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In their Week 1 matchup from Ottawa, the Calgary Stampeders kicked off their 2017 season by settling for an action-packed 31-31 tie with the RedBlacks.
A deadlock at the half was a sign of things to come as two periods of extra time were required at TD Place Stadium, yet still did create any separation.
In 51 career regular-season starts, Bo Levi Mitchell’s career record now sits at 43-7-2 after going 31-of-48 for 376 yards and two touchdowns.
“It feels very, very eerie to last year,” said head coach Dave Dickenson immediately after the matchup. “We came in here and fought back and both teams probably think they could have and should have won. Opportunities were there for both teams and then you finish with a tie, which probably doesn’t taste well for anybody. But you take what’s there and (there) was great effort, great heart.”
Kamar Jorden would score TD No. 1 of the year for the Red and White by breaking the plain of the goal line after a slow start by the Stamps offensively.
The Stampeders defence forced a two-and-out on Ottawa’s initial possession while Calgary picked up a pair of first downs before their first series came to a close.
A costly first-quarter fumble by a spinning Jerome Messam resulted in the game’s first points when Brett Maher would split the uprights with a 40-yard field goal for the only points of the opening 15 minutes.
Making a 26-yard reception for Calgary, Marquay McDaniel registered the longest play of the quarter when Mitchell located his go-to target.
Running back William Powell’s short reception out of the backfield and the ensuing two-point conversion, followed by Rene Paredes’ second-stanza chip shot, set the score at 11-3 in favour of Ottawa.
Post-halftime highlights included a cross-field heave to Jorden was broken up by a diving Imoan Claiborne who recovered in time to deny Jorden the opportunity of moving the chains for the Stamps.
On a series in which his run of nine straight completions came to an end, Harris threw a wobbly toss to Joshua Stangby who adjusted in mid-air to secure the ball in the end zone.
Momentum swung in Calgary’s favour when Brendan Gillanders was stripped by defensive back Jamar Wall with seven minutes left on the clock. Wall would pounce on the recovery, and on the very next play, Mitchell spotted Lemar Durant on a smooth double-move to cut the deficit to seven.
Calgary quickly earned back possession to enable Messam to rumble in from three yards out to settle the score at 28 each after 60 minutes of play.
“It’s supposed to be rare, overtime in the CFL, with all the single points and all that business,” Dickenson noted. “What you look at though is just that there were so many missed opportunities from both sides. You’re high and then you’re low and then you feel you got it and then you don’t and then you’re not sure. It’s just an exhausting process.”
Overtime saw a Wall interception while lying on the turf, but the two sides could only manage three each points each after regulation time had expired.
“We were down by 14 with eight minutes to go,” explained Dickenson. “That’s good fight. It wasn’t our best game (and) we’d like to correct some things and we get that opportunity again in six days.”
Thursday night from McMahon Stadium will see a rapid rematch of these budding rivals. Calgary’s home-opener begins at 7 p.m. MT with the Stamps looking to even up the season-series at one apiece.