Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Argos looking to strike early

Coach hopes to avoid nail-biting starts, take lead quickly

  • Print

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Scott Milanovich's gameplan for Sunday's Grey Cup remains a work in progress, but it won't involve the Toronto Argonauts following the same dangerous path that they took to get to the CFL title game.

The Argos have had to rally from early 10-0 deficits twice in the playoffs in order to take their place as the home team against the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup game at Rogers Centre. As a result of its resiliency, Toronto finds itself in its first CFL title game since winning the league championship in 2004.

"We would love to get started fast," Milanovich said Monday. "Nobody enjoys falling behind, but fortunately if we do fall behind we'll be OK."

Edmonton surged to a 10-0 advantage over Toronto in the East Division semifinal Nov. 11, , outrushing the home team 99-0 through the first quarter. But the Argos countered with two turnovers that set up 14 points in a playoff-record 31-point second to take control of the contest en route to a 42-26 victory.


On Sunday at Olympic Stadium, Toronto fell behind early 10-0 in the first quarter and had three first-half turnovers -- a fumble and twice on downs in short yardage situations, including once at the Montreal goal line. Again, the Argos' defence delivered, forcing three turnovers (two interceptions, fumble recovery) while the offence scored two TDs in the third to erase a 17-10 half-time deficit to advance to the Grey Cup with a 27-20 victory before more than 50,000 spectators.

Milanovich said being able to twice rally for the win in the playoff attests to the Argos' resiliency.

"It speaks to their belief and faith in their teammates," he said. "It's one of the last things we said when we left the locker-room, when things get tough today you just have to find strength in your teammates and they'll pull you through it.

"Pretty much that's what happened."

In both playoff contests, the Argos' mirrored the calm demeanour of their starting quarterback Ricky Ray. The 10-year veteran, twice a Grey Cup champion over his first nine seasons with Edmonton, finished 28-of-37 passing for 399 yards and a TD to lead Toronto to the win over Montreal.

The previous week, Ray led Toronto to its first win in three games this season with Edmonton, the team that dealt Ray to the Argos in the blockbuster trade in December 2011 that saw quarterback Steven Jyles, Canadian kicker Grant Shaw and a 2012 first-round draft pick go to the Eskimos.

"Ricky just does not get rattled," Milanovich said. "He keeps getting up and shaking himself off and planting his feet and delivering the football. He certainly gives me a lot of confidence. I'm sure he gives his teammates confidence too."

But offensively, Ray had plenty of help in Montreal.

Receiver Chad Owens had 11 catches for a team playoff-record 207 yards while running back Chad Kackert added 139 yards rushing and a TD on 13 carries. Owens finished the regular season as the league's receiving leader (94 catches for 1,328 yards, six TDs) while also amassing a CFL-record 3,863 all-purpose yards. He has been named a finalist for the league's outstanding player award with Calgary running back Jon Cornish.

Having the Argos in the Grey Cup is certainly a boost to the Toronto organizing committee, but would also appear to put the weight of big expectations squarely on the team's shoulders. But Milanovich said the players and coaches are well aware of what's at stake and that their job isn't finished.

Milanovich might be preparing for his first Grey Cup as a CFL head coach, but he was a part of two winning teams while an assistant with the Alouettes.

"The guys can feel the magnitude of their participation in this game and how important it is to the city and our organization," he said. "How much of that they'll take as pressure, I don't know but I didn't feel like the weight of having the Grey Cup in Toronto was a factor for our guys during the season . . . but our guys have been professional and pretty under control most of the season and all they have to do is do it for one more week."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2012 D4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google