Argonauts beat Stampeders in 100th Grey Cup at home

{eot} Staff
11/26/2012 9:31:48 AM
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The Toronto Argonauts are the 100th Grey Cup Champions.

Ricky Ray threw two touchdowns and Chad Kackert piled up 195 yards of offence as the Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders 35-22 in front of 53,208 fans at home in Toronto.

"It feels great. This is what you play for -- to be able to be on a team that gets on a run and wins a championship," Ray said. "It just makes you feel so good. It makes you feel like all the hard work and the obstacles that you've overcome just pay off.

"Everybody on this team, you ask them, somewhere they had to overcome something to get to this point. We're a family, we just came together, stuck together and just played great football."

Ray, acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Edmonton Eskimos in December, finished the game 18-for-30 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Kackert was named Grey Cup MVP after running for 133 yards on 20 carries and adding eight receptions for 62 more yards.

"(Kackert) did a great job. It's tough making decisions like that but obviously everyone can see why we did," said Argonauts' head coach Scott Milanovich. "He has done a great job all year and did another great job again.

"We're not on that stage with the Grey Cup without him."

Milanovich, like both Ray and Kackert, was in his first season with the Argonauts. He took over the head coaching duties from Argonauts' general manager Jim Barker after spending the last five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes.

"I don't know what this win says. All I know is we're the 100th Grey Cup champions and no one can take that away from us," Milanovich said.

The mostly pro-Argonaut sold out crowd at the Rogers centre may have been worried early on as Ray threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage of the game. They needn't have been. The Toronto defence quickly forced a three-and-out from the Stampeders and it was all Argos from there.

Toronto built a 24-6 lead they would never relinquish in the first half thanks to a combination of efficient offence and stifling defence. Chad Owens, Pacino Horne and Dontrelle Inman all scored touchdowns in the opening 30 minutes.

Owens, who was crowned the CFL's Most Outstanding Player earlier this week, got the Argonauts rolling as he scored the first touchdown of the game on a five-yard touchdown pass from Ray at the 8:03 mark of the first quarter.

The score was set up by a Ricky Foley fumble recovery on a botched exchange betwen Calgary quarterback Kevin Glenn and running back Jon Cornish.

Foley, a native of Courtice, Ont., was named top Canadian in the game. He had four tackles, one sack and recovered the fumble that set up the Owens' touchdown.

Horne came up with another big play for the Argonauts' defence and gave the team their second touchdown when he stepped in front of a Glenn pass and returned it 25 yards to the endzone. That pushed the Argonauts lead to 14-3 at the start of the second quarter and seemed to take the life out of the Stampeders.

"To be here on my birthday, to win a Grey Cup on my birthday, the 100th Grey Cup, this is an amazing feeling right now," Horne, who turned 29 on Sunday, said after the game. "I can' say nothing else. I'm just living the moment right now."

Toronto ended the half emphatically on backup Jarious Jackson's one-yard TD pass to Inman with 20 seconds remaining.

Mississauga, Ont. native Andre Durie added another touchdown in the second half while Swayze Waters kicked a pair of field goals in the win.

On defence, the Argonauts forced three Stampeder turnovers in the first half and held the Stampeders to just four Rene Paredes field goals and a Maurice Price touchdown with a two-point conversion that came far too late for the Calgary.

The Stampeders' other points came on a safety as they finished the year 0-3 versus Toronto.

Calgary came into the game as the hottest team in the CFL having won 13 of their last 15 games and boasted the CFL's top rusher in Jon Cornish who ran for 1,457 yards this season and was named the league's Most Outstanding Canadian.

Cornish, Glenn and company simply had no answer for the swarming Argonauts' defence in this game though.

"We didn't start well. We didn't take advantage of their turnover and they got two touchdowns on theirs," Stampeders coach John Hufnagel said. "But the bottom line was that we didn't get the ball into the end zone until the game was out of reach."

Glenn finished the game 14-for-22 for 222 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Cornish was held to 57 yards on 15 carries with one fumble.

Even when the Stampeders found themselves deep in Toronto territory they couldn't break through and were forced to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

The Stampeders also hurt themselves with penalties in the game. Calgary return man Larry Taylor looked to have given the Stampeders their first touchdown of the game late in the third quarter when he returned an Argonauts' kickoff to the endzone. However, the touchdown was negated by a holding penalty.

Calgary was penalized nine times for a total of 99 yards in the game.

Despite their struggles, the Stampeders actually looked to be chipping away at the Argonauts lead early in the fourth quarter. Paredes' fourth field goal of the game brought them to within 13 points with just under 10 minutes to play.

That was as close as they would come though as Durie's seven-yard touchdown catch with 5:56 to play put the game away for the Argonauts.

A late Noel Prefontaine punt single rounded out the scoring for Toronto.

Price's touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion catch for Calgary came with just 20 seconds left to play in the game.

Toronto recovered the Stampeders' last ditch onside-kick attempt and ran out the clock for their first Grey Cup win since 2004.

Winning the 100th Grey Cup at home was particularly significant for Toronto as the city's University of Toronto Varsity Blues won the first Grey Cup ever played in 1909. That game also took place in Toronto.

NOTES: Toronto defensive lineman Adriano Belli was ejected late in the third quarter for rough play after an incident with Calgary offensive lineman Jon Gott... The Toronto Argonauts who finished the regular season 9-9 are the first team to finish the regular season at or below .500 and win the Grey Cup since the Stampeders (8-10) in 2001... Toronto is now 2-1 against Calgary in Grey Cup games having also beaten them in 1991 after losing the 1971 matchup... Gordon Lightfoot, Mariana's Trench, Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber played the halftime show...Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in the stands... Toronto played without all-star cornerback Pat Watkins (ankle) as Jalil Carter replaced him for the second straight game... Referee Glenn Johnson worked his 400th career CFL game and 10th Grey Cup... Calgary defensive lineman Anwar Stewart made his eighth Grey Cup appearance Sunday (six with Montreal, two with Calgary)... Next year's Grey Cup will be held in Regina.

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