WATCH ABOVE: Brendan Parker reports from BC Place with post game reaction from the Calgary Stampeders, after their 20-16 win over Hamilton in the 102nd Grey Cup.
VANCOUVER – Backup quarterback had Drew Tate may have scored two touchdowns with his feet, but it was starter Bo Levi Mitchell who rallied the Calgary Stampeders a 20-16 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the 2014 Grey Cup.
Mitchell connected on 25 of 34 pass attempts, including a record of 10 straight passes to tie for the third longest completion streak in Grey Cup history.
“This is something I worked my entire life for,” said Mitchell. “To come to the Grey Cup and have a game like this and have the guys do what we did tonight after so much work, it’s such an indescribable feeling.”
Ticats wide receiver Brandon Banks had Hamilton’s lone touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, Banks ran the ball into the end zone for what appeared to be an 90-yard touchdown only to have it negated by a penalty to Hamilton’s Taylor Reed.
Calgary was up 17-7 at halftime thanks to Tate’s two one-yard runs that capped off extensive drives.
Tate opened the scoring at 5:12 of the first quarter, ending a 55-yard drive that saw Mitchell complete all four of his pass attempts. Tate’s second score at 14:26 of the second quarter came after a 10-play, 66-yard drive.
A 36-yard reception by Banks put the Ticats in scoring position in the second quarter, but Justin Medlock’s field goal was blocked by Demonte Bolden.
A 11-yard field goal from Rene Paredes at 2:19 of the second quarter gave the Stamps a comfortable 17-0 lead.
Less than a minute later Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros connected with Banks on a 45-yard touchdown pass to narrow the lead to 10 at the half.
The Stampeders extended their lead to 13 when Rene Paredes kicked a 20-yard field goal with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
Paredes had to handle punting duties in the second half after starter Rob Maver suffered an abdominal injury on a punt return. Maver was hit from the blindside by Justin Hickman, a six-foot-two, 265-pound defensive lineman, and remained on the field for some time before eventually walking off on his own.
The West Division champions needed two late defensive stands and some luck to secure the win.
A Delvin Breaux interception of Mitchell put Hamilton at the Calgary 50-yard line. Quarterback Zach Collaros marched the offence to the three-yard line before the Stampeders’ defence stiffened, resulting in Justin Medlock’s 17-yard field goal at 9:25 of the fourth quarter to pull to within 20-13.
Hamilton regained possession at its 41-yard line with under four minutes remaining and marched to the Calgary 23. Cory Mace’s sack stalled the drive and set up Medlock’s 37-yard field goal to cut the Stampeders’ lead to 20-16 with just over two minutes remaining.
“I knew our defence would come through,” said running back Jon Cornish, who finished the game with 25 yards rushing. “When it comes down to the last minutes of games, our team has always come through in the clutch. That’s why we won today.”
Banks’ negated kick return snuffed out any hopes of a late comeback, giving the Stampeders their first Grey Cup win since 2008.
The City of Calgary will be hosting a free rally on Tuesday to celebrate the team’s victory.