Iggy, CFLs drench Ottawa, 40-13

October 02, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

This was the game they had been waiting for, the one that proved they had a killer instinct.

All the Baltimore CFLs needed was a drenching downpour, another big night for the special teams, and the return of Donald Igwebuike to set the stage.

Igwebuike kicked four field goals and the CFLs crushed the Ottawa Rough Riders, 40-13, last night at Memorial Stadium to clinch an Eastern Division playoff berth in their first Canadian Football League season.

A rain-splattered crowd -- announced at 36,187 -- cheered Igwebuike's return after a two-week exile. Perhaps the team's most popular player, Igwebuike tied his season-long field goal of 49 yards, then added kicks of 41, 42 and 36 yards on a soggy turf.

"I didn't expect that kind of support," Igwebuike said of the crowd. "I really want to thank the fans. It doesn't get any better than this."

Igwebuike was cut three weeks ago after missing a 21-yard field-goal attempt in a 30-29 loss to Sacramento. He was re-signed Monday after his replacement, Charlie Baumann, missed a pair of 22-yard kicks in consecutive games.

The victory kept the CFLs (9-4) tied for first place with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who defeated the Shreveport Pirates, 39-21, last night.

PD It also marked the 100th regular-season victory in coach Don Mat

thews' 10th season.

"It's something we've been looking for -- a blowout," defensive tackle Jearld Baylis said of the team's most lopsided victory this season.

"We're making the right steps at the right time."

For the second straight week, the CFLs blocked an Ottawa punt and turned it into an immediate touchdown. In last week's 42-27 win at Ottawa, Baltimore scored two touchdowns off two blocked punts.

This week the names changed, but the results were strikingly familiar. Robert Clark broke through to snuff Terry Baker's punt in the second quarter. When Sheldon Canley couldn't control the loose ball, Earnest Fields scooped it up at the 34 and raced to the end zone.

It was the seventh punt the CFLs have blocked this season -- and the fifth time they ran it back for a touchdown.

This time, though, Clark got the block on his own initiative. The CFLs had a return called on the play.

"We ran the same return the first three times," Clark said. "I noticed the guy blocking me was coming off the line three-quarter speed. So I told Mike Kerr to slide over a little [on the defensive rush] and I could beat my man."

Clark was good to his word. Then Fields cleaned up. His assignment on the play was to force the kick from the middle.

"We anticipated them doing something different because of what we did last week," Fields said. "They put four men back there [to protect the punter]. When I got through, I heard the block. Sheldon had the ball for a minute, then it popped up to me. The end zone looked so far away . . . it seemed like it was 50 yards away."

Just like last week, Mike Pringle had another big game running the ball. The CFL's leading rusher, Pringle ran for 114 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns.

The first touchdown was a 50-yard scamper on third-and-one on a play in which he seemingly was stopped. But he got a shove in the right direction from tackle Shar Pourdanesh, recovered his footing and sprinted to the touchdown.

"I was just trying to get the yard I needed," Pringle said. "I bounced off one defensive player and lost my balance. But Shar was running toward me looking for another block, and he lifted me up.

L "When I regained my balance, it was a race to the end zone."

Pourdanesh's quick reaction produced the CFLs' only offensive touchdown of the first half.

"The linebacker hit him, and as he was falling I just pulled him back up," Pourdanesh said.

Pringle also went 21 yards on a sweep for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

"The play was designed to go up the middle," Pringle said, "but Franchise [Walter Wilson] told me to follow him. He was going to kick his man inside.

"I listened to Franchise and went to the end zone."

Wilson helped set up another touchdown when he pulled in a 25-yard pass from quarterback Tracy Ham in the third quarter. The play carried to the Ottawa 15.

Two plays later, Ham hit Chris Armstrong for a 3-yard touchdown pass, opening a 30-3 Baltimore lead.

Ham completed 13 of 26 passes for 171 yards.

Ottawa scored the first five points of the game on a safety -- Josh Miller kicking the ball out of the end zone after an errant snap -- and a 31-yard field goal by Baker. Then Baltimore scored the next 40 points to put the game away early.

Ottawa added another safety in the fourth quarter, but didn't reach the end zone until there was 2:10 left. Horace Brooks scored on a 3-yard touchdown run after a fumbled punt.

"The footing was tough and the condition of the field affected us a great deal," Matthews said.

"We couldn't do a lot of what we wanted out there, but the players still responded."

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