Recalling the Stamps and Argos' previous Grey Cup encounters

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TSN.ca Staff
11/19/2012 2:33:08 PM
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When the Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts take the field for the 100th Grey Cup it will be the third time the two clubs have faced off for Canadian Football's ultimate prize.

The Stampeders and Argonauts have each come out on top once in their head to head Grey Cup history with Calgary triumphing in 1971 and Toronto winning it all 20 years later.

With the countdown to the 100th Grey Cup in full swing, let's take a look back at the 59th and 79th editions of the big game.

1971 - Third time the charm for Stamps as McQuay slips, Argos fall

It was a cold, rainy November day at Vancouver's Empire field when the 1971 Stampeders and Argonauts stepped onto the soggy pitch, each looking to end a lengthy Grey Cup drought.

The Stampeders were returning to the big game for the third time in four years and, after falling short in both 1970 and 1968, were determined to end a Grey Cup drought dating back to 1948.

The Argonauts meanwhile hadn't even reached the Grey Cup since winning it in 1952.

Each team had finished first in their respective division but it was the Argos, led by rookie star quarterback Joe Theissman, who came in as heavy favourites.

From the word go, the game was a defensive struggle with both teams struggling to gain ground offensively.

The Stampeders were the first to break through as Herm Harrison made a fantastic catch for a 14-yard touchdown from Jerry Keeling.

Not to be outdone, the Argos countered with a 55-yard reception by Mel Profit to set themselves up deep in Calgary territory. The Stampeders defence held firm though and the Argonauts were forced to settle for an Ivan McMillan field goal.

The Stampeders pushed their lead to 14-3 at halftime thanks to a six-yard touchdown run by Jerry Mims. It was the last points they would score in the game.

The Toronto offence continued to struggle in the third quarter, but the Argos got the breakthrough they were looking on special teams. Toronto's Joe Vijuk recovered a punt return fumble by Calgary's Jim Silye and then lateraled the ball to Roger Scales who took it back 33 yards for a touchdown.

McMillan added a single-point for the Argonauts on a missed field goal later in the quarter to cut the Stampeders lead to just three points heading into the fourth quarter.

The Argonauts looked poised to take the lead, or at the very least tie the game, when Dick Thornton intercepted a Keeling pass and returned it 54 yards to the Stampeders 11-yard line.

Looking for the go-ahead score, Theissman handed the ball off to the Argonauts star running back Leon McQuay. But as he tried to cut towards the end zone, McQuay slipped on the soggy field and fumbled the ball along with the Argos' best chance at winning the Grey Cup away.

Argonauts head coach Leo Cahill would later say of the play, "when Leon slipped, I fell."

The Stampeders went two and out following the fumble recovery, giving the Argonauts one last chance with 1:53 to play.

It was not to be though as Toronto's Harry Abofs accidentally kicked the ball out of bounds on the ensuing punt, returning possession to Calgary. The Stampeders would run out the clock from there, holding on for the 14-11 win and their first Grey Cup triumph in 23 years.

For a further look at the 1971 Toronto Argonauts tune into the Engraved on a Nation documentary: The Greatest Team That Never Won Thursday at 8pm et/5pm pt on TSN.

1991 - Rocket Ismail delivers Hollywood ending for Argos

On November 24, 1991, for the first time in CFL history, the Grey Cup was held in Winnipeg. And it was cold. At kickoff, the temperature in Winnipeg was minus-16 Celsius.

Despite the game taking place on the frozen Canadian prairie, the action had a definite Hollywood vibe thanks to the Argonauts' ownership group made up of John Candy, Wayne Gretzky and then LA Kings owner Bruce McNall.

The Argos got the show started when defensive back Ed Berry picked off Calgary quarterback Danny Barrett's first pass attempt and returning it 50 yards for a touchdown.

Barrett made up for the interception later in the first quarter though by running in a touchdown from the one-yard line.

The two sides traded field goals in the second quarter as the Argos took an 11-10 lead into the half.

After a rouge each to start the second half, the Stampeders took the lead in the third quarter on a Mark McLoughlin field goal.

It would prove to be the Stampeders only lead of the game.

With three minutes to play in the third quarter, Argonauts quarterback Matt Dunigan threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Darrell K. Smith to jumpstart the offence.

Dunigan started for the Argos despite suffering a separated shoulder in the Eastern Final and arriving in Winnipeg for Grey Cup week with his arm in a sling.

After a Lance Chomyc field goal pushed the Argos lead to eight points in the fourth quarter, the Stampeders pulled the score back to 22-21 on a 12-yard touchdown reception by Allen Pitts.

The Calgary momentum was short-lived though. Toronto's much publicized, multi-million dollar off-season acquisition Raghib "Rocket" Ismail returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and the Argonauts never looked back.

Ismail's 87-yard touchdown remains the longest kickoff return in Grey Cup history.

The Argos recovered a Stampeders fumble on the following kickoff and Dunigan quickly put the final nail in Calgary's coffin as he hit Paul Masotti for a 36-yard touchdown.

It was a Hollywood ending to a much-hyped Argonauts' season.

Additional Notes on the 100th Grey Cup

- This will be the fourth Grey Cup played at the Rogers Centre with the West team having won the previous three

- This will be the 14th Grey Cup played indoors. Western teams have won the last five indoor Grey Cups and are 9-4 overall.

- The last time both road teams won the divisional finals was in 2007

- Toronto was 2-0 against Calgary this season and has won the last five meetings overall dating back to 2010

- The Argonauts last Grey Cup appearance was in 2004 when they beat the B.C. Lions 27-19

- The Stampeders' last Grey Cup appearance was in 2008 when they beat the Montreal Alouettes 22-14

- Toronto is 1-1 in Grey Cups played under a dome while Calgary is 3-1

Raghib Ismail (Photo: CFL)

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(Photo: CFL)
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