Argos down Alouettes, reach Grey Cup title game
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Ricky Ray threw for 399 yards and a touchdown on 28-of-37 passing as the Toronto Argonauts advanced to the 100th Grey Cup Final with a 27-20 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division Final at Olympic Stadium.
Chad Owens had a huge day, catching 11 passes for 207 yards and Dontrelle Inman brought in four passes for 49 yards and a major for the Argos, who will play for their 16th Grey Cup title when they face Calgary, which downed British Columbia, 34-29, in the West Final, on their home turf at Rogers Centre next Sunday.
Chad Kackert, who didn't become the featured back for Toronto until Cory Boyd was traded to Edmonton midseason, ran all over the Montreal defense for 139 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Linebacker Marcus Ball contributed two interceptions in the victory.
"Montreal has been on top in the East for many years," Argonauts coach Scott Milanovich said. "If you're going to get to the Grey Cup, it's fitting that you take out the team that's on top."
Anthony Calvillo threw for 303 yards and two picks on 20-of-34 passing, while Chris Jennings and Adrian McPherson ran for scores for Montreal, which lost a home playoff game for the second consecutive season.
Alouettes linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette was taken off the field on stretcher in the fourth quarter after being injured defending a kickoff return. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Trailing, 17-10 at the half, Toronto evened the game on its first possession of the third quarter. Facing a 2nd-and-8 from the 38, Ray hit Owens over the middle for 70 yards down to the Montreal two and on the next play, Ray lofted one over the head of the oncoming rushers and into the arms of Inman for the score.
On the ensuing Montreal possession, Calvillo was picked off by Ball, giving the Argos the ball at their 35. Four plays later, Toronto seized momentum when Kackert blew through the line and raced 49 yards to end zone and a 24-17 lead with 6:40 on the third-quarter clock.
However, Sean Whyte capped an impressive 12-play, 75-yard drive with an 11- yard field goal, cutting the Boatmen's lead to 24-20 with just seconds gone in the fourth quarter.
Toronto restored its seven point lead with 10:20 to play as Ray led a quick 4- play, 54-yard drive and Swayze Waters capped it with a 35-yard make.
Montreal had one final shot to send the game to overtime as it began the final possession of the game with 1:17 left. Calvillo hit Jamel Richardson for 45 yards down to the Toronto 23 with 59 seconds left. After two consecutive incompletions, it came down to one final play on 3rd-and-10.
Calvillo dropped back and fired toward the end zone for Brian Bratton, but the ball bounced off his chest and fell incomplete, sending Toronto to its 21st Grey Cup Final.
"It was just up and down. We weren't very consistent across the board," Calvillo said. "They did play a little more zone than we anticipated. You have to give them credit they played very well. We had a lot of chances. I just didn't step it up."
Toronto began the game with the ball, but just two plays into the contest, Kackert fumbled and it was recovered by Olong Ogbu for Montreal at the 46-yard line.
The Als capitalized on the turnover, moving the ball 46 yards in seven plays before Whyte booted a 25-yard field goal, giving his team the early 3-0 lead,
After stopping Toronto on 3rd-and-2, Montreal took over at the 51. Jennings starred on the ensuing drive, rushing three times for 42 yards and capping the 6-play trek with an 18-yard sprint to the end zone, putting the Als up 10-0 late in the opening quarter.
Toronto responded on its ensuing drive as Ray found Maurice Mann for 32 yards, then connected with Andre Durie for 17 yards, bringing the ball to the Montreal 15. Waters banged a 22-yarder through the uprights, cutting the deficit to 10-3.
The Argos had a golden opportunity to take the lead with less than seven minutes to play in the second quarter after Ray found a streaking Inman for 35 yards down to the Montreal goal line.
But Montreal's defense held strong, stopping three consecutive Argo runs to maintain its 10-4 lead.
A pair of singles and a safety conceded by Montreal made it a 10-7 game, but the Als struck for seven on their final possession of the first half.
Calvillo hit S.J. Green for 49 yards on the first play of the drive, then went deep for Eric Deslauriers down the left sideline. Ahmad Carroll was flagged for pass interference, giving Montreal a first down on the goal line.
McPherson finished the march with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone, making it 17-7 with 1:07 left.
Waters hit a 12-yard field goal with one second left, making it a 17-10 game at intermission.
Toronto last appeared in the Grey Cup in 2004, when it topped British Columbia by a 27-19 count in Ottawa ... Montreal fell to 8-2 this season when leading at halftime ... Toronto improved to 10-0 this season, including playoffs, when leading after three quarters ... Montreal had won six of the previous 10 meetings between the teams ... Calvillo fell to 8-2 in his career in East Finals.
11/19 00:21:15 ET