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CFL: Toronto Argonauts to face Edmonton Eskimos in Eastern semifinal

Eskimos Stampeders

Ian Jackson/THE CANADIAN PRESS Calgary’s Fred Bennett hauls down Edmonton’s Weldon Brown in the first half of Friday night’s game at Commonwealth Stadium.

Argo quarterback Ricky Ray is going to get another shot at his former team.

Edmonton’s 30-27 loss to the Calgary Stampeders on Friday night means the Eskimos will be heading to Toronto for the CFL Eastern semifinal on Nov. 11. The winner will travel to Montreal for the Eastern final on Nov. 18 at Olympic Stadium.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will play the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium in the Western semifinal Nov. 11, with the winner taking on the B.C. Lions at B.C. Place on Nov. 18.

Ray and the Argos have twice lost to the Eskimos this season, but both teams are far different than when they previously met. The Argos are jelling while the Eskimos are in free fall.

The Argos were beaten 19-15 in the season opener at Commonwealth Stadium, Ray’s first game back in the city he owned for nine seasons and where he won two Grey Cups. He never looked comfortable. Edmonton also defeated Toronto 26-17 at the Rogers Centre in August.

Ray was sidelined for most of four games with a strained ACL in his left knee, but in his first two games back, no quarterback in the CFL has played better. Ray fired eight touchdown passes and threw for nearly 700 yards before being rested for Toronto’s meaningless final game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a 43-40 Toronto win that ended the Tabbies’ playoff hopes.

Toronto ended the season with consecutive wins to finish 9-9, second in the East. The Eskimos ended their season with three straight losses, finishing fourth in the West at 7-11, and won only twice away from Commonwealth Stadium.

For the second time since he was released by the Argos, tailback Cory Boyd returns to Toronto. Boyd had his best game as an Eskimo in Friday’s loss to the Stamps.


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thestar.com – Sports