CALGARY — Kevin Glenn had three touchdown tosses, as the Calgary Stampeders booked their ticket to the 100th Grey Cup with a 34-29 win over the BC Lions on Sunday evening in Vancouver.
Jon Cornish had a memorable game in his home province with 154 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches, as the Stamps will now travel to Toronto on Nov. 25 for a battle with the host Argonauts.
The action started no sooner than anyone at BC Place could take their seats. After an incompletion on first down, Glenn found McDaniel deep without any defenders in sight, leading to a 68-yard touchdown pass to open the game.
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After two straight BC punts, Glenn scrambled and found outstanding non-import running back Jon Cornish for a 19-yard gain into Lions territory.
But with a chance to add to the early lead and the Stamps’ veteran quarterback looking to make a play on second down, Korey Banks jumped in front of a pass to the sideline, taking it 77 yards the other way for a defensive touchdown.
With that, the score was 7-7, as the teams hit the reset button with five and a half minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Glenn composed himself quickly though. After a pair of runs by Cornish that moved the chains, the veteran pivot completed two straight passes to breakout rookie receiver Price – including a 29-yard connection for the touchdown while on the run.
The score capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took 3:58 off the clock, giving Glenn and co. a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
On the next drive, Travis Lulay and the Lions appeared to be shaking off the rust, more than a month after playing their last meaningful game. Last year’s Most Outstanding Player completed four consecutive passes, including a pair to Arland Bruce, to eventually set-up a 35-yard field goal from Paul McCallum.
Before the dust could even settle, though, Cornish and the Stamps offence was back at it, thanks to some hard running from the New Westminster, B.C. native.
Cornish went for runs of 21 yards and 10 yards respectively, while Glenn completed four of five passing attempts to lead to a 20-yard field goal from Rene Paredes, giving the Stamps a seven-point cushion again.
The Lions sparked their next offensive possession with a big completion on second-and-one, when short-yardage quarterback Mike Reilly found the league’s all-time leader in receiving yards, Geroy Simon, for a 26-yard completion.
Lulay hit on consecutive passes to Simon and non-import running back Andrew Harris, but after another Harris first down, the Stamps’ defence once again tightened up, forcing McCallum onto the field for his second field goal of the game. That cut the Lions’ deficit to 17-16 before time ran out in the first half.
After exchanging punts to start the second half, Glenn and Calgary’s offence quickly caught fire. On a second-and-12 play, the first-year Stampeder completed a 23-yard catch-and-run to Cornish to move the chains.
On the next play, Glenn dropped back and found last week’s last-second hero, Romby Bryant, for a 57-yard touchdown along the sideline the team’s third passing touchdown of the evening. The three-play, 78-yard drive gave the Stamps a 24-16 lead, quieting the BC Place gathering.
Up by eight points and looking for more, the Stampeders opted to gamble on third-and-one with short yardage quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell under centre. But instead of ducking under the pile, the athletic young pivot dropped back and fired a 42-yard completion Price.
He was ruled down at the one, and after failing to cross the goal line on first and second down, it eventually led to a 1-yard plunge from Mitchell on third down to extend Calgary’s lead to 31-16.
That capped off a nine-play, 64-yard touchdown drive, taking 5:47 off the clock.
Lulay responded with five straight completions on the following drive, setting up a 33-yard field goal from McCallum to cut the deficit to 31-19. Thanks to a quick two-and-out from the defence, the Lions had another crack with the ball soon after, trailing by 12 points with 12 minutes remaining.
The mobile quarterback went to work again, first completing a 12-yard pass to Akeem Foster before moving the chains twice more on passes to Bruce and Marco Iannuzzi.
But the Lions couldn’t finish off the drive with a major, leading to McCallum’s fourth field goal of the game, a 45-yarder, making the score 31-22 for Calgary.
The Stamps would respond with a field goal of their own from 20 yards out, thanks to some shifty running from Glenn and Cornish, eating time off the clock and extending the lead to 12 points with just over three minutes remaining.
With the three-minute warning passing and needing two touchdowns for the win, Lulay and the offence took the field with a mountain to climb.
But the man who’s been there before showed off his poise, completing six passes to three different receivers, including an eventual 2-yard touchdown strike to Moore.
The 12-play, 75-yard drive left just under a minute on the clock, and after the onside kick failed, it would be up to that dominant BC defence to try to hold the Stampeders and get the football back.