The Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders renew acquaintances as the two teams meet for the second time in four weeks and for the third and final time in 2012.
Calgary (7-4, second place in the West) continued its run as the league's hottest team with a 44-3 blowout of the Bombers last week. The win was Calgary's fourth straight win (5-1 in past six games) and matched the Stamps' longest winning streak last season. Under head coach John Hufnagel, the Stamps won seven straight games in 2010 and have now won four consecutive games on four separate occasions, twice in 2008, once in 2011 and once this season.
The Riders (5-6) come into the game after losing in Montreal 28-17 and are 2-2 in the past four games. Saskatchewan is tied with Edmonton and face a huge test this week if they have any hopes of hosting a playoff game. Calgary has already won the season series with the Riders after wins of 41-38 at home in Week 4 and 17-10 in Regina in Week 9.
Calgary is on a seven-game winning streak against the Riders (and a four-game winning streak at Mosaic) and is looking to sweep the Riders for the second straight season. The last time Calgary enjoyed this level of success against Saskatchewan was in 1999-2001 when the Stamps boasted a 9-0-1 record over three seasons.
Calgary is 3-2 on the road (tied for best in the CFL) and is 4-1 against the West, the best record of any West team within the division. Saskatchewan is 3-2 at home and 2-4 against the West.
Saskatchewan and Calgary will kick off their match at 2 p.m. MDT on Sunday, Sept. 23 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. The game will be televised on TSN and can be heard on the radio at QR77 (AM 770 on the radio dial and www.qr77.com on the Internet) and on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, channel 157 and channel 160 for XM subscribers.
Fans in the U.S. can see the game live via webcast on ESPN3 (www.espn.go.com). The game will also be seen the next day at www.tsn.ca on TSN’s video-on-demand page.
Calgary's offence set season highs in points (44), touchdowns (five) and total yards (508) in the win over Winnipeg. The 41-point margin of victory was also a season best and was the largest spread in a win since the 47-point Labour Day triumph in 2010.
It was the first time the Stamps rang up more than 500 yards of offence in a game since Week 16 of last season against the Argos. It was the second time this year Calgary surpassed 40 points (41 in the Week 4 overtime win over the Riders was the other instance) and was the first time the Stamps scored more than 40 points in regulation time since Week 14 of 2011, a 40-3 win over the Riders.
Calgary has scored more than 40 points four times in the past two seasons and three of those times have come against Saskatchewan. The Stamps are second in the CFL in points with 312. Calgary is second in touchdowns (31) and first downs (248) and fourth in total offence at 380.1 yards per game.
The Stampeders have averaged 29 points and 397.5 yards per game of total offence in the two wins over the Riders this seasons. The undisputed star of the win over Winnipeg last week was SB Nik Lewis, who led team team with seven catches for 131 yards, the fourth time this season he has had seven or more receptions in a game and the seventh time in 11 games he has led the team in receiving.
Lewis caught the 700th reception of his CFL and Stampeders career in the game and, on the same reception, surpassed 10,000 career receiving yards.
Lewis is 15th on the CFL's all-time list with 10,054 yards and 11th on the receptions list with 704. Lewis has 11 catches for 121 yards against the Riders this season.
QB Kevin Glenn passed for 298 yards, one touchdown and rated out at a season-best 132.2. It was Glenn's third straight game with more than 250 yards and the Calgary quarterback has 556 passing yards against the Riders in 2012, including his season-high of 385 yards.
RB Jon Cornish had 53 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Winnipeg and leads the CFL in rushing with 880 yards. RB Lamar Coker was back on the roster and led the team in rushing with 79 yards on just five carries, including a 52-yard touchdown run. Cornish has 198 yards rushing against the Riders this season, highlighted by 159 yards in the 17-10 win at Mosaic three weeks ago.
Statistically, Calgary's defence also had its best game of the season last week. The Stamps allowed a season-low three points, allowed no touchdowns and gave up only 167 yards of offence.
The three points scored by the Bombers represented the lowest total allowed since Week 14 of last season against the Riders and marked the eighth time since 2008 that the Stamps have allowed less than 10 points in a game.
The Stamps sit fourth in the CFL in points allowed, giving up an average of 23.4 points per game, and have allowed 48 points to the Riders in two games this season.
Calgary tied a season-best total of three sacks in last week’s win, the third time this season the Stamps have recorded three sacks in a game. The Stamps are heating up in this category with eight sacks in the last three games and are now fifth in the league with 22 sacks, only four back of the CFL lead.
