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Four Games, and Four Quarterbacks for the Ottawa Redblacks, Masoli Hurt Again

With Masoli hurt, Redblacks turn to former fourth string quarterback Dustin Crum.

Jeremiah Masoli hit the turf clearly in pain, and the stadium fell silent. Everyone on both sidelines felt the gravity of this situation. Masoli had rehabbed from a devastating injury for a calendar year to get back on the field for Ottawa, and hit the field against his former team the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

It all ended before halftime for Masoli, and at first glance, his season could be over as well. If this is the case you have to begin to question if this is the end of the road for Masoli. No one would blame Masoli if he chose to walk away after two season ending injuries late in his career.

Finishing the first half was former fourth string quarterback Dustin Crum. Crum was the practice squad quarterback behind Caleb Evans, Nick Arbuckle, and Tyrie Adams during the 2022 season, signing late in the season after being let go by the Kansas City Chiefs. With the return of Masoli, the Redblacks let Caleb Evans leave via free agency, and Crum’s position on paper did not change.

Masoli however was not able to start the season, meaning Crum was able to rise to the roster, as the QB3. Arbuckle started the season and went on to play very poorly allowing Tyrie Adams to take over by week four following the bye week, with Crum being elevated to QB2, and Arbuckle the 3.

Then after Ottawa finding it’s first victory with Adams at the helm, it was announced Masoli was taking first team reps for the first time all season. This was quickly followed by news that Tyrie Adams had torn an ACL and would be shut down for the rest of the CFL season.

With Masoli back it on the surface lessened the blow, but most Redblacks fans understood this was a large blow given that Masoli had not played in a calendar year. This left questions as to who would be the number 2 quarterback heading into the week 5 match-up with Hamilton. It was announced that Dustin Crum not the veteran Arbuckle would be the QB2 in this game.

Crum Comes to Play

Having spent a full season adapting to the Canadian game Crum looked ready to jump into the game immediately. On his first drive in the game he led a touchdown drive that put Ottawa up 10-9 just before the half ended. Ottawa would carry this lead into the second half.

On this drive Crum looked extremely mobile, flashing the speed that helped him rack up two 700+ rushing seasons at Kent State, and over 2,000 career rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.

With Crum’s mobility in mind, Khari Jones turned back to the run heavy approach that helped Ottawa win in week four against the 0-3 Elks. Crum went into the half having completed 4 of 6 for 46 yards, and 3 carries for 42 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. Crum impressed displaying the necessary arm strength to stretch the field, and the accuracy to run this offense for Ottawa long term if that’s the way the Redblacks choose to go the rest of the season.

Let’s not forget Dustin Crum spent an offseason learning from Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, and Matt Nagy with the Kansas City Chiefs. If there is one complaint for Crum in this game it’s that he plays loose with the ball in the pocket.

We saw this result in a sack fumble, when Crum tried to escape a free rusher in the third quarter, that was recovered by Hamilton ending two straight drives with turnovers. The previous drive ended with a tipped pass falling in the hands of Hamilton as well. Neither of these plays will do Crum any favors on the stat sheet, but I’m not sure all the blame can go to him on either play.

Prior to the fumble ending the drive Crum looked decisive, and calm in the pocket. He would come back on the next drive and again deliver passes with little to no hesitation. This was a hallmark of his collegiate career that saw him win the MAC Most Valuable Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in 2021.

If you’re looking for an intriguing young quarterback to lean on in a tough spot, you could do a lot worse than Dustin Crum. Crum could actually turn into the future of this franchise if he plays well down the stretch given the opportunity.

57 Seconds Left, Can Crum Lead a Comeback?

Crum was given the ball with 57 seconds left, and on first down he takes off running picking up 22 yards on the play. On the next play a one hopper to Behar, then a dart just out of the reach of the defender. On first down a pass to Mariner running to the sideline to stop the clock with 22 seconds on the Hamilton 31. Crum throws the ball just as he was hit completing the pass for 9 yards just short of a first down. Jones calls a short crosser to pick up the first down. Leaving the Redblacks with first down on the Hamilton 21 yard line.

On the next play Ottawa only had enough time for one last shot, and the defense knew it dropping into a prevent watching as every receiver streaked for the end-zone. Crum seeing a wide open field took off running gaining 19 yards before taking a hit and spinning down at the 2 yard line just as time expires. A heart breaking loss, but an encouraging drive for young Dustin Crum who showed many things to like in this game.

Crum finished the game 14 of 21 for 149 yards 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 6 carries for 91 yards 1 touchdown, and 1 fumble. While there is certainly room for improvement, Crum showed enough that I believe if Masoli can’t go next week and beyond, which is what I anticipate hearing by Monday, He deserves the chance to start in week six versus Winnipeg which will prove to be a tough match up no matter who plays at quarterback for Ottawa.

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@SamShadySports Reporter
I began writing years ago out of an obsession with the NFL. I never intended to take it anywhere but after watching so many others succeed as freelance writers I decided it was worth a shot. I jumped I and have loved every minute of it. I have expanded my content to include YouTube, as well as Twitter Spaces, SoundCloud, and should be launching on Amazon Podcasts soon.
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