July 7, 2012

Down to the wire: Argos outlast Stamps in Toronto

CFL.ca Staff

TORONTO — A last-second Noel Prefontaine field goal lifted the Argos past the Calgary Stampeders with a 39-36 win at Rogers Centre.

Both offences came out on fire, trading touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game.

First, Drew Tate and the Calgary offence picked up right where they left off in Week 1, engineering a 7-play, 69-yard drive capped off by a 4-yard touchdown toss to Rob Cote.

Related: Stamps at Argos

Argos QB Ricky Ray was good on 30 of 40 passing for 407 yards and two touchdowns.

» Images: CGY at TOR
» View Game Stats
» Video: Larry Taylor Return TD
» Video: Inman’s 56-Yard TD
» Video: Tate goes down with injury
Video: Barnes takes big hit
» Stephen: Dome woes continue

The Argos then answered back when Ray put together a 66-yard drive of his own, finished off by a 5-yard Cory Boyd run into the endzone.  The drive was set up by 40-yard kickoff return by speedster Chad Owens.

Tate was looked upon to answer but with 5:21, the Stamps’ starter rolled out on what seemed like a broken play and conceded a sack to Argos defender Derrick Summers.  Tate was slow to get up and seemed to be holding his left arm as he was helped off the field.

He did not return and was replaced by veteran Kevin Glenn. Glenn joined the Stamps this off-season after being sent over from Hamilton in the Henry Burris trade.

Momentum seemed to have been going entirely in Toronto`s direction but on the ensuing Argos possession, Ricky Ray looked over the middle for rookie wideout Dontrelle Inman but the pass tipped off of his hands and sailed into the waiting arms of DB Eric Fraser who ran virtually untouched down the sidelines for a 60-yard Calgary touchdown to put his team up 14-7.

The Argos would chip into the lead with 11:14 remaining in the second quarter when Noel Prefontaine kicked a 14-yard field goal to pull within four.

The Stamps looked to extend the lead and help out backup Glenn but running back Jon Cornish fumbled at midfield and the Argos wasted little time taking advantage of the mistake.  

Inman would make up for his earlier miscue when he beat Brandon Smith down the sideline and caught a 56-yard pass from Ray for a touchdown to put the Argos up 17-14.

Tate leaves with injury

Calgary Stampeders starting QB Drew Tate left in the first quarter with an injury after being sacked by Derrick Summers.

» Video: Tate goes down with injury

Glenn had been moving his team down the field with some consistency midway through the second quarter but took a step back when he threw an interception to rookie DB Pat Watkins who returned it 56-yards, setting up a 40-yard Prefontaine field goal.

Prefontaine would add one more field goal as the Argos entered halftime with a 23-14 lead.

The veteran Argos kicker would open the second half scoring with another chip shot field goal but Glenn and the Stamps would finally put another offensive major on the board to swing momentum in their favour when Nik Lewis caught a 20-yard pass to pull within nine of the Boatmen.

The Argos would attempt a field goal after intercepting a Glenn pass but Prefontaine would sail it wide and then it was time for Larry Taylor to enter the Stampeders’ record books.  The elusive returner fielded the missed field goal in his own endzone, dodged a group of tacklers and returned it 125 yards for a touchdown.

The major not only tied the game – with the help of a Nik Lewis two-point conversion – but it cemented the play as the third longest kick return in franchise history.  

The longest Stampeders kick return was courtesy of Ron Hopkins, 128 yards, in 1990 versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With momentum on their side, the Stamps had a golden opportunity to grab the lead again but Glenn was hit hard by former Stamp Brandon Isaac who forced the fumble and picked it up and return it to the five yard line.

The Argos couldn’t capitalize however, as two Boyd runs were stopped short of the goal line and a third down gamble went for not when the Calgary defence dug in and came up with a key defensive stop.

The Argos would eventually get another major on the next possession when Inman got his second touchdown of the game, making an acrobatic 15-yard catch in the endzone to put the Argos up 36-29.

The game seemed all but over until Taylor struck again with a 64-yard return to set up a game-tying Nik Lewis touchdown with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.