September 22, 2005

Grey Cup Memories: 1926

1926 – Ottawa Senators 10, University of Toronto 7

The University of Toronto was seeking an unprecedented fifth Grey Cup championship in 1926 against an Ottawa Senators team that was looking to defend its title.

The Regina Roughriders qualified for the final but with their season ending in early November, did not want to wait for the eastern clubs to finish their playoffs. The Grey Cup game was played on December 5.

Given the time of year, weather was a major factor at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. Frigid temperatures and a snowy field greeted the 8,276 in attendance. The conditions were so bad that hundreds of fans went back to the box office and demanded their money back, wanting to escape the cold.

The Senators would never trail in the game. After scoring two rouges in the opening five minutes, Varsity countered with a pair of singles of its own. But with a minute remaining in the first quarter, an untimely error by the students ultimately cost them the championship. A Toronto player fumbled inside his own 10-yard line, which was recovered by Ottawa. Two plays later, Charlie Lynch crossed the goal line for the game's only touchdown.

Varsity had the ball in Ottawa territory for all of the second quarter. Trimble kicked four rouges to cut the Toronto deficit to 7-6 at halftime. The Senators got most of those points back in the third quarter when Joe Miller booted three singles. Toronto had the wind in the final quarter but could only manage one point on a missed field goal by Warren Snyder.

Miller saved the game for the Senators on two separate occasions. After Miller mishandled a punt in the first quarter, the ball was dribbled towards the Ottawa end zone. With about a half dozen Varsity players in pursuit, Miller was able to beat them all in a foot race despite the slippery footing and kicked the ball into touch to save a touchdown.

In the final quarter and the outcome yet to be determined, a Varsity player intercepted an Ottawa pass at the Toronto 20 and dribbled the ball deep into Ottawa territory. Miller once again raced after the frozen pigskin and secured it to prevent a turnover.

It was an end of an era in Canadian football, as it was the final time a university team made it to the Grey Cup final. Clubs in the Intercollegiate Union continued to play for the title until 1937, but could not make it past the eastern playoffs.