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Argos surge back against Redblacks with last-second strike

McLeod Bethel-Thompson's 23-yard TD strike to Armanti Edwards with one second remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a stunning 42-41 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night.

Edwards' catch capped an 11-play, 86-yard march engineered by Bethel-Thompson, who was 25-of-37 passing for 302 yards with four TDs and an interception in his first CFL start.

Diontae Spencer's 88-yard punt return TD at 10:25 of the third gave Ottawa (4-3) a seemingly insurmountable 38-14 advantage. Spencer's electrifying run came after Toronto opened the third impressively as Bethel-Thompson hit S.J. Green on a five-yard TD pass at 3:19 to cap a 60-yard, eight-play march.

Ottawa countered with a 64-yard, 10-play drive that resulted in Lewis Ward's 17-yard field goal at 9:01 before Spencer's heroics.

Toronto (2-5) snapped a three-game losing streak in its first match against an East Division opponent this season before a BMO Field gathering of 11,857.

Bethel-Thompson, after throwing for 122 yards in the third, hit S.J. Green with an 11-yard TD pass at 1:12 of the fourth to cut Ottawa's lead to 38-26.

Lewis Ward's 14-yard field goal at 4:18 put the Redblacks ahead 41-26. But after Zack Medeiros's 32-yard field goal at 8:57, Bethel-Thompson hit James Widler Jr. on a 20-yard TD pass at 11:34 to pull Toronto to within 41-36, set up by Martese Jackson's 70-yard punt return.

Toronto began its final drive at its 24-yard line with 1:45 remaining. Green finished with nine catches for 134 yards and two TDs.

Harris was 27-of-35 passing for a season-high 381 yards and two TDs for Ottawa. Spencer finished with eight catches for 145 yards and a TD while returning three punts for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony Cioffi, Dominique Davis and Brad Sinopoli had the other Ottawa TDs. Ward had three converts and two field goals while Brendan Gillanders added a two-point conversion.

Toronto Argonauts running back James Wilder Jr. (32) is challenged by Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Anthony Cioffi (24) during the second quarter. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Franklin scored two of Toronto's touchdowns. Medeiros booted three converts and a field goal.

Harris staked Ottawa to a 28-7 half-time lead with a 17-yard TD strike to Spencer at 14:29. It came immediately after Jonathan Rose recovered Wilder Jr.'s fumble at the Toronto 17.

Harris was 17-of-20 passing in the half for 245 yards and the two TDs. He opened the contest completing his first 11 passes for 175 yards.

Bethel-Thompson was 6-of-11 passing for 55 yards with an interception as Ottawa outgained Toronto 266-108 offensively. And the Redblacks converted two of the Argos' four first-half turnovers into touchdowns while outscoring the home team 20-0 in the second quarter.

Cioffi's recovery of Jackson's punt-return fumble gave Ottawa a 21-7 lead at 7:48 of the second. Jackson muffed the attempt at the Toronto five-yard line and Ottawa's Antoine Pruneau had the first chance to recover the ball in the end zone before Cioffi smothered it for his first CFL touchdown.

Davis put Ottawa ahead 14-7 with a one-yard TD run at 1:01 to cap a 72-yard, eight-play march. The two-point convert was unsuccessful.

Franklin's one-yard TD run at 12:04 of the first pulled Toronto to within 8-7. It was set up by Martese Jackson's 46-yard punt return to the Ottawa four-yard line.

Ottawa opened with a smart five-play, 75-yard drive Harris capped with a 17-yard TD strike to Sinopoli, who beat Toronto defender Alden Darby at 2:43. Earlier, Spencer victimized Darby on a 43-yard completion.

Gillanders ran in the two-point convert to make it 8-0 for Ottawa.

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