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September 8, 2017

Calgary primed for repeat opponent

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos
Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium
Saturday, Sept. 9
Kickoff: 7 p.m. MDT
Radio: News Talk 770, Sirius XM 167
TV: TSN, ESPN3

Coming off a 39-18 triumph over the Green and Gold on Labour Day Monday, the Stamps will be right back at it with the Eskimos just five days later in the annual rematch from Edmonton.

Alex Singleton’s career-best 13 takedowns in last weekend’s win earned him CFL player-of-the-week honours. Teammate Shaquille Richardson was also recognized by the league for his performance which included two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

“Ultimately for us, we’ll have a new scheme and a new game plan and we’ll come up with some new ideas on all three phases,” previewed head coach Dave Dickenson. “Hopefully keep them adjusting and hopefully steal a win up there.”

Calgary, at 8-1-1, has a three-point cushion atop the West with the opportunity to wrap up their season-series with the Esks on Saturday in advance of their final duel at the end of October. The Eskimos are currently 7-3.

Last year’s lone matchup in Edmonton saw the Stampeders come from behind in the fourth quarter for an eventual overtime victory. DaVaris Daniels was a major factor throughout with 113 yards and a pair of TD catches.

“We got outplayed when we went back up there last year and we just stole it,” Dickenson confessed. “We wouldn’t quit. So we’re expecting a huge battle and we’ll have to be that much better and it will take a lot of heart for our guys to get the win back-to-back. But I think our guys will give everything they’ve got and we’ll be prepared.”

The Stamps have won 13 of their last 16 visits to Alberta’s capital city.

In the four most recent head-to-head meetings with Edmonton, Bo Levi Mitchell has thrown for 1,225 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Mike Reilly’s numbers are nearly identical with 1,235 passing yards in addition to six majors and six picks.

Through 10 games, Calgary leads the league in most statistical categories including net offence, touchdowns scored, points allowed and turnovers forced.

Both sides have plenty of notable playmakers including Brandon Zylstra of the Eskimos – he’s put together a league-high five games with at least 100 yards receiving – and the Stampeders’ Jerome Messam, whose 135 rushing yards back on July 22 stands as the CFL’s single-game high in 2017.

A well-rounded lineup sees Calgary as the only team with at least one quarterback sack by 11 different players and a minimum of one rushing attempt from 10 separate threats.

“I do think for us, if we can get into the lead, we are a very balanced run/pass team,” envisioned Dickenson. “That’s the best way we find success, so that’s always important. On the road as well, to get the crowd’s energy down a little bit, that’s nice. But however the game plays out, we’ll just play it, and hopefully come out with the win.”

Former all-star receiver Derel Walker recently re-joined the Eskimos following his release by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is expected to be in the lineup against the Stamps.

Coming onto the Stampeders’ 46-man roster will be Shane Bergman, Charleston Hughes and Mike Klassen. Those three players will be taking the spots of Randy Colling, Reuben Frank and Dexter Janke.