Venue: Varsity Stadium
Location: Toronto, ON
Date: November 28
Winning Coach: Carl Voyles
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers squared off in the annual Canadian gridiron classic in 1953. In one of the thrilling finishes in Grey Cup history, the Ticats narrowly escaped Toronto’s Varsity Stadium with the victory.
Trailing by six points in the game’s dying moments, Winnipeg’s Indian Jack Jacobs put together a 98-yard drive which ended on a play on the Hamilton two-yard line. Jacobs, with an all or nothing pass, threw to Tom Casey who was just short of the goal line. But as the ball reached his fingertips, Lou Kusserow came out of nowhere to make a crushing tackle to knock the ball loose. That ended the game, as the Tiger-Cats returned the Grey Cup trophy back to Hamilton for the first time in 10 years.
Kusserow was supposed to cover Neill Armstrong on the game-ending play, but his gut told him to cover Casey instead. It turned out to be the right choice. The Ticats were fortunate he was still in the game as he injured his ribs in the second quarter on a hard tackle following an interception.
Jacobs had a similar drive in the second quarter, moving the Bombers 92 yards on six plays, only to lose possession on an interception from Vito Ragazzo.
Hamilton took a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter on a 53-yard drive. Ed Songin lunged across the goal line for the score.
It remained that way until the third quarter. The Bombers advanced to the Hamilton 28 before Dick Brown made an interception to end the threat. Winnipeg moved down the field again, but Bud Korchak’s field goal attempt failed to put points on the scoreboard. The Bombers were finally able to reach pay dirt on a 50-yard drive. Gerry James went over from the Hamilton one-yard line for the touchdown.
After the ensuing kickoff, it took Hamilton just three plays to recapture the lead. Kusserow passed to Ralph Toohy for 21 yards. After a loss of a yard, Ragazzo caught a 15-yard pass from Songin in the flat and sprinted 30 yards down the sidelines for the winning major. Winnipeg’s Geoff Crain gambled and went after the ball, allowing Ragazzo to spring free.
The outcome was bitter sweet for Jacobs, who made up for his dismal showing in the 1950 Mud Bowl, but once again went home without the title.