Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Calgary holds on in fourth quarter thriller

The Calgary Stampeders were able to hold off a second-half surge from the Toronto Argonauts to pull out a 25-20 victory on Monday night at McMahon Stadium.
Despite being able to generate only a field goal in the second half, the Stamps' ability to jump out to an early lead help them secure the win.
Bo Levi Mitchell was able to silence some of his critics in the win by putting up his most impressive numbers of the season.  Mitchell was 25-for-34 and 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the victory.
Calgary's Eric Rogers led all recievers with six catches for 114 yards and one touchdown while Vidal Hazelton had an impressive game for the Argos with six catches and 98 yards.Trevor Harris was 20-for-34 and 223 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. 
Calgary relied on Jon Cornish heavily in the fourth quarter to run down the clock.  The running back finished with 14 carries and 56 yards and one touchdown.  
The first quarter saw a lot of back and forth action between the two teams with neither the Stamps or Argos being able to retain possession of the ball for more than a few plays early on. 
Calgary had its ninth turnover of the season midway through the first quarter when defensive tackle Delano Johnson knocked the ball out of Cornish’s hand to force a fumble.
But Toronto was not able to hang onto the ball for long.  On the ensuing drive, a pass went off the hands of Chad Owens and into the hands of Jamar Wall to give Calgary possession once again. 
Unable to capitalize on the opportunity, Calgary was forced to punt the ball away three plays later.
On their fourth drive of the game, the Argos were able gain momentum and advance the ball down the field. Trevor Harris hit Hazelton in stride for 34 yards and a first and goal.  This would lead to Harris finding Kevin Elliot in the end zone and an Argos 7-0 lead in the dying seconds of the first quarter.
But Calgary was able to respond when Mitchell connected with Eric Rogers for a 43-yard gain, and then again in the end zone with 8:07 left in the second quarter.  Calgary missed the convert to trail by one. 
The game of hot potato in the first half continued as the Argos were unable to hold onto the ball for long.  Toronto fumbled on the ensuing possession and Joshua Bell was able to recover for the Stamps.  This eventually led to a Jon Cornish four-yard rushing touchdown.  A successful two-point conversion gave the Stamps a 14-7 lead.
The Stamps were one-for-four in the redzone in their first two games but were three-for-three in the first half.
Mitchell took advantage of having a healthy Jeff Fuller in the lineup after he missed last week’s game with an injury and connected with him for his second touchdown pass of the game with 2:39 left in the second quarter.   
But the Argos were able to gain back some momentum when Harris connected with Gurley on the next drive to cut the lead to 21-14.  A Stamps single would end the quarter at 22-14.
The Stamps appeared to use all of their offence in the first half, as they had trouble progressing up the field in the third and fourth quarter.
Toronto rookie kicker Ronnie Pfeffer made a 48-yard field goal to narrow the lead to 22-17 with 5:44 left in the third.  
On the ensuing drive, Calgary would give up its second turnover of the game after a pass intended to Rogers was intercepted to put the ball back in the Argos' hands.

The Argos were the only undefeated team heading into Monday nights game. They entered Calgary hoping to continue their perfect perfect.
The Argos continued to move the ball steadily down the field in the fourth quarter, setting up Pfeffer for a 45-yard field goal and cutting the Stampeders' lead to two.
Clinging onto a late fourth quarter lead, the Stampders were finally able to generate some offence. Calgary relied on its running game to steadily advance down the field and run down the clock.  Multiple rushes by Cornish set up a 30-yard field goal for Rene Paredes to put the Stamps up 25-20.
Toronto received the ball back with 1:27 left on the clock and needing a touchdown to win the game, but was unable to pull out a win.
The Toronto Argonauts were 2-0 entering the game. With the Calgary victory, there will be no undefeated teams heading into Week 4. 
The Argonauts are on a bye next week while Calgary will remain at home to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

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