TORONTO—Tristan Jackson made sure Trevor Harris’ return to Toronto was a triumphant one.
Jackson’s 75-yard punt-return touchdown earned the unbeaten Ottawa Redblacks a 30-20 road win over the Toronto Argonauts last night.
Jackson broke three tackles en route to snapping a 20-20 tie at 4:19 of the fourth quarter for Ottawa—the CFL’s lone unbeaten squad at 3-0-1.
The first punt return TD in Redblacks’ history cemented the win for Harris in his first game against his former team.
“That was huge for us,” Harris said. “It gave us some breathing room and some free points.
“It’s always a great thing to have some free points when you have the defence score or a special-teams score,” he added.
Harris spent four seasons with Toronto—going 9-7 as the starter last year while incumbent Ricky Ray recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.
He signed with Ottawa as a free agent and assumed the No. 1 job after veteran Henry Burris (hand) was hurt the season-opener.
Harris, the CFL passing leader, was a masterful 28-of-31 through the air for 392 yards—his fourth-straight 300-yard game.
He also had a one-yard TD run in the third following a 77-yard completion to Greg Ellingson as the big play hurt Toronto (2-2).
“We knew they had a group of guys that could go at any moment,” said Toronto defensive back Keon Raymond.
“There was no focus on just [CFL receiving leader] Chris Williams.
“There was one guy that stepped up [Ellingson] and made plays as though he wanted it more than we did,” Raymond added.
Williams came in with 25 catches for 493 yards and six TDs, and had six receptions for 63 yards.
But Ellingson finished with nine receptions for 218 yards as Ottawa rallied from an early 13-0 first-half deficit despite being flagged 19 times for 149 yards.
“It’s nice to have that good crew of receivers,” said Redblacks’ head coach Rick Campbell.
“Our offence is designed for the quarterback to read what the defence is giving us and throw accordingly.”
The Redblacks also earned a third-straight road win to open the season.
The last time an Ottawa team did that was 1976, when the then Rough Riders earned the franchise its last Grey Cup title.
With Ottawa’s win, road teams are a 9-3-1 so far this season.
Toronto, meanwhile, fell to 0-2 at BMO Field before a disappointing gathering of 12,373.
That’s less than half the 24,812 who watched the Argos drop a 42-20 decision to Hamilton in last month’s regular-season opener.
“They’re a tough offence, they’re tough to stop,” Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said of Ottawa.
“We held them essentially to 23 points.
“That’s why we had to stay on the field offensively and not give them anything defensively,” he stressed.