MONTREAL — The Toronto Argonauts acquired Ricky Ray to get them to a Grey Cup game on home turf and now they can say “mission accomplished.”
A masterful Ray passed for 399 yards and dominated the ground game as well as the Argonauts stunned the Montreal Alouettes 27-20 in the CFL East Division final before 50,122 at Olympic Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“He took some big hits and hung in there,” coach Scott Milanovich said of his veteran quarterback. “I thought he played a tremendous football game, but that’s what he’s here for.
“That’s why he’s the one we wanted.”
The Argonauts reached the CFL championship game for the first time since 2004, when they won their 15th Grey Cup with a victory over B.C.
The game next Sunday against the West Division champion will be played at Rogers Centre, the Argonauts’ home field. They last won a Grey Cup at home in 1952, lost one in Toronto in 1982 and now they’re home again in 2012 — each time exactly 30 years apart.
“It’s been a long season for us but we’ve stuck together and just played it one game at a time,” said Ray, acquired last winter in a trade from the Edmonton Eskimos. “Now we’ve got the opportunity to do what we set out to do.”
Ray threw a touchdown pass to Dontrelle Inman and Chad Kackert scored on a long touchdown run. Swayze Waters added three field goals for Toronto, which had lost to Montreal in three previous East final meetings.
The Argonauts star players shone and while Montreal’s had their moments, top receivers Richardson and S.J. Green caught only five passes between them.
CFL receiving leader Chad Owens piled up 207 receiving yards on 11 catches — a Toronto playoff record — and was the main target of the veteran Ray who was throwing strikes from the pocket all afternoon.
With kick returns thrown in, Owens had 346 all-purpose yards.