Toronto Argonauts put on a show for a record crowd at BMO Field

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 05: Ricky Ray /

With a record setting crowd at BMO Field the Toronto Argonauts booked a ticket to the Grey Cup with a comeback in the final minute.

Going into this game, both teams had much more on the line than a trip to the Grey Cup and in the end it was the Toronto Argonauts who sent their fans home cheering.

Ever since it was announced that the Argos would be playing in the East Final it was an all out blitz to fill the seats with fans for the big game.

As Donnovan Bennett wrote for Sportnset, this game had a lot of meaning for the Argos that extend beyond making the Grey Cup, it was a chance to showcase the atmosphere and draw in interest in the future.

What better way to do that than with a thrilling comeback led by future hall-of-famer Ricky Ray. After the game he told the media about his mindset heading into that comeback drive.

“There have been times where I’ve been guilty, where you think you have to make this special play,” Ray said. “But we had plenty of time. We weren’t in a rush.”

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Tell that to the 24,929 that were holding their breath after the Saskatchewan Roughriders took the lead late in the fourth quarter off a punt-return touchdown. As Bennett wrote in his piece, the fans started to cheer on their team without the need for the game ops to get them going.

Then Ray does what he has been doing the past 15 years, will his team to victory with a big completion to James Wilder Jr. on third-and-fie to put the Argos in striking distance to tie or win the game.

This play was perfectly analyzed by Toronto star columnist Bruce Arthur who wrote about it in his post-game column. 

"Trestman changed the play to one the Argos had emphasized all week — if Saskatchewan was in man-to-man, they would try to get Wilder on a linebacker in space. They did. Ray threw it easy, Wilder slid inside and caught it, 22 yards. Wilder’s high school quarterback, Phillip Ely, was in the crowd, and he said in high school Wilder had no hands. Well, he did now. In the stadium, it sounded like a football game.“We drew it up this week, just like that,” Wilder said. “They’ll be in man, and it worked out just like we prepared.”"

While the Argos struggled offensively in the second half and had some tough turnovers in the first half, fans left the game satisfied with the end result. Hopefully that leads to a more vested interest beyond this season with that announced crowd being the largest for an Argos game at BMO Field.

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It will help if the Argos can beat the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup, though they will be the underdogs in that game, this team has improved a lot since they last played the West Division champions. What they do know is that they will have a lot more fans tuning into the game cheering on the Double Blue.