TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts have a chance to become just the fifth team in the last 60 years to hoist the Grey Cup in their home stadium.
The Argos are coming off a thrilling win over the Montreal Alouettes in the East Final and on Sunday, Toronto will take on a Calgary Stampeders team they beat both times they played in 2012.
In their history, the Argos and Stamps have met twice in the Grey Cup — the Stamps won a close one in 1971, while the Argos won a memorable showdown in 1991.
If the Argonauts are going to win the 100th Grey Cup in front of their home fans, here are the keys to victory for Scott Milanovich’s squad.
Keep Kevin Glenn uncomfortable in the pocket
Jon Cornish, the CFL’s 2012 Most Outstanding Canadian, ran wild over nearly every team in the Canadian Football League this season, however the Argos weren’t one of them. In their first meeting of the season Cornish was held to just 39 yards on the ground and five weeks later the team held him to just 43 yards.
Although shutting down Cornish will be a tougher challenge this time around, the most important thing for the Boatmen will be their ability to get pressure on Glenn. The Argos cover the field laterally very well and the likes of Brandon Isaac and Ejiro Kuale have been able to blitz effectively in recent weeks to keep the quarterback and offensive line off balance. This leads to the opposing team making mistakes and it resulted in two Marcus Ball interceptions in the East Final.
Spread the ball around, mix it up on offence
Ricky Ray has consistently been one of the best quarterbacks in the CFL over the last decade and he has played some of his best football in recent weeks. His efficiency is off the charts with an 11 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio in his last four starts.
The Argos offensive scheme is one that relies on spreading the ball around. Whether it’s the CFL’s 2012 Most Outstanding Player Chad Owens or playmakers Dontrelle Inman, Maurice Mann, Andre Durie, Jason Barnes or someone else, Ray has plenty of options and he’ll need to use them.
The Argos have a pass first offence but if they wish to have success against the Stamps they can’t be predictable and need to involve Chad Kackert also. The stocky running back ran for 139 yards and a touchdown in the East Final and the last time he played at the Rogers Centre he had 139 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
Don’t miss long field goals
Since taking over field goal kicking duties from an injured Noel Prefontaine early in the season, Swayze Waters has done an adequate job for the Argos. Although his FG percentage is only 74.4 per cent, he has been consistent of late and will need to be on Sunday. Punter Prefontaine told Sportsnet.ca earlier this week he will do his best to keep the ball out of the hands of Stamps’ return man Larry Taylor and Swayze Waters needs to do the same thing by making field goals, especially long ones. Back in Week 2, special teams was a focal point in the Argos 39-36 win over the Stamps. In that game Taylor ran back a missed field goal 125 yards for a touchdown. A big play like that could end up being the difference between a win and a loss in the Grey Cup.