Bo Levi Mitchell leads Calgary Stampeders past Toronto Argonauts in Grey Cup rematch

TORONTO — Bo Levi Mitchell and the Calgary Stampeders put together a huge performance against the Toronto Argonauts in their Grey Cup rematch on Saturday night, as the quarterback threw for an impressive 324 yards and three touchdowns to spoil the Argos’ home opener with a 41-7 victory.

Receiver Eric Rogers led the way for Calgary with five catches for 131 yards and two scores, while running back Don Jackson added balance to the offence with 123 rushing yards on just nine carries.

Toronto was without Ricky Ray for much of the second half after the quarterback left with an injury in the third quarter, and Calgary’s defence found a way to contain the Double Blue offence all game long.

The Stampeders got the ball first on offence and came out looking strong, going 46 yards in nine plays to open the scoring. Running back Don Jackson sliced through the Argos’ defence for a nine-yard gain before Mitchell found receiver Juwan Brescacin for nine yards to set up a 42-yard field goal from Rene Paredes.

The Stamps’ defence quickly got the ball back, and Mitchell continued right where hr left off, engineering an impressive 70-yard drive in just two plays. Receiver Reggie Begelton made what was perhaps the nicest catch of the evening, stretching out to make a diving 31-yard catch, and Mitchell finished off the drive by finding receiver DaVaris Daniels in one-on-one coverage for a 39-yard touchdown. Paredes added the extra point to give Calgary a 10-0 lead.

Calgary’s defence stifled every attempt the Argos made to get rolling on offence early on, preventing Ray from finding any space or time to make a throw. Toronto’s defence was also dealt a blow when defensive Matt Black left the game in the first quarter with an injury.

The Stamps’ momentum was briefly stopped near the end of the first quarter when Argos defensive lineman Frank Beltre stripped the ball from Mitchell as the quarterback attempted to evade pressure and gain yardage on the ground. Defensive back Ronnie Yell quickly scooped up the ball and took off into the open field for a 77-yard return before being dragged down by receiver Kamar Jorden.

But the Stamps’ defence stepped up and prevented Toronto from capitalizing, and the Argos’ field goal attempt was stymied after a mishandled snap.

Calgary kept things going on offence upon getting the ball back, and Mitchell continued to connect with his receivers every time he dropped back to pass. The veteran passer once again had no problem picking up big chunks of yardage through the air, finding receiver Eric Rogers for a 38-yard gain and an 18-yard touchdown strike to help Calgary grab a 17-0 lead.

The Argos appeared to be getting things rolling after getting the ball back when running James Wilder Jr. fought his way for a tough 14-yard gain, but the Stamps’ defensive front stood strong to stall the Toronto drive. After knocking on the doorstep for the second time in the half, the Argos’ offence couldn’t find an answer, and a 28-yard field goal attempt from Ronnie Pfeffer went wide to the left and out of bounds to give the Double Blue a single.

Calgary extended their lead again near the end of the half when Mitchell led a 65-yard drive that put Paredes in position for an 18-yard field goal, giving Calgary a 20-1 at the half.

The start of the second half saw Calgary’s passing attack continue to roll, and Mitchell quickly put together another long scoring drive, leading the Stamps’ offence 61 yards down the field in just four plays. Rogers came up big once again on the drive, reeling in a 59-yard pass down the left side of the field. The 27-year-old receiver extended up as far as he could to catch the ball at its highest point, and he found the end zone two plays later for a 10-yard touchdown grab.

The Stamps’ offence continued to make things happen after getting the ball back on their next drive, and Jackson broke free for his longest run of the night, a 70-yard sprint into the open field that put Calgary back in scoring position. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle finished off the drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak for the score, helping Calgary grab a 34-1 lead.

Toronto was dealt a major injury blow near the end of the third quarterback when Ray was forced from the game with an injury. The veteran passer took a hit took a hit from defensive lineman Cordarro Law while being sacked by defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis, and he had to be carted off the field on a stretcher. James Franklin took over under centre for the remainder of the game.

Calgary’s special teams briefly stole the show when Terry Williams took a punt and returned it an incredible 102 yards for the touchdown. Paredes added the extra point to extend Calgary’s lead to 40 points entering the fourth quarter.

Franklin led the Argos to their first touchdown drive in the fourth quarter,  capping off a 66-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run that injected life into the home crowd, but it was too little too late as the Stamps secured their 41-7 victory.

Week 3 will see the Stamps host the REDBLACKS on Thursday, while the Argos will be off until they host the Eskimos in Week 4.

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