Blue have eyes fixed on Owens

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

Running back Cory Boyd has done a lot of the damage for the Toronto Argonauts this season.

When it comes to hurting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, however, Chad Owens is in a class by himself.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian returned a missed field goal 117 yards for a game-changing touchdown in Week 2, and then he took back a punt 80 yards for a game-changing major in Week 12.

He would love nothing more than to record the hat trick on Saturday against the Bombers, and he knows the Blue and Gold are thinking about that.

“That’s what we want,” Owens said Friday at the team’s downtown Winnipeg hotel. “We want them to be thinking about different things. The more they can think about, the more they have to prepare for, the better it is for your team.

“I told the guys, let’s go out and make it three — three games against them, three returns (for touchdowns).”

Merrill Johnson returns to the Bomber lineup after missing last week’s clash in Montreal with a knee injury, and he is one of the men who will be in charge of hunting down Owens on Saturday.

Johnson said the Bombers need to surround him and not let him slip through a window or out the back door.

“He’s a quick guy. He runs hard, and he’s very shifty,” Johnson said. “On special teams we’re going to have to get down there and we’re going to have to rally around the ball. Everybody. The whole special teams.

“Once one person breaks down, it opens up. We can’t have any breakdowns. Everybody’s gotta be full speed to the ball and make great tackles. He can find the smallest seam, and he’ll break it on you.”

Owens is the CFL’s top punt returner with an 11.9-yard average, he’s third when it comes to kickoff returns (22.3 yards), and he boasts a 64-yard average on four missed field goal returns.

Not only that, but the former Montreal Alouette is second among Argo receivers with 531 yards.

Owens, who played his college ball at home in Hawaii, had 2,870 combined yards going into Week 17, which was 982 more yards than second-place Deon Murphy of Calgary.

Based on those stats, Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice is correct when he says Owens, who has three return touchdowns overall, is a big reason for much of the good fortune the Argos have enjoyed this season.

“He’s one of the more explosive guys I’ve seen in the last couple years,” LaPolice said. “He’s part of what they do. He’s part of how they’ve had success this year to get to seven wins. We have to make sure we try to make him a non-factor as much as we can.”


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