldson's way that many times again.

Now a veteran with the Renegades and playing on the defensive side of the ball, Donaldson will be making his first start of 2005 at the cornerback position when a desperate Ottawa team faces Allen and the Toronto Argos at Rogers Centre.

Import corner Bo Rogers was expected to return from a hamstring injury for this game, but plans changed when receiver Pat Woodcock pulled up lame at practice Monday.

With Woodcock out -- and David Azzi and Darryl Ray already injured -- the Renegades were forced to suit up import Sean Bennett as their fifth receiver.

Suddenly needing to find another Canadian starter, coach Joe Paopao turned to Donaldson.

"I'm a hired gun. Whenever they want to pull the gun out, I'm here," said Donaldson, who has seen spot duty in the Renegades secondary along with his special-teams duties this season. "Hopefully, I can help turn this thing around."

Just as the Argos can be expected to test Donaldson and run on an Ottawa defence that surrendered 185 rushing yards to Calgary's Joffrey Reynolds last week, the Renegades figure to base their game plan around the hope of moving the ball on the ground.

Josh Ranek (160 carries, 799 yards) and Kerry Joseph (113 carries, 793 yards) are fourth and fifth in CFL rushing, respectively, and Toronto has the league's second-worst run defence, having allowed an average of 118.8 yards per game.

The Renegades are catching the Argos at a decent time, as Toronto has lost two of its last three and Allen is nicked up.

Also, the Argos will be without two starting defensive backs tonight as Kenny Wheaton and Jordan Younger are out with injuries. Filling in at one of the spots is veteran Bo Lewis, who was cut by the Renegades at training camp.

Ottawa (5-8) is in dire need of victory after enduring five straight losses. They trail the Montreal Alouettes by two points and the Argos by four in the East Division, and have played one more game than both teams.

The Renegades are also two wins behind the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Ottawa needs to finish with at least as many points as the West Division's fourth-place team -- currently the Roughriders -- to keep from being knocked out of the playoffs by the crossover format.

RUN THE TABLE?

However, Paopao refused to say his team needs to "run the table" to qualify for post-season play.

"We have to run the first ball, first," said Paopao. "To run the table, you have to knock the first one down. If we run the majority of the table, we should be okay. We have to be an October team."

NOTE: Reynolds was named the CFL's top offensive player of the week for his performance against the Renegades. Reynolds also scored two touchdowns in leading the Stampeders to a 45-23 victory.


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