SPORTS

Argos' Ricky Ray to end CFL regular season with completion percentage record

10/29/2013 05:11 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Ricky Ray will finish the 2013 regular season on the sidelines but in the CFL record book.

With Toronto (11-6) having clinched first in the East, Ray won't dress Friday night when the Argonauts host the Montreal Alouettes in the regular-season finale for both teams. So he will end the campaign with a CFL-record 77.2 per cent completion average.

Ray was a 39-of-45 passing for 505 yards and three TDs in Toronto's division-clinching 36-21 home win over Winnipeg on Thursday night. Ray completed a club-record 21 straight passes in that contest, one short of the league record.

That left Ray 234-of-303 passing this season, breaking the mark of 73.98 per cent set in '05 by current Calgary offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson. Ray also had just two interceptions (0.67 per cent), becoming the first CFL quarterback to end the year under 1.0.

Dickenson still has bragging rights as the most accurate passer in CFL history, at least for now. Dickenson boasts a career completion average of 67.534 per cent (1,635 completions in 2,421 attempts) but Ray is a very close second at 67.524 per cent (3,780 completions in 5,598 passes).

So if Ray played Friday night and completed his first two passes, that would boost his career mark to 67.536 per cent, moving him past Dickenson. With Ray not dressing against Montreal, that talk will have to wait until next season.

Calgary kicker Rene Paredes is also on a record pace. Paredes has 52 field goals, seven shy of former Saskatchewan Roughrider Dave Ridgway's league record.

But if Parades doesn't attempt a kick in Calgary's regular-season finale Friday night in B.C., he'll still land in the CFL record book. He has converted 52-of-55 field goals, a 94.5 per cent success ratio. That would break the league mark of 94.34 per cent held by Lions' veteran Paul McCallum.

Barring something unforeseen, teammate Jon Cornish will capture his second straight CFL rushing title. The native of New Westminster, B.C., has 1,799 yards, 201 more than Saskatchewan's Kory Sheets.

Cornish's total is already a CFL record for most rushing yards in a season by a Canadian. He needs just 98 yards to break Willie Burden's club mark.

Hall of Famer Mike Pringle holds the CFL single-season rushing record of 2,065 yards.

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PLAYOFF SPOTS SET: It will be an anti-climatic end to the 2013 regular season.

With playoff pairings set in both divisions, the four games this weekend have no impact on the final standings. So it's a chance for the head coaches of the six playoff teams — Calgary, Saskatchewan and B.C. in the West, Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal in the East — to give backups extended playing time.

"Some of these guys are maybe competing for playoff roster spots," Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich said. "Other guys are trying to show what they can do so they can put their best foot forward next year when training camp starts.

"There's a lot of different things that come into play on a week like this."

The playoffs begin Nov. 10 with the division semfinals as the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the B.C. Lions while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats entertain the Montreal Alouettes in Guelph, Ont.

The defending champion Argos and Calgary Stampeders host the division finals Nov. 17. The winners meet in the Grey Cup game Nov. 24 in Regina.

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PENALTIES DOWN: There seems to have been no shortage of penalties in the CFL this season, but the league's actually on pace for fewer flags in 2013.

There were 1,389 penalties last year. Heading into weekend action, 1,265 flags had been thrown for a projected 2013 total of 1,339.

However, holding/illegal blocking, unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer calls are all up.

There have been 66 roughing-the-passer penalties this year, up from 49 last year (34 per cent increase) and 50 objectionable conduct calls (35 last year, 42 per cent increase) with one week remaining.

Unnecessary roughness penalties are also up seven per cent (301 from 254) while 18 per cent more holding/illegal blocking calls have been made (163 from 153).

By comparison pass defence, procedure and facemask penalties are down four, 15 and 20 per cent, respectively.

The CFL's two most penalized teams are Edmonton (96.6 yards per game) and Winnipeg (88.2 yards), who are tied at 3-14 for the league's worst record. Calgary (league-best 14-3 mark) is the least penalized at 69.3 yards per contest.

Injuries have plagued CFL quarterbacks this year as only Edmonton's Mike Reilly and Hamilton's Henry Burris have started all 17 games. Coincidentally, sacks are up 31 per cent this year (5.6 per game, 4.3 in 2012).

And despite a 19 per cent increase in turnovers (4.9 per game compared to 4.1 in '12) scoring has increased. This year's average is 52.9 points compared to 51.8 last year and 50.3 in '11.

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BOMBERS WAIT: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have to wait for Christo Bilukidi.

The six-foot-five, 320-pound defensive tackle reportedly worked out for an unspecified NFL team Tuesday. Last week Bilukidi was released by the Oakland Raiders, who selected him in the sixth round of the '12 NFL draft out of Georgia State.

Bilukidi appeared in 18 games with Oakland, registering one sack and 13 combined tackles.

Bilukidi, 23, was born in Angola but grew up in Ottawa. Winnipeg selected Bilukidi in the third round, 23rd overall, in the 2012 CFL draft but he's expected to exhaust his NFL options this season before looking north.

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MCMAHON WOES: Calgary's 29-25 home win over Saskatchewan on Saturday gave the Stampeders the season series and first in the West Division standings. It also continued the Riders' struggles at McMahon Stadium.

Saskatchewan has dropped seven straight there and is 3-10-1 since 2005. Should the Riders face the Stampeders again this season, it'll be in Calgary in the West final Nov. 17.

Saskatchewan is attempting to become the third straight team to win the Grey Cup at home after B.C. and Toronto.

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