Grey Cup: Toronto rallies in snow to beat Calgary 27-24
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Lirim Hajrullahu kicked a 32-yard field goal with 49 seconds left and the Toronto Argonauts stunned the Calgary Stampeders 27-24 on Sunday night in the Canadian Football League’s snowy 105th Grey Cup.
Toronto tied it with 4:35 to go on Cassius Vaughn’s Grey Cup-record 109-yard fumble return and Ricky Ray’s 2-point conversion pass to Declan Cross.
Calgary was in position to add to its eight-point lead when Bo Levi Mitchell completed a pass to Kamar Jorden in the flat at the 10, but the receiver lost the ball and Vaughn scooped it up and raced the other way on the snow-covered field.
“We got to the fourth quarter, that was our goal — to get to the fourth quarter and be in a competitive game against a really good football team,” Argonauts coach Marc Trestman said. “And not that we underestimated ourselves, we thought we could compete with them, but we knew that we needed to keep it close in the fourth.
“We had some luck along the way, but we also had some bad luck. We were able to pick up a fumble and run with it and go on for a drive and get some points. Our sideline was business-like, so to speak. It was emotional but it was business-like.”
After Hajrullahu’s field goal, Matt Black picked off Mitchell’s pass in the end zone to send the Stampeders to their second loss in two years in the title game. Last year, they fell to Ottawa 39-33 in overtime.
“Couldn’t finish the deal,” Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson said. “It’s heartbreaking, it really is. There’s nothing I can do about it at this point for our guys. I love ’em, but it’s a heartbreaker.”
On a snow covered field in blizzard conditions, Ray hit DeVier Posey for a Grey Cup-record 100-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second half.
Toronto won its record-extending 17 championship, and the 38-year-old Ray became the first starting quarterback to win four Grey Cup titles.
“That sounds pretty good. Obviously, that’s for myself to celebrate,” Ray said. “I’m just so happy with these guys on this team and what we’ve been through this year. Man, there’s no other way to finish it off than with a Grey Cup. I mean, these guys are such great guys.”
Posey was selected the game’s most valuable player. He has seven catches for 175 yards.
The Stampeders led the CFL in the regular season with a 13-4-1 record, while Toronto topped the East Division at 9-9. Calgary also was the top regular-season team last year at 15-2-1.
Calgary had won its last eight games against Toronto.
The snow started to fall about two hours before kickoff, lightly at first and steadily increasing. The snow forced the cancellation of the pregame flyover of two CF-18 Hornets. During each play stoppage, stadium employees shoveled the yard lines while two snow plows cleared the hash marks.
At halftime, two full-sized plows helped clear the field prior to country star Shania Twain’s performance. The multiple Grammy Award winner arrived on a dog sled before starting her snowy three-song set.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie sat together.
The snow tailed off to start the second half, and Toronto pulled to 17-16 at 4:09 of the third quarter on James Wilder Jr.‘s 2-yard scoring run and Cross’ 2-point conversion catch.
The Stampeders countered with Mitchell’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Messam at 8:56.
Ray was 19 of 32 for 297 yards. Mitchell was 33 of 44 for 373 yards and two touchdowns.