Location: Montreal, QC
Date: November 25
Winning Coach: Hugh Campbell
Outstanding Offensive Player: David Green, RB, Montreal
Outstanding Defensive Player: Tom Cousineau, LB, Montreal
Outstanding Canadian: Don Sweet, K, Montreal
The Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes battled each other for the Grey Cup for the fifth time in the 1970s. With each team defeating the other on two occasions, the 1979 classic was the rubber match to determine the team of the decade.
The game was played in the Alouettes’ backyard as 65,113 were in attendance at Olympic Stadium. They witnessed Edmonton quarterback Tom Wilkinson throw a 43-yard pass to a wide open Waddell Smith for the initial touchdown of the game. The Alouettes responded as Don Sweet kicked field goals from 38 and 45 yards out before halftime to cut the Montreal deficit to 7-6.
Sweet would give the Alouettes their only lead of the game in the third quarter on a 29-yard field goal. But Warren Moon, who replaced Wilkinson behind centre, restored Edmonton’s lead by driving the Eskimos 75 yards in six plays, including a 33-yard touchdown pass to Tom Scott.
Dave Cutler made it a 17-9 advantage for Edmonton when he booted a 38-yard field goal. Both teams were held off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
The Alouettes hurt their own cause as they were penalized 16 times for 145 yards. Near the end of the game, Gerry Dattilio was called for clipping on an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown by Keith Baker. The Eskimos were only penalized four times for 25 yards.
Needless to say, Montreal head coach Joe Scannella wasn’t happy with the officials at the end of the game. “There has to be two teams on the field and I don’t believe we were the only team that was guilty of penalties,” Scannella fumed.
Wilkinson completed six of 10 pass attempts for 107 yards. Moon was five of 11 for 96 yards. Montreal pivot Joe Barnes was 13 of 23 passing for 151 yards. The Alouettes had 21 first downs and 318 yards of total offence, compared to the Eskimos’ 16 first downs and 280 total yards.
Despite losing the game, the Alouettes won all the major awards. David Green was the game’s outstanding offensive player carrying the ball 21 times for 142 yards. Montreal linebacker Tom Cousineau was named defensive player of the game, and Sweet was the top Canadian.
Unlike the 1977 Ice Bowl, the game time temperature was 12 degrees Celsius in Montreal.
Both the Alouettes and Eskimos appeared in the Grey Cup six times in the 1970s, with each team winning three titles.