A.J. Ouellette and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are now 4-0 after defeating Toronto 30-23.

SASKATCHEWAN – The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated Toronto 30-23 on the 4th of July, which was a memorable game for A.J. Ouellette against his former team.

Ouellette played four years for Toronto and helped lead the Argonauts to the Grey Cup Championship in 2022 by scoring the only two touchdowns for the Double Blue. Then, after recording a 1000-plus rushing total in 2023, Ouellette became a free agent and signed with Saskatchewan due to his close relationship with the Riders’ new head coach Corey Mace, who was with A.J. in Toronto.

This made the 30-23 victory against his former team on Independence Day so emotional for Ouellette, who carried the American flag out onto the field during introductions. His emotion on the victory was evident by his reaction on the field after the clock ticked away. Ouellette showed passion by embracing his teammates immediately after the Riders took a knee to end the game.

Ouellette had a huge game for the Riders as he played with intense effort on every play, even on plays where he didn’t touch the football. He helped protect backup quarterback Shea Patterson, who made his first start due to the injury suffered by Trevor Harris in the previous game against Hamilton.

Toronto’s defense brought the house several times by blitzing to put pressure on Patterson, but Ouellette picked up the blitz every time to give his quarterback the time he needed to make some huge plays through the passing game. Patterson was only sacked once by a very good Toronto defense and that came on a play where Ouellette was running a pattern in the flat.

Another impact Ouellette had on the game was being a decoy in the passing game. Several times Ouellette went in motion or swung out in the flat, which forced Wynton McManis – labeled one of the best linebackers in the CFL – to follow him. This opened up the middle of the field for the Riders as they made several big plays that led to touchdowns.

Ouellette’s impact on the running game was extremely impressive as well. Ouellette rushed for 67 yards on 18 carries against one of the top defenses in the CFL. Saskatchewan ran Ouellette in between the tackles on every play but one and the majority of the yards Ouellette gained came after contact. Ouellette now is tied for second in the CFL with 229 rushing yards in a highly contested passing league. A.J. also surpassed 2000 career rushing yards in a career where this is his second-and-a-half season as the featured back.

The game didn’t start out well for Saskatchewan as Toronto scored first on a punt return for a touchdown. The Roughriders responded with a field goal to cut the deficit to 6-3 at the end of the first quarter and then took a 10-6 lead with a touchdown pass from Patterson to Samuel Emilus over the middle.

After holding a 10-9 lead at the break, the Roughriders pushed their lead to 20-12 in the third quarter on touchdown run by Shea Patterson. The Roughriders then sealed the game on a pick-six by Marcus Styles in the fourth quarter.

The Roughriders’ defense was phenomenal as it forced five turnovers, one on a fumble and four interceptions.

Saskatchewan is now 4-0 for the first time since 2013, which was the last season the Roughriders won the Grey Cup. Next up is a road contest against the BC Lions (3-1) on July 13th.

The pregame view of Mosaic Stadium prior to Saskatchewan’s huge win over Toronto. (Photo provided by Pam Wolfe)
Covington huge supporters Benny and Pam Wolfe traveled to Saskatchewan to watch A.J. Ouellette play against his former team, Toronto. (Photo provided by Pam Wolfe)
A.J. Ouellette was shown on the big screen in Saskatchewan. (Photo provided by Pam Wolfe)