November 25, 2012 Game Notes: 100th Grey Cup edition

Adam Gagnon/ Staff

TORONTO –It all comes down to this.

Sunday night in Toronto, the final game of the 2012 CFL season will come to a close, as the hometown Toronto Argonauts battle the Calgary Stampeders in the historic 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre.

Equipped with the most up-to-date storylines, roster moves, stats, milestones and trends, enjoy the 100th Grey Cup Game Notes.

2012 – 2 vs. 2 Matchup:  This year’s game features two second place clubs for the first time since 2007. Other #2 vs. #2 games have been in: 1999, 1987, 1984, 1960, 1952 and 1946. Both first place teams have been out 13 times since 1945.

100th Grey Cup Centre

The 100th Grey Cup Championship matchup is set, as the Calgary Stampeders will duel the host Toronto Argonauts. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game.

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2012 Referee:  Glen Johnson will reach two significant milestones this weekend, working his 400th CFL contest and his 10th Grey Cup game.  He is a 23-year veteran with his other Grey Cup appearances in 1994-95, 2000, 2002-03, 2005-07, and 2009.

2012 QB Matchup: This year’s game matches up the No. 6 all-time passer Ricky Ray (44,590) against Kevin Glenn who ranks 11th with 36,708 yards.

Ricky Ray: Will become the 10th player to reach four Grey Cup starts at QB joining Russ Jackson, Doug Flutie and Orville Burke at four. Ray has two GC wins and is one short of tying nine others with the most at three wins overall. He has six Grey Cup touchdown passes and just one interception in three games and has gone 107 pass attempts since his last interception

Kevin Glenn:  The Calgary QB is projected to make his first career Grey Cup appearance and start on Sunday night. It will come with his fourth club – only Danny McManus in 1998 for Hamilton (fourth club), and Reggie Slack for Saskatchewan in 1997 (fifth club) reached their first Grey Cup start this deep into in their career.

Argonauts Grey Cup History:  Toronto enters the Grey Cup for the first time since 2004, an absence of seven years. Their longest drought was from 1953 to 1970, 18 years. They have four Grey Cup wins since 1996. This will be their 14th appearance since 1945 and 22nd overall since their first in 1911.

Back-to-back 100-yard games: Calgary’s path to the Grey Cup was led on offence by RB Jon Cornish and WR Maurice Price. They each posted 100-yard games in both the Western Semi-Final and Final wins. The last RB to post two 100-yard games and reach the Grey Cup was Charles Roberts for Winnipeg in 2007, and before that Mike Pringle for Baltimore in 1995.

Running back matchup: The Grey Cup features the No.1 and No. 5 ranked running backs from 2012 in Jon Cornish (81 yards-per-game) and Chad Kackert (71 yards-per-game).

Toronto Argonauts:

Rookie success: Scott Milanovich is just the fifth first-year head coach to take his team to the Grey Cup in the last 20 years (and 7th in the last 30). John Hufnagel did it in 2008 along with Marc Trestman, Kent Austin in 2007 and Danny Macioca in 2005.
Essential playoff factors:  The Argos have increased their second down conversion percentage to 49 per cent from a regular season mark of 44 per cent. They have averaged 31:39 of possession vs. 29:51 in the regular season and cut sacks per game from 2.0 down to 1.5.
Taking advantage: Of the Argos’ 69 playoff points, 24 have come off of opponent turnovers. Their Red Zone success continues to be up and down as they cashed only one of four chances against Montreal but had TDs on all three against Edmonton.
Critical YAC: In the playoffs Toronto has led all clubs in gaining yards after the catch. Of their 638 passing yards over two games, 342 came after the catch (54 per cent).
Ray Day: Last week Ricky Ray threw for a playoff career-high 399 yards and went 17-of-23 for 199 on first downs plays alone.
Chad Owens: The CFL’s Most Outstanding Player piled up 346 combined yards last week. That is the highest-ever recorded all-purpose total in a playoff game in league history.

530 yards vs. Montreal: The Argos ran up 530 yards of offence vs. Montreal in the Easten Final. That’s the most by any club in a Final since 2010 (Montreal 557) and the most ever by Toronto. 

Calgary Stampeders:

Getting hot: Calgary has a record of 13-2 over their last 15 games after starting the year at 3-4. They have won their last three games away from home including the 34-29 win at BC Place in the 2012 Western Final.

Essential playoff factors: The Stamps have increased their second  down conversion percentage in the playoffs to 57 from a regular season mark of 49. In addition, Calgary was called for just two penalties at BC and seven in total in two playoff games. The last time a team played a playoff game with fewer than two calls was Montreal who went penalty-free in the 2008 East Final.
Key completions: Kevin Glenn completed only 15 passes last week but they were good for 303 yards while eight were on second down for TD. Over two games, Calgary has 37 completions for 666 yards, an average of 18.0 yards each.
Maurice Price: Price played his first CFL game in Week 11 and now has four straight 100-yard games in just eight appearances. He has combined with Marquay McDaniel over two playoff games for nine clutch catches on 2nd down plays since Nik lewis has been limited to just one by tight coverage.  
Nik Lewis: The CFL’s receptions leader (100 catches) was held to just one last week at BC. The last time he had just one catch in a game was Sept.1, 2008 vs. Edmonton, a span of 89 regular season/playoff/Grey Cup games. He has two catches in the last six quarters.
Romby Bryant: Of his six playoff receptions, two have been for second half TDs of 68 and 57 yards and each gave Calgary the lead for good in the Western Semi-Final and Final.