CFL Preview - Toronto (9-9) at Montreal (11-7)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 1:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Montreal Alouettes attempt to punch their ticket to yet
another title game this weekend, as they clash with familiar foe Toronto
in the East Division Championship game at Olympic Stadium.
The winner of this bout will face either Calgary or British Columbia in the
100th Grey Cup next Sunday in Toronto.
With Anthony Calvillo at the helm for the Alouettes, the team has been a
regular visitor to the Grey Cup over the years, last appearing in the title
game in 2010 when they defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a score of
21-18 in Edmonton. That was the second of back-to-back championships for
Montreal, and the eighth time since 2000 that the club had taken part in the
As for the Argos, while they may have a storied history in the league, in
recent years the opportunities to hoist the trophy have been few and far
between. In fact, because Montreal is in the same division it has been the
Als, for the most part, that have prevented Toronto from claiming the ultimate
The Argonauts last played in the Grey Cup in 2004 when they defeated the
British Columbia Lions by a score of 27-19, and prior to that the team hadn't
been in the championship since 1997 when it won the second of consecutive
titles against Saskatchewan and Edmonton, respectively.
Toronto arrives in the East Division Championship after defeating Edmonton
rather convincingly last week, 42-26. For starting quarterback Ricky Ray, it
was vindication for a signal-caller who had lost twice in the regular-season
against his former team.
Ray hit on 23-of-30 passes for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one each to
Maurice Mann and Chad Kackert in the second quarter when the team lit up the
scoreboard with 31 straight points, setting a record for the most consecutive
points scored in a single quarter in a postseason affair. Kackert accounted
for a game-high 88 yards rushing and another score on the ground, while
special teams superstar Chad Owens landed in the end zone on a 59-yard punt
return, furthering his legendary season in 2012 in which he's been one of the
top players in the entire league.
Incorporated into the Toronto offense much more this season, Owens managed to
catch 94 passes for 1,328 yards and score six touchdowns. Add to that another
1,588 yards on kickoff returns and 828 yards on punt returns and it was clear
that Owens made himself into one of the most dangerous performers in league
history, to the point where he broke the single-season record for combined
yards and is now the only one with three straight seasons with at least 3,000
An interesting side note is that Owens broke into the league with Montreal
back in 2009 after coming out of Hawaii, and he was rarely used by the Als, so
each time he goes out against his old mates he has a chip on his shoulder.
While the Argos put much of their faith in Owens and Ray, everyone knows that
the player with the highest profile in this outing will be Calvillo for the
The ageless wonder out of Utah State logged his second straight 5,000-yard
passing campaign and the seventh of his illustrious career. He's been the face
of the league for quite some time as he continues to build on a career that is
closing in on an amazing 80,000 passing yards, which is more than any other
quarterback in any league, any where.
Of their three meetings this season, Montreal claimed victory twice and lost
the earlier outing by just three points, although it is important to note that
Ray missed the majority of the second game and all of the third due to injury
The most recent matchup was last month when the Als delivered a 24-12 victory
on the road, as Calvillo threw for 255 yards and a score and Shea Emry
intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 46 yards for a major.
Toronto scored only one TD in the meeting on a 24-yard pass play between
Jarious Jackson to Andre Durie.
As far as the all-time series between these two squads in the division finals
goes, they've met a total of 10 times with Montreal taking six victories,
including three of the last four. The most recent triumph for the Als came in
2010, while Toronto last tasted victory in this setting six years earlier.
During that last victory for the Argos in 2004, Calvillo ended up getting
injured in the first quarter, which left the team holding onto hope with
backup Ted White at the helm, en route to a 26-18 final. That's been the only
loss in six postseason meetings with Calvillo as the starting quarterback for
As well as Ray and Owens can play, the postseason is generally when Calvillo
shines the brightest, so it will take a lot to knock off one of the most
productive players in league history in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 31, Toronto 21
11/14 12:01:03 ET
powered by www.sportsnetwork.com.