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Toronto living the dream

City, team make 100th Grey Cup one to remember

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TORONTO -- Kevin Glenn was a question mark leading into this game and he remains one leaving it.

It was the infamous 'Bad Glenn' who surfaced for the Calgary Stampeders Sunday in the 100th Grey Cup, and an indifferent performance serves only to reaffirm his reputation as one of the CFL's most puzzlingly inconsistent quarterbacks.

What is known is this: The Toronto Argonauts in large part owe a historic 35-22 victory to twangy southerner Chris Jones, their hillbilly-genius defensive co-ordinator, and his chief hit man, defensive end Ricky Foley.

Jones dialled in a game plan and unleashed his Foley-led hounds to bring a euphoric end to a week of partying and rejuvenated CFL interest in Toronto, where the league is routinely ignored.

"This is a moment I've worked my whole life for and now that it's happened I don't know what to do. It's so much bigger than me," said Foley, who was named the game's Most Outstanding Canadian for his four tackles and one sack. "This is why I signed here three years ago. My family and friends stuck with me. My best friend flew in from Winnipeg on his own dime and my girl from Vancouver. For a Toronto boy, a Canadian kid, we dream about the Grey Cup. Americans dream about the Super Bowl. We lived out our dreams today right here in the GTA."

The Argos 'D' confused Glenn and the Stamps' receivers all night while taking the running game away from Jon Cornish, the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian.

Argos running back Chad Kackert was the best player in the game, collecting 133 yards on 28 carries and smashing his way through the Stampeders defence.

"I consider myself a bit of a wordsmith but I'm speechless," said the running back referred to by teammates as the "little ball of hate."

Kackert was named game MVP for his relentless rushing.

Toronto had two objectives on defence -- stop CFL rushing leader Jon Cornish and keep Glenn off balance. They accomplished both, allowing their offence to overcome a slow start and achieve victory with fairly ordinary numbers.

Ray finished 18-of-30 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His lone mistake came on his first pass of the day, as he threw an interception into the hands of Calgary's Quincy Butler.

But in a theme that would be repeated all game, the Stamps failed to capitalize.

While Glenn couldn't jump on Toronto miscues, Ray and the Argos put up 14 points in the first half off Calgary turnovers alone to build a stake they would never relinquish.

"We weren't able to take advantage of their turnovers. Early in the game after the interception we got nothing and they were able to score two touchdowns on our turnovers," said Stamps coach John Hufnagel. "After that we had to settle for field goals and when you do that it's tough. Especially when you're behind. That's probably the underlying theme of the game for us -- we had to put the ball in the end zone and didn't when we had the opportunity."

Glenn has worn the stamp of inconsistency throughout his career and Sunday's indifferent performance will do nothing to remove it. His final line read 14-of-27 for 227 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

That touchdown goose-egg is impossible to overlook.

There was talk of the Stampeders quarterback joining the elite of CFL pivots with a win in this game but Glenn will remain B-level after failing to get anything accomplished in this loss.

In a title game, a quarterback has to generate points and he simply didn't cash in.

"They just played better. However you guys want to write it up. They just played better," said Glenn. "It's very frustrating when you can't get into a rhythm and then when you do get drives you are only kicking field goals. You have to put touchdowns on the board and we didn't."

Ray was mostly mistake-free. Glenn was mostly off target. Ray will head to the Hall of Fame with three Grey Cup rings on his fingers. Glenn will be forced to look down at empty hands and still wonder what could have been. There was no broken arm to blame this time. Only his own poor play.

But Glenn won't stand alone with questions about his performance. Hufnagel made uncharacteristic mistakes. Cornish was held to just 57 yards and the entire Stamps offence waited until there was just 20 seconds left in the game before scoring its first touchdown.

Calgary's offence sputtered again and again. Failing on third-and-one in the first half at midfield to end a promising drive and then stalling from first-and-goal late in the same half to settle for just three points.

Whenever the Stamps needed a play, they didn't get it.

It would be unfair to say the Argos didn't win this game so much as the Stamps lost it, but Calgary certainly helped the home side wrap up this week-long Toronto festival with a win.

The city of Toronto, often too cool for the CFL, got in on the act this week and threw a party befitting the Grey Cup.

It was big and grand and loud and proud. And when Toronto's team hit the field with the opportunity to make this a week our country's biggest city would remember, it delivered.

A Calgary Stampeders fan attempted to put his hands on the Grey Cup as it was being carried toward the field Sunday night only to have a Mountie swat him back. On the field and off, the Stamps didn't have a chance.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2012 C1

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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