August 2, 2017

Stamps Look To Sink Argos

Calgary Stampeders at Toronto Argonauts
BMO Field
Thursday Aug.3
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. MDT
Radio: Newstalk 770, Sirus XM 167

Coming off their most lopsided victory in franchise history, the Red and White will look to carry the momentum into their battle with the 3-3 Argonauts in the CFL’s Week 7 opener.

The Stampeders, sitting in second place among West Division teams with a 4-1-1 record including a modest 1-1-1 mark on the road, have not lost a regular-season game in Toronto since 2012.

Each side will have had just four full days of preparation as both the Stamps and Argos were in action on Saturday.

“We unfortunately had a few guys that weren’t necessarily practising that are still beat up a little bit and hopefully they are ready for the game,” commented head coach Dave Dickenson following the one and only practice this week. “This is it basically, so you’ve got to be focused mentally as well as get your body right and go play a game.”

A 60-1 blowout for Calgary against the Tiger-Cats featured three touchdown runs by Jerome Messam and 190 receiving yards from Marken Michel. The trio of end-zone trips for the Stampeders tailback catapulted him into a tie for the league-lead with five rushing majors while Michel tallied the most yards by a Stamps pass-catcher since Romby Bryant’s 211 against Edmonton back in 2009.

“I thought he had the skill,” Dickenson remarked when asked about his expectations of Michel once Kamar Jorden was injured in the opening quarter. “I think ultimately the ball found him and he made some nice plays. I didn’t know if he’d get 190, but he’s a good player and he’ll have another challenge (on Thursday).”

As a result of the one-sided outing, the Stampeders are now the only CFL team with more than 200 points scored. They have also surrendered the fewest at just 121, a figure identical to that of Edmonton’s, albeit in one fewer game than the Green and Gold.

Ricky Ray‘s sixth straight outing with at least 320 yards passing – and the longest such streak in his 15-year career – was not enough to beat the Roughriders last week in Regina. Despite their defeat by a score of 38-27, the Argonauts remain atop their division.

With Calgary up against the only Eastern opponent they had yet to face, the defence plans for a heavy dose of SJ Green. His 60 targets are more than any other receiver in the league thus far.

As for the respective special-teams units, Toronto’s Lirim Hajrullahu has made a chart-topping 21 field goals. No. 1 in terms of punt-return yardage with 350 is Roy Finch of the Stampeders.

Defensive back Brandon Smith and rookie receiver Reggie Begelton will be in the lineup this week. Kamar Jorden and Maleki Harris have been removed from the 46-man roster.

A bye week will be up next for Calgary before a trip out to BC.

“Every year you have bye weeks and you look forward to basically that time because you can catch up on some things,” confessed Dickenson. “But you can’t take (this) week off. You get paid to do a job, you get paid to coach. It’s a five-day week. They’re on the same schedule, so we’ll be ready.”

When the group returns to McMahon Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 26, it will be these same Argonauts standing in the way of the Stamps’ 14th consecutive home win.