Big-play Argos out to end 60-year Grey Cup drought at home | Sports | CBC Sports

CFLBig-play Argos out to end 60-year Grey Cup drought at home

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 | 06:05 PM

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Toronto Argonauts offensive whiz Chad Owens and teammates celebrate after their East final victory in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press) Toronto Argonauts offensive whiz Chad Owens and teammates celebrate after their East final victory in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

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The Toronto Argonauts didn't always make it easy on themselves in their 27-20 East final win over the Montreal Alouettes at Olympic Stadium to earn a berth in the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre next Sunday, but they made the big plays when needed.

The victors simply enjoyed a big play day.

The Toronto Argonauts didn't always make it easy on themselves in their 27-20 East final win over the Montreal Alouettes at Olympic Stadium to earn a berth in the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre next Sunday.

But whenever they needed a big play to further their cause, either quarterback Ricky Ray or linebacker Marcus Ball or cornerback Pacino Horne or one of the two Chads, Owens and Kackert, came through for Toronto.

"Don't forget Rempel," Argos running back Kackert said, referring to the team's third Chad, the receiver who made a huge late-game special teams tackle on Alouettes return man Trent Guy.

"See you all at the Cup, baby," yelled Ball, who snuffed out two Montreal drives with a pair of second-half interceptions, as he skipped into the Argos' dressing room after the game. "See you at home."

The Argos will play in their first Grey Cup at home since 1982, when the Edmonton Eskimos edged Toronto 18-17 at Exhibition Stadium. They haven't won the CFL's championship game at home since 1952, when they beat the Eskimos 21-11 at Varsity Stadium.



In the 100th Grey Cup, the Argos will want to clean up their sloppy execution. They turned over the football four times, twice on downs. Kackert committed one of those turnovers with a fumble on the Argos second play from scrimmage and he also failed to score from the Montreal one-yard line in the second quarter.

The Alouettes wound up getting the ball back with that goal-line stand. It could have been devastating for the Argos, but they were the better team in the second half because of two long runs from Kackert.

"I knew I had to something after that goal-line stance," Kackert said. "It was demoralizing."

Kackert did rebound. He finished the East final with 139 yards on 13 carries, scored a touchdown and set up two other scores with romps of 49 and 51 yards.

Owens dissected the Alouettes zone defence with some ground-gaining crossing routes. He made 11 catches for a franchise playoff record 209 receiving yards.

Of course, Owens needed somebody to get the ball to him, and Ricky Ray didn't disappoint. He completed 28 of 37 passes for 399 yards and a touchdown.

As Ray became more comfortable with his new team in Toronto the Argos played so much better. The East final win was the club's fifth in a row. In his last four starts, Ray's numbers were incredible: 95 of 130 (73 per cent), 1,336 yards, 11 TDs, 2 picks.

But despite all these good deeds, the Argos needed one final big play from Horne, who will turn 29 on Grey Cup weekend. Veteran Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo looped what looked to be a perfect touch pass to Brian Bratton in the left corner of the end zone. But Horne stretched out and got his pinky on the pigskin to distract Bratton enough to drop what would have been the game-tying TD.

"I've said it all year, our guys trust each other," said 39-year-old Argos head coach Scott Milanovich, who was a long-time offensive coach with the Alouettes. He took over a last-place team and now has the Argos in the 100th Grey Cup.

"It's no fun to get into the Grey Cup, unless you win it," the Argos head coach said.

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