TORONTO — McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw two touchdown passes as the Toronto Argonauts punched their ticket to the Grey Cup with a 34-27 home win over the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division final Sunday.
Toronto will make its first Grey Cup appearance since winning the title in 2017. The Argonauts set the tone early against the Alouettes, registering a 14-3 advantage on a windy day at BMO Field.
David Cote’s 35-yard field goal at 10:53 of the fourth quarter reduced Montreal’s deficit to 34-27. But the Argos proceeded to run out the clock, aided by a crucial Mike Moore facemask penalty after Andrew Harris was stopped short on a second-down play.
Harris, A.J. Ouellette, DaVaris Daniels and Kurleigh Gittens Jr., scored Toronto’s touchdowns. Boris Bede had four converts and two field goals.
Harris was playing in his first game since suffering a torn pectoral muscle in August that required surgery.
William Stanback and Tyson Philpot had Montreal’s touchdowns, with Philpot adding a two-point convert. Cote booted a convert and four field goals.
Montreal had the wind in the third and pulled to within 24-21 on Stanback’s 52-yard TD run at 1:06 before Harris found Philpot on the two-point convert. Toronto countered with Bede’s 25-yard field goal at 4:41 for a 27-21 lead.
Cote connected from 32 yards out at 10:09 to cut Toronto’s advantage to 27-24. But Bethel-Thompson found Gittens Jr. on a 31-yard touchdown pass to end the quarter and give the Argos a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter with the wind.
Cote’s 30-yard field goal at 14:45 of the second cut Toronto’s halftime lead to 24-13. The Alouettes drove to the Argos 10-yard line before surrendering consecutive sacks to settle for Cote’s boot with the wind.
Bede’s 13-yard field goal at 12:15 staked Toronto to a 24-10 lead as the Argos were almost as efficient with the wind (10 points) as they were against it (14) to start the contest.
Harris found Philpot on a 36-yard touchdown pass at 8:26 to pull Montreal to within 21-10.
Backup Chad Kelly came up with the biggest play of the first half. Lining up on second and short, Kelly found a wide-open Daniels for a 46-yard TD pass at 5:40 of the second to put Toronto ahead 21-3.
Toronto outscored Montreal 14-3 against the wind in the opening quarter.
Bethel-Thompson’s seven-yard TD pass to Ouellette at 13:01 of the first put Toronto ahead 14-3. It was set up by Royce Metchie’s recovery of Kalon Julien-Grant’s fumble, then his lateral to DaShaun Amos, who was tackled at the Montreal 51-yard line.
The touchdown came after Cote’s 25-yard field goal at 8:27 cut the Argos’ lead to 7-3. Harris opened the scoring with a six-yard TD run at 5:27 to cap Toronto’s opening six-play, 79-yard drive.