TORONTO - With each week that falls off the Canadian Football League calendar, the Argonauts are looking smarter with their decision to set running back Cory Boyd free and promote Chad Kackert.
The Argos have won three of their four games since Boyd was released nearly a month ago, and no one in Argoland is wondering who will pick up the slack.
Kackert went overboard in a 45-31 victory against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, becoming the first Argo in 11 years to rush for three touchdowns in a single game.
Not since Michael Jenkins in 2001 against Saskatchewan did an Argo accomplish the feat. Kackert walked off the field with 172 yards on 16 carries, and also led the Boatmen with 67 receiving yards on six catches.
On the whole, Kackert has made people forget about Boyd awfully fast.
Boyd, meanwhile, has failed to make a dent in Edmonton and could be a lot closer to the exit door with Jerome Messam’s return.
Between the whistles
Argos head coach Scott Milanovich has to reign in his team’s undisciplined play, because at some point it’s going to kill them. The Argos set a team record with 257 penalty yards, smashing the previous record of 203, done in 1995 against Winnipeg. The CFL record is 265, held by the 1992 Tiger-Cats. Toronto went into the game leading the CFL in penalty yards … Ticats head coach George Cortez has not had much success this season where the challenge flag has been involved, no matter who throws it. When Jordan Younger recovered a Chris Williams fumble, Cortez challenged the play, arguing that Williams did not have control of the ball. But the call stood in the Argos’ favour. And when Kackert jumped into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Kackert originally had been ruled out at the one-yard line. But Milanovich successfully had the call overturned. This after Cortez took some heat following a game against Montreal when it was clear to most in the stadium that he should have challenged an Alouettes reception but did not … Henry Burris has lost five consecutive CFL starts for only the second time, and the first since 2000, when he was with Saskatchewan Roughriders … One figures that once receiver Ken-Yon Rambo gets accustomed to the Argos offence, he and Ricky Ray will fit well. There was evidence of that when Ray threw a perfect pass to Rambo, who eluded defensive back Nick Graham for a 49-yard gain in the third quarter. Rambo could become the guy the Argos thought they were getting in Jason Barnes. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” Rambo said. “I’m starting to get the system down really good.” … Then there are Burris and Andy Fantuz, who have not been able to get a heck of a lot accomplished. Fantuz didn’t look thrilled when an incompleted Burris pass went into his feet, and finished with just 30 yards on two catches. He had a touchdown, but it was in the late in the game when it did not matter … After Hamilton’s Brandon Boudreaux was flagged for roughing the passer — a penalty that negated an interception at the 10-yard line by Matt Bucknor — the Ticats responded well. Former Argo Dee Webb intercepted a deflected pass to Chad Owens, and the Ticats began at their own five-yard line. Samuel Giguere then capped the drive (one that included a 40-yard reception by Dave Stala) with a 35-yard reception for his first CFL touchdown. Williams then converted two points to make it a three-point game.
That the Ticats missed starting centre Marwan Hage was evident on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Argos tackle Armond Armstead blew past Hage’s replacement, Tim O’Neill, to drop Burris for a seven-yard loss on the sack. After an incomplete pass on the next play, Hamilton punted … Owens leads the Argos in receiving, but he and Ray are not yet completely clicking. Ray both underthrew and overthrew Owens in the first half. And Owens dropped a catchable pass at the goal line as he was covered by Armando Murillo, a play that had him shaking his head as he walked away in the end zone. The Argos had to be happy with a 25-yard field goal by Eric Wilbur … In the first quarter alone, Kackert had the Argos’ longest run of the season when he rumbled 43 yards for a touchdown; Luca Congi kicked a 48-yard field goal, his longest of the season; and Owens had a 66-yard kickoff return, the Argos’ longest of the season. Kackert charged through a large hole created by a block from Dontrelle Inman on Murillo. As a result, Kackert was able to scoot to the end zone untouched … Burris talked during the week of correcting some mistakes in the red zone, but his error meant the Ticats had to settle for a 15-yard Congi field goal in the first quarter. Burris badly overthrew Giguere, who otherwise was open and would have had a touchdown. That play also helped scuttle runs of 21 and 23 yards by Avon Cobourne, the second coming after Armstead and Brandon Isaac couldn’t do much more than wave at him as he scampered past … Maurice Mann might have had his first touchdown in a Toronto jersey had he not been grabbed by Craig Ray. The Hamilton safety lost a shoe and he stumbled forward, with his only play as he lost balance to grab Mann by the ankle. Had Mann got around Ray, there was no Ticat between him and the end zone … Former Argo Kevin Eiben, relegated to special teams duty for the Ticats, did not return for the second half, appearing to favour his right leg.