Chad Kelly directs Toronto Argos to 32-14 season-opener win over Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Toronto Argonauts flag is raised outside of City Hall. General Manager Michael 'Pinball' Clemons pays tribute to the city as the team gets set to defend its Grey Cup championship.

By Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Quarterback Chad Kelly rushed for three touchdowns to lead the defending champion Toronto Argonauts to a convincing season-opening 32-14 win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday.

The Argos (1-0) opened their 150th anniversary CFL season with a banner-raising ceremony to toast their 18th Grey Cup championship before their dominant outing against the rival Ticats (0-2) before 15,967 at BMO Field.

They also trotted out past stars like Damon Allen and Rickey Foggie to help celebrate the occasion.

Kelly, the 29-year-old nephew of Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, was the Argos’ backup last year. But he won the starting job this year with McLeod Bethel-Thompson now playing for the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers.

Besides his three rushing touchdowns, Kelly completed 14 of 23 passes for 208 yards.

Hamilton quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, 33, tossed two interceptions into the Argos’ end zone. The two-time Grey Cup champion with the Calgary Stampeders now has four interceptions and only one touchdown pass in his first two starts for the Ticats.

He was replaced midway through the final quarter by backup Matt Schiltz. Mitchell completed 16 of 24 passes for 158 yards.

The teams traded fourth-quarter touchdowns. Toronto veteran Andrew Harris scored on a 10-yard run with 6:08 remaining in the fourth quarter for the lone score of the second half. With less than two minutes to go, Schiltz hit Tyler Ternowski for an eight-yard strike.

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Toronto’s Boris Bede added a 27-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining.

After an early 61-yard single from Argos punter John Haggerty, Toronto received a break with a Qwan’Tez Stiggers end-zone interception.

Mitchell scrambled at the Argos’ 10-yard line and tried to throw the ball away into the back of the end zone, but Stiggers was there.

Toronto marched down to make it 8-0 with a seven-yard scamper from Kelly. The touchdown drive was aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty from Ticats lineman Mason Bennett and a Kelly to DaVaris Daniels 17-yard connection over the middle with 1:52 remaining in the first quarter.

A 10-yard rush from James Butler 4:31 into the second quarter pulled Hamilton to within 8-6. The Ticats, however, failed on their two-point conversion attempt.

Kelly finished an 11-play, 93-yard drive with a one-year plunge for a 15-6 advantage. Again, the Argos were helped by a Hamilton major foul. Mohamed Diallo was nabbed roughing the passer at Hamilton’s 23-yard line.

Another Argo interception in their end zone, this time from DeShaun Amos, led to a third major in the first half.

Kelly led Toronto down the field for his third rushing touchdown and a 22-6 lead, a drive set up by a 59-yard pass from Kelly to Damonte Coxie with 23 seconds remaining.


Cornerback Jamal Peters sat out the Argos opener. After signing with the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL team released Peters on June 5, causing him to miss Toronto’s entire training camp.

Peters, 26, led the league with six interceptions in 2022, five coming against Hamilton.


On Friday, the Ticats host the Montreal Alouettes (1-0) in their home opener at Tim Hortons Field. The Argos visit the Edmonton Elks (0-2) on Sunday.

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