CALGARY – Chad Kackert had over 100 yards from scrimmage and the Argos defence held tough as Toronto earned a 22-14 win over the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium Saturday night.
Kackert finished with 94 yards on the ground on 14 carries while catching the ball 5 times for 41 yards as the Argonauts earned their fifth straight victory at McMahon.
The storylines heading into the game revolved around the two running backs as Kackert made his first start of 2012 after the release of Cory Boyd and Jon Cornish rebounded with a career-night last week in Hamilton which earned him both Offensive and Canadian Player of the Week honours.
The Argos got on the board first – after forcing a two-and-out on Calgary’s first drive – when Swayze Waters hit a 23-yard field goal, set up by a 50-yard catch-and-run by Chad Owens.
Owens, who leads the league in all-purpose yardage, entered the game on pace to record 3 different 1,000-yard seasons in receiving, punt returns & kickoff returns. He finished the game as the game’s leading receiver with 3 receptions for 87 yards.
The Stampeders looked poised to answer back with a score on their second drive after Romby Bryant hauled in a 38-yard pass but Jon Cornish took the Stampeders out of field goal range when he took a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
The Argos’ offence put together an impressive showing on their following possession when Waters added another field goal (27 yards) off a play made by veteran Canadian running back Jeff Johnson who rumbled through a pair of tackles for a 52-yard gain.
The Stamps answered back with a field goal of their own, 18-yards from Rene Paredes, but they once again wondered what could have been. Nik Lewis had hauled in a pass to put Calgary inside the five yard line but took a 10-yard major foul penalty shortly thereafter as he and Argos DB Brandon Isaac exchanged pleasantries. The two had a much publicized battle of words leading into the game as Isaac made his return to McMahon after spending the last two seasons with the Stamps.
The Argos orchestrated another impressive 12-play drive with receptions from both Kackert and Owens but two big defensive plays inside the five yardline by the Stampeders put the Argos’ field goal unit on the field for Waters’ third field goal, this one from 11 yards out, to take a 9-3 lead.
Kevin Glenn and the Calgary offence then matched the earleir big plays by Owens and Johnson, connecting with Johnny Forzani on a 50-yard reception.
With the offences moving the ball well between the 20’s, the defences on both sides were making timely tackles and putting pressure on the quarterback, forcing each team to kick a total of five field goals in the first half. The Argos took a 9-6 lead into the locker room.
The Boatmen were looking for Kackert to fill the shoes of Boyd in the ground game but it was out in the flat where he was most effective in the first half, making 4 receptions for 30 yards which helped keep the Toronto offence moving on second and long and second and medium situations.
Durie’s TD makes the difference
Ricky Ray found Andre Durie on the final play of the third quarter for a 26-yard touchdown. The first major of the contest proved to be the game-changer.
As he did in the first half, Waters opened the second half scoring with a 48-yard field goal, set up by a 13-yard run and 11-yard reception by Kackert to give Toronto a 12-6 lead with just over 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Waters would finish a perfect 5-for-5 in field goals on the night.
Ray would put the first major on the board on the final play of the third quarter when he hit Andre Durie in stride for a 26-yard touchdown, completing an 12-play march, to give the Argos a 19-6 advantage.
Kackert began to reel off important runs, trying to break down the Calgary defence – putting forth consecutive gains of 22 and 14 yards – but the Stampeders defence came up with a big play inside their own territory, forcing Owens to fumble on a sweep play which was recovered by linebacker Juwan Simpson. The Stampeders would take over on their own 34 yard line but the Argos defence stepped up to ensure that the turnover didn’t cost them.
Glenn and the Stampeders had an opportunity to pull closer with just over three minutes left in the game but once again, the Toronto defence made a play when they needed to as Jordan Younger stepped in front of a pass at his own 30-yard line.
It was fitting for a secondary that was racing to the ball and held the Stampeders out of the endzone for all but 12 seconds.
Waters would add another field goal, from 38 yards, and Stampeders WR Chris Bauman would add a late major but the Argos recovered an on-side kick and clinch the victory.