On a night to celebrate the magic of the 1983 Grey Cup champions, the current Toronto Argonauts backups weren’t able to channel their inner Joe Barnes in the face of adversity.
After Ricky Ray was forced to leave with an early shoulder injury, the offence just couldn’t find a rhythm behind Zach Collaros, falling 35-14 to the Calgary Stampeders in front of an announced crowd of 21,157.
Despite the lackluster play from the team, the big concern of the evening in Toronto is the status of their star quarterback. Ray started the game by completing 5 of 6 passes, including an opening drive touchdown to Jason Barnes. He then took a heavy hit from Calgary lineman Charleston Hughes near his own end zone, and appeared to land on his arm; after staying down on the turf for a few moments Ray left the field under his own power. Coach Scott Milanovich said Ray suffered a shoulder injury.
“He tried to throw a little bit in the tunnel. We’re just going to be safe with him and let the doctors give him a full examination,” the coach said after the game.
It was a rough night for Ray’s replacement, as Zach Collaros went just 16-for-26 with no touchdowns and one interception. Despite the short week and being pressed into action, his coach wasn’t about to make any excuses for his backup.
“It’s never easy to come off the bench with no reps, particularly in a short week,” Milanovich said. “But that’s the job you have. I talked to Kevin Glenn and he got dinged up a bit. Their guy had to do the same thing.”
The defending Grey Cup champions started well, turning an early Stampeders fumble into seven points. But after Ray’s injury, Collaros couldn’t continue what the red-hot Ray started, and the offence seemed to stall from that point on. The second-quarter interception Collaros threw to Calgary’s Jamar Wall was the first by an Argos quarterback this season. The team’s running attack also stalled, totaling just 74 yards on the ground.
The Stampeders, however, recovered from some early fumbling problems to get a bit of revenge at the site of their Grey Cup defeat last year. Despite leaving the game briefly in the second half, Kevin Glenn threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Bo Levi Mitchell also contributed off the bench, going 4-for-6 in relief while also rushing for a touchdown.
The Argonauts defence also missed the presence of Marcus Ball, who suffered a head injury in their last game against Edmonton. Coach Milanovich said they decided to play it cautious with the second-year linebacker.
Toronto heads into next week’s crucial match-up with the banged-up Alouettes holding a 5-3 record.