Sorry, my mistake. Its seems to be "Game Day Turf" not FieldTurf. However, it seems to be very similar down to the characteristic little black cloud of filler being thrown up whenever the ball hits the ground.
Jun. 16, 2004. 01:00 AM
HANS DERYK/TORONTO STAR
Robert Baker, a former Miami Dolphin, shows his leaping and catching abilities by going up and over Saskatchewan’s Omarr Morgan for a 35-yard TD in the Argonauts’ opening-night win at SkyDome.
Argos impress in season debut
Allen throws TD strikes to rookies Soward, Baker
Crowd of 26,821 largest at dome since 2000 season
Robert Baker made an auspicious debut as an Argonaut last night, but he insists he can be a whole lot better.
The former Miami Dolphin, one of a gaggle of speedy receivers acquired by the Argos during the off-season, picked up 139 yards on seven catches, including a spectacular grab for a touchdown as the Boatmen opened the CFL season with a 21-10 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Baker wasn't the only newcomer to impress the 26,821 fans — the largest crowd to watch an Argo game at SkyDome since Sept.15, 2000, when current head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons played his final game as a player, also against the Riders.
R.Jay Soward caught just one pass, but it was a 54-yard touchdown that had the crowd buzzing as he used his well-advertised speed to get 10 yards behind the nearest Rider defender to haul in quarterback Damon Allen's toss.
Running back John Avery, whose staying ability in this game was a concern after off-season knee surgery, turned in what Clemons described as "a courageous effort."
Avery, who signed for four seasons at $250,000 per year, missed just one series. He carried eight times for 22 yards and caught five passes for another 31.
Marc Lester, another new addition, caught three passes for 41 yards.
"I can't wait for them to get into CFL shape," said Argos general manager Adam Rita of his new recruits.
The Argos' romp was no doubt aided when the Riders suffered a devastating blow seven minutes into the game as starting quarterback Nealon Greene suffered a broken left leg.
Greene, who had won the starting job when the Riders traded away his main competitor, Kevin Glenn, was stepping into a second-down pass at the Argo 38-yard line when he was hit by hard-charging linebacker Michael Fletcher.
The play had no sooner been whistled dead when players on both teams signalled for medical assistance.
It took more than 10 minutes for doctors to apply a splint to Greene's leg before he was taken off the field on a golf cart.
The entire Rider team ran on to the field to offer words of encouragement to their quarterback, while Fletcher walked over to the Riders bench where he and head coach Danny Barrett embraced.
Several Rider players slapped Fletcher on the back indicating they felt his hit on Greene was clean and they bore him no ill will.
The injury to Greene had an immediate impact.
Backup pivot Henry Burris went in to take the snap for a 45-yard field goal attempt by Paul McCallum but mishandled the snap. McCallum's short kick was scooped up by Bashir Levingston, who showed why he was named the CFL's outstanding special teams player last year as he raced 105 yards for his first TD of the year.
That was followed by Soward's catch, which came on the first play after Kenny Wheaton had picked off Riders third-string quarterback Rocky Butler.
With his touchdown pass to Soward, Allen added another line to his lengthy list of accomplishments. It was his 335th TD pass, the most ever by a CFL pivot.
Allen completed 21of31 passes for 304 yards.
"I was more prepared for this season opener than I was last year," said Allen. "I was confident coming into this game."
Last year, Allen joined the team following a trade with the B.C. Lions after training camp had ended.
The new Game Day Turf, which resembles actual grass, didn't draw rave reviews.
"Both team had to play on the same turf," said Clemons, whose club plays the Renegades in Ottawa next Thursday