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October 21, 2016

Calgary cruises at McMahon

Toronto Argonauts' Brian Jones, left, tackles Calgary Stampeders' Jerome Messam during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

With a 31-13 victory on Friday night over the Toronto Argonauts, the Calgary Stampeders concluded their home schedule with a perfect 9-0 record.

In the win, Jerome Messam surpassed his personal high in rushing yards for a single season and eight different Stampeders players were credited with a catch.

“He was real good today,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson of Messam. “We used our whole roster except our quarterbacks. We let everyone get a chance to get in there. We said we were going to play everyone and when you get your chances, take advantage. So he knew he wasn’t going to get the carries that he would normally get and he took advantage of it. He averaged 10 yards per carry and was rolling downhill. He did a good job in protection, too. That was an issue last week, so he stepped up and had a good game.”

The Stamps started things off with a 31-yard Messam run up the middle. After an ensuing first-down reception by Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, Rene Paredes opened the scoring with a successful field goal from 32 yards out.

Toronto’s Ricky Ray-led offence began with Brandon Whitaker’s run of 11 yards before Kenny Shaw slid down to snag a reception of 21 yards. Diontae Spencer then hauled in a ricocheted pass attempt to set up a two-yard touchdown through the air courtesy of Whitaker.

After the one-point convert, the Argos went up by a score of 7-3.

Responding for the Red and White were Anthony Parker and Kamar Jorden, moving the chains on back-to-back plays, although the home side could only muster three points on the possession. A 37-yard field goal from Paredes concluded the 10-play, 42-yard drive.

The second quarter began with DaVaris Daniels finding space for a 34-yard pickup. Shortly thereafter, Messam churned upfield for a combined 38 yards on consecutive handoffs. Tying the CFL all-time record for rushing touchdowns by a Canadian quarterback was Andrew Buckley, plunging in from one yard out to finish the series and thus reclaim the lead.

A third-and-short sneak near midfield by second-stringer Dan LeFevour was then denied by the Stamps defence, although the offensive unit would be unable to capitalize. As a result, Paredes came on for a 48-yard kick and was once again accurate.

After stepping in front of DeVier Posey for a timely deflection, Calgary’s Ciante Evans then ran underneath the ball for his second interception of 2016. Rob Cote eventually received a direct snap while in punt formation, but the necessary yardage was denied.

Fully extending for a fantastic 29-yard grab was Shaw of the Argonauts, but Toronto stalled in the red zone. As a result, Lirim Hajrullahu spilt the uprights from 10 yards out.

Getting to Ray in the third was Charleston Hughes for his 15th sack on the year which aided in limiting the Argos to a three-point score.

When Bo Levi Mitchell’s unit took to the field out of the break, Charbonneau-Campeau sprinted down the seam for a 34-yard reception. In short order, Daniels maintained his balance to haul in a 41-yard touchdown along the sideline.

Daniels would be a solid Most Outstanding Rookie candidate, but first he has to wrestle the Stamps nomination away from freshman linebacker Alex Singleton.

“Well, he’s got a battle even on our own team,” said Dickenson .”He’s a really good player. There’s a reason he hasn’t come off the field. I thought he’s made us a better team. We’re more balanced with weapons on both sides. i thought he was one of the best again today.

Deep downfield in coverage minutes later and leaping up for interception No. 3 during his rookie campaign was Tommie Campbell, but the turnover did not result in any points.

The scoreboard was next updated when Mitchell dropped in a 19-yard TD over the shoulder of Daniels, and with the conversion, Calgary climbed in front by 18 points.

With under five minutes remaining, Ray connected with Brian Jones for 25 yards to set up at the Stampeders 10-yard line. However, a three-and-out enabled the home side to take over well within their own territory.

Now sitting at 15-1-1, the Stamps will face the East Division’s fourth-place Montreal Alouettes on Sunday, Oct. 30. The Stampeders will then incur two straight byes in Week 20 and the first round of the playoffs before hosting the Western Final on Sunday, Nov. 20 versus a to-be-determined opponent.