CALGARY -- Zach Collaros threw four touchdowns on 330 yards passing, as the Argonauts won their fifth game away from home, 33-27 over the Calgary Stampeders.
For the Stampeders, the loss was their first at home this season and first since Week 8 of last season, when they dropped a 22-14 decision to Toronto.
Tonight’s action marked the second time in a month that the Argos and Stamps met, with Calgary earning a decisive 35-14 victory in Toronto in late August.
The Week 9 battle was more than just a loss in the standings for the Argos, as QB Ricky Ray was forced out of the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury.
Ray hasn’t seen the field since, paving the way for Collaros to take over under centre.
With Collaros leading the charge, the Argos have won two of three contests, both of which arrived by way of late-game comebacks.
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Having started slow in all three of his starts prior to tonight, Collaros took advantage of a heads up play by his defence to register the game’s opening points.
Scrimmaging for their own 17 yard line, Stamps pivot Kevin Glenn saw his pass over the middle tipped by Argos linebacker Robert McCune.
The ball eventually landed in safety Patrick Watkins’ hands, who returned it 25 yards before taking a massive hit by Stamps guard Stanley Bryant at the two yard line.
Two plays after taking over on offence, Collaros hooked up with upstart rookie John Chiles in the endzone, giving the Argos a 7-0 lead.
Making his return under centre after missing two games with a lower-body injury, Glenn’s errant pass was just his third interception of the season.
But the West Division-leading Stamps answered back in a hurry.
After Rene Paredes brought them within four thanks to a 52-yard field goal, it was Calgary’s defence that came up with a big play to put their offence in favourable field position.
Facing second-and-five from his own 40 yard line, Collaros was met with a swarm of Calgary defenders and had his pass attempt interrupted by Juwan Simpson, who knocked the ball out of the QB’s grasp.
Demonte Bolden recovered the loose ball, giving Glenn and the offence a fresh set of downs from inside Toronto’s 40.
From there, Glenn and the Stamps offence didn’t need much time to take the lead.
First, Glenn found Jon Cornish for a 13-yard gain, which was followed up by a three yard run by the Canadian tailback on the very next play.
Immediately afterwards, Glenn connected with veteran Jabari Arthur for an 11-yard score – his first since 2011.
The two teams would then exchange singles off punts, making the score 11-7 Calgary early on the second quarter.
Midway through the second frame, the Stampeders went to work on extending their lead.
Following another forced fumble on Collaros - this time by Charleston Hughes, the Stamps took over from the Argos’ 28 with their eyes on reaching the endzone.
And they would do just that, as they extended their lead to 11 thanks to a one-yard plunge by Drew Tate, who capped off a 9-play, 28-yard drive that ate 3:51 off the clock.
|Comeback Collaros V3.0|
Much like he did against the Alouettes and Roughriders, Argos pivot Zach Collaros turned it on when it mattered most, leading his team to another victory on the road.
But like the Stamps did in the first quarter, the Argos answered right back and cut Calgary’s lead to a mere field goal, as Collaros found slotback Andre Durie on a slick shovel pass for a two-yard touchdown.
The major was the conclusion of a nine-play, 67-yard drive that saw Collaros complete a pair of passes to Jason Barnes for gains of 16 and 12 yards.
With the second quarter coming to a close, the Argos had a golden opportunity to tie the game. However, Swayze Waters’ 51-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. Larry Taylor opted to carry the ball out of the endzone, keeping the Stamps ahead by three.
Waters’ missed field goal proved costly for the Argos, as the Stamps increased their lead to a two-possession game right off the bat in the third quarter.
After Taylor ran back the half’s opening kickoff 33 yards to Calgary’s 54, the Stamps offence once again made quick work of a Toronto defence that was having trouble containing Calgary’s multi-faceted attack.
Glenn kicked things off by finding Alric Arnett for a four-yard gain, and followed that up by connecting with Kenny Stafford for a gain of 10.
Then, with Bo Levi Mitchell under centre, Cornish powered the Toronto’s front seven for an impressive 25-yard run, bringing the drive inside Toronto’s 20.
One play later, with Glenn back under centre, receiver Marquay McDaniel hauled in a pass wide open in the endzone, giving the Stamps a 25-15 lead.
But the see-saw battle continued almost instantaneously, as the Boatmen countered with a hard right hook, straight to the jaw of Calgary’s secondary.
Starting just inside his own 30 yard line, Collaros quickly found Chiles for a 35-yard catch and run, which was immediately followed up by a 19-yard carry by tailback Jerious Norwood.
To that juncture of the game, Norwood had garnered 103 total yards. He finished with 135 on 14 touches.
Norwood’s rush allowed the Argos to set up shop at Calgary’s 28 yard line with a fresh set of downs. However, they would only need one, as Collaros found a wide open Dontrelle Inman standing still in the endzone, cutting Calgary’s lead to three once again.
With 3:42 left in the third quarter, Waters would split the uprights from 40 yards out to even things up at 25 points apiece.
The early parts of the fourth quarter saw both defences stand tall, as the two units managed to subdue the offences - but only temporarily.
Living up to his reputation of leading late-game surges, Collaros orchestrated a quick and efficient three-play drive that resulted in Toronto native Mike Bradwell hauling in a 34-yard touchdown with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.
The major was Bradwell's first of 2013, and first since 2011.
With 2:46 to go in the fourth, the Stampeders embarked on an important drive, and thought they had taken the lead on a 67-yard catch and run touchdown by Brad Sinopoli.
However, Arthur was flagged for an offensive pass interference penalty, erasing the touchdown, and forcing the Stamps to send out the punting unit two plays later.
Toronto would increase their lead to seven thanks to a punt single by Waters on the ensuing possession.
The Stamps would have one more opportunity to even things up with a late drive, but they weren't able to find the endzone, giving them Argos their third-straight win, while seeing their four game win streak come to an end.
Next week, the Argos conclude their four game road trip in Edmonton against the Eskimos, while the Stampeders travel to Guelph to take on the Ticats.