In the East final, the Toronto Argonauts led the Hamilton Tiger Cats 24-10 as the first half wound down. But QB Henry Burris engineered a 75-yard drive that culminated in a four yard TD pass to Andy Fantuz with 24 seconds left that sent the Tabbies into the locker room down only seven points.
Then in the second half, the Hamilton defence put huge pressure on Toronto QB Ricky Ray and held the Argos scoreless while Burris and the Ti Cat offence put another TD and two field goals on the board to assume a 30-24 lead. With the game hanging in the balance, the Ti Cats forced the Argos to turn the ball over on downs on the Hamilton 41 yard line with less than a minute to play. The Tabbies then tacked on a last play TD when they recovered a bobbled punt in the end zone, making the final score 36-24. Here’s the TSN report.
In the West final (game photo above), the Saskatchewan Roughriders rode the legs of Kory Sheets [177 yards rushing on 28 carries] and passing arm of Darian Durant [24 of 30 for 280 yards and three TDs and no interceptions] to a 35-13 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.
The Riders led 22-6 at half-time, and after the Stamps closed the gap to 22-13 in the third quarter, the Riders scored 13 fourth quarter points to put the game away. Overall, it was a pretty dominant performance for the Riders. The defence held star Calgary RB Jon Cornish to 67 yards rushing on nine carries, and forced seven turnovers. Not even a switch at QB at half-time from Kevin Glenn to Drew Tate was enough to spark the Stamp offence, and Rider supporters were left alone at the stadium at the end of the game to celebrate the convincing victory. Here’s TSN’s report.
The two upsets set up a rematch of the legendary 1989 Grey Cup where the Riders prevailed on a last second field goal by Dave Ridgway to beat the Ti Cats 43-40. Kent Austin was the QB of record for the Riders in that game. Now, of course, he’s the Hamilton head coach. The team also features high profile players like Burris, Fantuz and kicker Luca Congi who once played for the Green & White.
The teams have met twice so far in 2013. In week four, the Riders romped over the Ti Cats 37-0 at Mosaic Stadium, then notched a 32-20 victory the following week in Guelph with Drew Willy subbing in for injured starter Darian Durant. The Riders were flying high then, while the Tabbies were still very much a work in progress. After notching semi-final and division final victories both teams have plenty of momentum, and there’ll be no shortage of dramatic story lines for media to pursue in the lead-up to the 101st Grey Cup which goes Nov. 24 at Mosaic Stadium.