DE Charleston Hughes had his team-leading sixth sack and now sits in second place in the CFL, one behind Keron Williams for top spot. Hughes has led or tied for the team lead in sacks in each of his five CFL seasons and is only one off his season best total of seven, set in 2010 and again in 2011. Hughes also had four tackles to lead the team followed by DB Jamar Wall with three (Wall also had a sack). Newcomer DE Donovan Robinson who also had three tackles in his CFL debut.
CB Keon Raymond had his second interception of the year and now is in a tie for the team lead in picks with DB Quincy Butler. Raymond is seventh on the team in tackles with 22 and has nine in his past three games.
Calgary's special teams scored its second touchdown of the season last week as RB Rob Cote took a 26-yard pass from holder Bo Levi Mitchell on a fake field goal to score his second major of the year. It was also Mitchell's first CFL touchdown pass.
K Rene Paredes was good on both of his attempts and has now made 20 of 22 kicks on the year, good enough for a 90.9-per cent accuracy rate, second best in the CFL. Five of Paredes' field goals have been from more than 40 yards and his only two misses have been a 51-yard attempt in Week 2 and a 30-yard attempt into a driving wind in Regina three weeks ago.
Calgary got some bad news on the injury front as KR Larry Taylor has been placed on the nine-game injury list and will miss the rest of the season. The Stamps have signed veteran KR Jason Armstead (a former Rider) to the practice roster as a possible replacement. Armstead has six punt return touchdowns in his career, including one with the Eskimos last season.
The Riders’ biggest question mark coming into this week's game is who will be lining up at quarterback when the game gets under way. Starting QB Darian Durant missed his first start of the season last week against the Alouettes and was replaced by rookie back up Drew Willy (#5).
Willy has seen action in five games so far in 2012 but has replaced an injured Durant in two straight games including the start against Montreal. Willy has passed for 567 yards, four touchdowns and has a rating of 94.7. Durant (#4) sits sixth in league passing with 2,291 yards, 10 touchdown passes and a rating of 88.5.
RB Kory Sheets (#1) continues to play well for the Green and White as he ranks second in the CFL in rushing with 761 yards and leads the CFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,192 as well as in rushing touchdowns scored with eight.
SB Weston Dressler (#7) is still the man to watch amongst the Riders receivers as he leads the team and is sixth overall in the league with 60 receptions for 742 yards and six major scores.
SB Chris Getzlaf (#89) leads all Canadian receivers with 633 yards on 45 catches and is ninth overall. The Riders defence is rock solid despite the team's losing record and ranks second in points allowed, giving up only 21.3 points and 325.9 yards of offence per game.
The Riders defence has allowed more than 30 points only twice this season (once to Calgary) and has kept opponents to 20 points or less six times (including a shutout of Winnipeg on Labour Day weekend). Four of the Riders' six losses have been by eight or fewer points including two losses to Calgary by a combined 10 points.
Saskatchewan's defensive leaders are Tyron Brackenridge (#41), who leads the team in tackles with 47 and interceptions with two, DE Odell Willis (#11), who leads the team in sacks with five, and S Craig Butler (#28), who is tied for the team lead in picks with two.
Others to watch on the Riders defence are MLB Joe Lobendahn (#8), who has 14 tackles since taking over at middle linebacker three games ago, DT Tearrius George (#93, four sacks), a former Stampeder, and DB Chris McKenzie (#39, 35 tackles).
The week opens with a big Friday Night game between Winnipeg (2-9, fourth place in the East) and Hamilton (4-7, third place) at Canad Inns Stadium.
On Saturday, the Lions (8-3, first place in the West) travel to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos (5-6) in another game that has the potential to have a big effect on the Western playoff race.
Sunday sees the Alouettes (7-4, first place) host the Argos (6-5, second place) in an East Division first-place showdown.
Calgary is back home for another big West division battle — this time with the Eskimos — on Sept. 28 at McMahon. Calgary is 2-0 against the Eskies this season after sweeping the Labour Day series by scores of 31-30 (at home) and 20-18.
— Mike Hardiman
|Upcoming Games||View full schedule|
|Fri 14/06/13||BC||Calgary||Fri 7:00 pm MDT|
|Thu 20/06/13||Calgary||Saskatchewan||Thu 8:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 28/06/13||BC||Calgary||Fri 8:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 05/07/13||Calgary||Saskatchewan||Fri 7:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 12/07/13||Calgary||Montreal||Fri 5:30 pm MDT|