VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Damon Allen told his famous brother, Marcus, before the start of the 75th Grey Cup game Sunday that he didn't know if he would play.
Not only did he play, but Allen came off the bench to lead the Eskimos to a 38-36 victory over Toronto for their 10th Canadian Football League title.
"I was ready to play mentally," Allen said. "It was just a matter of getting my chance. I'm sure Marcus will be thrilled about how I played. We talked on the phone before the game and he asked me if I was going to play. I said 'I don't know, but I'll be ready if I do.' I did and I played well. I know my whole family will be proud of me.
"This was the game of my career."
Allen replaced injured starter Matt Dunigan and directed three touchdown drives plus a late series that produced the winning field goal, a 49-yarder by rookie Jerry Kauric with 45 seconds left.
Allen, 24, got his opportunity when Dunigan was dazed in the second quarter. The three-year pro from Cal State Fullerton made the most of his chance and earned the game's top offensive player award.
"There wasn't a lot of thinking out there, just a lot of patience," Allen said. "We knew in the fourth quarter we had the momentum to win the game."
Edmonton scored first when Henry William raced 115 yards with a missed field goal attempt in the first quarter.
The wide-open Grey Cup--the CFL's Super Bowl--was the perfect showcase for the troubled league before a sellout crowd of 59,478 at B.C. Place Stadium.
The lead changed hands five times in the final quarter as Allen and Toronto's Danny Barrett, also a backup, of the University of Cincinnati engineered brilliant drives.
The game also featured two long Toronto touchdowns--a 61-yard pass play from starting quarterback Gilbert Renfroe of Tennessee State to wide receiver Gil Fenerty of Holy Cross, and a 54-yard run with a fumble by linebacker Doug Landry.
The 24-year-old Kauric, rejected by two other CFL teams earlier this season, capped Edmonton's final drive to the Toronto 42 with his third field goal of the game.
Allen threw two touchdown passes and ran 17 yards for another as the Eskimos won their 10th championship since they joined the CFL in 1949.
Toronto took a 36-35 lead with 2:43 left when Barrett raced 25 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw that caught Edmonton off guard.
The Argonauts tried for a two-point conversion, but failed and Allen marched the Eskimos up the field for the winning field goal.