Red­blacks a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal with Har­ris in at­tack

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

It was a tri­umphant re­turn for Trevor Har­ris.

Af­ter miss­ing nearly a month with a shoul­der in­jury, the vet­eran quar­ter­back came back to rally Ottawa past the B.C. Lions 30-25 last week­end. Har­ris helped the Red­blacks erase a 19-point deficit to se­cure the vic­tory, pass­ing for 380 yards and three TDS.

It was the first win in three games for Ottawa (6-9-1), which moved to within a point of the front-run­ning Toronto Arg­onauts (7-8) in the East Di­vi­sion stand­ings. More im­por­tantly, the vic­tory moved the defending Grey Cup cham­pi­ons five points ahead of Hamilton (4-10) with the Tiger-cats hold­ing two games in hand, in­clud­ing a show­down with the Red­blacks on Oct. 27.

But it’s clear the Red­blacks have a much dif­fer­ent of­fence with Har­ris back un­der cen­tre. In their pre­vi­ous two losses with both

Har­ris and backup Drew Tate ail­ing, Ryan Lind­ley was 33-of-67 pass­ing for 315 yards with a TD and two in­ter­cep­tions.

Then again, run­ning back Wil­liam Pow­ell was there to pick up the slack. He posted three straight 100yard rush­ing per­for­mances — run­ning for a com­bined 438 yards on 65 car­ries (6.7-yard av­er­age) — and added 92 yards on 17 car­ries against B.C.

With Har­ris back, Ottawa’s of­fence now be­comes much more bal­anced and there­fore more dan­ger­ous. Pow­ell is run­ning well and the Red­blacks pos­sess a deep and po­tent re­ceiv­ing corps as Greg Elling­son (seven catches, 149 yards, two TDS) and Dion­tae Spencer (three catches, 116 yards, one TD) ex­celled against the Lions.

And that’s the chal­lenge fac­ing the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers, who host Ottawa on Fri­day night.

De­fen­sively, the Rid­ers can’t con­cen­trate solely on Har­ris be­cause of the threat Pow­ell presents. What’s more likely to be their ap­proach is to first try to shut Pow­ell down so Ottawa be­comes one-di­men­sional in its at­tack.

And while Saskatchewan has man­aged just 22 sacks this sea­son, Wil­lie Jef­fer­son has eight to stand sec­ond over­all in the CFL. And de­fen­sive back Ed Gainey has a league-best eight in­ter­cep­tions.

How­ever what was most impressive about Saskatchewan’s 27-24 road win over Toronto last Satur­day was the play of backup quar­ter­back Bran­don Bridge. The na­tive of Mis­sis­sauga, Ont., re­placed starter Kevin Glenn in the sec­ond quar­ter and helped the Rid­ers erase a 13-point deficit to reg­is­ter the vic­tory.

Trevor Har­ris

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