Venue: B.C. Place Stadium
Location: Vancouver, BC
Date: November 27
Winning Coach: Dave Ritchie
Most Valuable Player: Karl Anthony, DB, Baltimore
Most Valuable Canadian: Lui Passaglia, K, B.C.
The Grey Cup, exclusively a Canadian event for the first 82 seasons of its existence, became an international affair when Baltimore became the first U.S.-based club to vie for the trophy.
After a successful run to an East Division crown, Baltimore faced the B.C. Lions for the Grey Cup title. With the game being contested at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium and national pride clearly on the line, this was not your typical Grey Cup game.
Kent Austin started at quarterback for the Lions, which was somewhat of a surprise given that his backup, Danny McManus, engineered a last-second victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the West Final. Austin was playing with a tender left shoulder, but it didn’t prevent him from moving the Lions downfield to set up Lui Passaglia’s 47-yard field goal for the initial points of the game.
Baltimore responded in the second quarter to take a 14-3 lead. Quarterback Tracy Ham put Baltimore on the scoreboard on a one-yard run, while Alvin Walton picked off an Austin throw and completed a lateral pass to Karl Anthony who scampered 36 yards for Baltimore’s second touchdown.
The Lions got a defensive touchdown of their own when Charles Gordon intercepted a pass by Ham and scored on a 17-yard return. Baltimore added a late field goal by Donald Igwebuike to take a 17-10 halftime lead.
Austin was ineffective for B.C., getting intercepted three times. With a minute remaining in the first half, head coach Dave Ritchie turned to McManus.
Baltimore added to its lead with another field goal. But the momentum shifted in B.C.’s favour late in the third quarter. Setting up for a 34-yard field goal, holder Darren Flutie took the ball, jumped to his feet and ran to his right to the 10-yard line, giving the Lions a first down. Three plays later, McManus scored on a third down gamble.
B.C. tied the score with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Passaglia’s 42-yard field goal. The score was deadlocked at 23-23 after both clubs exchanged field goals in the fourth quarter.
Passaglia had an opportunity to kick a 37-yard field goal with 1:02 left in regulation, but he missed. But as fate would have it, Passaglia received another opportunity for the winning kick with no time remaining, and he made good on a 38-yard attempt to keep the Grey Cup in Canada.