Cam Judge’s 71-yard interception return to score late in the fourth quarter sealed a 29-2 win for the Calgary Stampeders over the visiting Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.
Calgary running back Ka’Deem Carey totalled 92 yards on 14 carries with one last-minute touchdown. He leads the CFL in rushing yards this season with 949.
Reggie Begelton and Tommy Stevens also scored touchdowns for the Stampeders, who halted Toronto’s run of consecutive wins at four.
Stampeder quarterback Jake Maier completed 17 of 24 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown pass in front of an announced 21,299 at McMahon Stadium. He improved to 4-2 in starts since taking over for Bo Levi Mitchell.
Calgary’s Malik Henry’s 69 receiving yards gave him more than 1,000 this season.
Argonauts starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson was 19 for 38 in passing for 194 yards. Each quarterback gave up two interceptions in the game.
Both football clubs had playoff berths in their respective divisions locked in before Saturday’s game, but the outcome was still key to their playoff pictures.
The Argonauts (8-6) remain atop the East Division, but their lead shrunk to two points with the Montreal Alouettes (7-7) beating the Edmonton Elks 25-18 earlier Saturday.
With three games remaining in their regular season, the Stampeders (10-5) are trying to keep pace with the B.C. Lions (10-4) in a race for second place in the West, and the chance to host the division semifinal on Nov. 6.
B.C. took the season series 2-1, however, and would be the higher seed in the event of a tie with Calgary.
The defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers (13-2) are poised to take the West and host the division final again.
Toronto is assured of a home playoff game. The Argos want it to be the East final on Nov. 13 after a playoff bye week that is a team’s reward for finishing first in a division.
The Stampeders improved to 4-3 at home this season and 5-0 against East Division clubs. The Argos dropped to 2-4 against the West.
No scoring in the first or third quarters of a defensive battle, Calgary converted Judge and Jameer Thurman interceptions into touchdowns while Toronto didn’t generate any points from a pair of Henoc Muamba picks in the game.
Chad Kelly drew in for Bethel-Thompson after Judge’s touchdown with just over four minutes remaining. Carey scored a three-yard rushing touchdown in the final minute and Rene Paredes added a 97-yard kickoff single point.
Judge picked off Bethel-Thompson and ran the ball in for a 71-yard pick six. The linebacker had returned to Calgary’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension for punching Lions receiver Lucky Whitehead.
Stevens, Calgary’s third-string quarterback, finished an eight-play, 70-yard drive with a one-yard plunge converted by Paredes for a 14-2 lead at halftime.
Toronto settled for a single point and trailed by five points when Boris Bede kicked wide right on a 46-yard field-goal attempt midway through the second quarter.
Thurman’s interception gave Calgary the ball at Toronto’s 23-yard-line early in the quarter. Maier’s 16-yard throw to Begelton at the goal-line capped a quick, converted scoring drive for a 7-1 lead.
John Haggerty kicked a 71-yard punt single for Toronto in the first minute of the second quarter.
The Argos lost leading tackler Wynton McManis (knee) and defensive lineman Shane Ray (arm) in the first quarter. Stampeder left tackle Joshua Coker, filling in for injured Derek Dennis, was also injured the first half and didn’t return to the game.
Stampeder defensive end Shawn Lemon’s 90th career sack moved him to 15th all-time in the CFL.
The Argonauts are at home to the Lions on Saturday. The Stampeders head into a bye week followed by a game Oct. 14 against the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats.