TORONTO — Bo Levi Mitchell remains undefeated in his CFL career, after throwing four touchdown passes to lead the Calgary Stampeders to a 34-15 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night at the Rogers Centre.
The 24-year-old carved up a young Argos’ secondary from start to finish, while Calgary’s defence kept the dangerous Ricky Ray out of the end zone to help the Stampeders earn the win despite the absence of Jon Cornish, Nik Lewis, and Maurice Price from the lineup.
Mitchell went 16-24 for 267 yards and four touchdowns to move to 5-0 as a starter in his young career, as he moves closer to the all-time record of seven straight wins to begin a career set by former Stamps quarterback Jeff Garcia.
For the Argos it was a night of miscues and missed opportunities, as the team moved the ball all night but couldn’t finish possessions with seven points, instead settling for five field goals from Swayze Waters. And much like in their season-opening loss at Winnipeg, penalty trouble put the defence in many difficult situations.
Second-year receiver Jeff Fuller had two touchdowns to lead Calgary’s receiving corps, while Matt Walter provided ample support from the running back position with 41 yards on nine rushes. Former Calgary Dino Anthony Parker meanwhile had a game-high 101 receiving yards.
Ray established his rhythm early and the Argos appeared to be in good form offensively, however two early possessions ended prematurely with Waters field goals leaving only a 6-3 lead to show for their efforts.
Calgary then did what the Boatmen struggled to on the final play of the quarter, as Jock Sanders took the direct snap then threw it back to Mitchell, who fired downfield for a 58-yard touchdown pass to Parker.
The Argos’ woes continued on their next possession, as once again they settled for a field goal attempt. This time though Waters pulled his kick wide right and Sanders, from the back of the end zone, got a quick jump downfield and hit the seam for a 121-yard return down to the Argo six-yard-line.
Mitchell showed the veteran Ray just how you finish possessions, quickly locating Fuller in the end zone for the score to give Calgary a 17-6 lead on a sudden 10-point swing. The Argos added a third Waters field goal late in the quarter to make it 17-9, a score that would carry into the second half.
Ray OK, Mitchell better
Ricky Ray is widely considered the best quarterback in the CFL, but Bo Levi Mitchell is making a strong case with his play. He finished Saturday 16-24 for 267 yards and four touchdowns, to move to 5-0 as a starter in his career.
The Stamps continued their onslaught before Ray could even take the field in the second half, as Mitchell diced the Argo defence and culminated a long scoring drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Fuller to make it 24-9 Calgary. It was the second career touchdown for the second-year receiver, capping off an eight-play, 87-yard drive that lasted 4:04.
Ray again led the Argos on a promising drive in response, which included a flashy 24-yard gain by rookie running back Anthony Coombs, but the Argos had to settle for Waters’ fourth field goal of the game. Hoping to get a quick stop from their defence though, Mitchell only added to their misery.
The Katy, Texas native took the Stamps on a penalty-assisted drive and finished it off with his fourth touchdown of the game thanks to a speedy catch-and-run by veteran receiver Marquay McDaniel. The Argos added three more on a 51-yarder by Waters, but trailed by 16 heading into the final quarter.
The Stampeders added a field goal in the fourth quarter and also had one blocked, while their Rich Stubler-led defence didn’t let up in the pursuit of the quarterback. The result marked the first time since Sept. 23, 2012 that the Argos didn’t score a touchdown in a game, when Jarious Jackson was filling in for an injured Ray. Meanwhile it was just the second time for Ray since joining the Boatmen without ginding the end zone.
Calgary returns home for a meeting with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats next Friday, while the Argos visit the Nation’s Capital to face the Ottawa REDBLACKS in the first ever game at Ottawa’s new stadium. The action can be seen in a Friday Night Football double-header.