Bo Levi Mitchell tosses 4 TD passes in win over Argos
Calgary pivot passes for 268 yards to improve to 5-0 as starter
Bo Levi Mitchell threw four touchdown passes to lead the Calgary Stampeders past the hometown Toronto Argonauts 34-15 on Saturday night.
The third-year pro was solid for Calgary (2-0), which was without running back Jon Cornish and receivers Nik Lewis and Maurice Price. Cornish, the Canadian Football League's outstanding player last season, and Lewis are out with concussion symptoms while Price has a broken hand.
But that didn't deter Mitchell, who finished 16-of-24 passing for 268 yards to improve to 5-0 as a starter. He needs two wins to tie the league record for most victories to begin a CFL career held by former Stampeder Jeff Garcia.
Then again, hardly anyone noticed as just 16,102 fans attended the contest. Last weekend, under 18,000 watched Toronto defeat Saskatchewan 48-15 in its home opener.
After almost scoring at will against the defending Grey Cup champions, Toronto (1-2) could only muster field goals against a Calgary defence that bent but never broke. The Stampeders earned just their second win in eight games versus the Argos but second straight at Rogers Centre.
Toronto's Ricky Ray finished 28-of-36 passing for 291 yards after throwing for 407 yards and three TDs against Saskatchewan.
With Cornish out, Matt Walter and Jock Sanders shared the rushing duties. Receiver Joe West came off the injured list but it was sophomore Jeff Fuller who caught two Mitchell TD passes.
Marquay McDaniel and Anthony Parker also scored TDs for Calgary. Rene Paredes had four converts and two field goals.
Swayze Waters booted five field goals for Toronto, which was without receivers Andre Durie (clavicle) and Jason Barnes (knee). Rookies Anthony Coombs and Darvin Adams made their first career starts with the Argos.
Trickery and a huge special-teams play gave Calgary a 17-9 half-time lead.
Mitchell's 58-yard TD pass to Parker to end the first put Calgary ahead 10-6. Mitchell took a lateral from Jock Sanders, then lofted the scoring strike to a wide-open Parker on a play that was originally flagged as an illegal forward pass but overturned by review.
Then Mitchell found Fuller on an eight-yard touchdown toss at 5:11 of the second giving Calgary a 17-6 advantage. It was set up by Sanders's sparkling 121-yard return off Waters' errant 34-yard field goal try.
But Sanders mishandled a Waters's punt at the Calgary 11 that Shane Herbert recovered with 1:16 remaining. Again, Toronto settled for the 10-yard field goal to make it 17-9 with 47 seconds remaining.
Both quarterbacks were solid in the opening half. Mitchell was 9-of-14 passing for 170 yards while Ray completed 15-of-19 passes for 153 yards. The Argos held the ball for 18 minutes but only had field goals to show for it.