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September 26, 2017

Stampeders to rekindle rivalry in Regina

In a Week 14 bout with the Riders, the Red and White will make their first-ever visit to new Mosaic Stadium with a pair of outstanding streaks on the line.

Calgary’s supreme record of 10-1-1 features eight straight victories and has continued a run of 15 in a row against divisional opponents that began on Canada Day of 2016.

The Roughriders have come out on top in four of their past five appearances to improve to 6-5, the fourth-best mark in the West.

“They’ve got great talent and I do believe they are a force to be reckoned with – at home, especially,” acknowledged head coach Dave Dickenson. “They really feed off their crowd, as we do here. It’s a great advantage. We’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”

Dating back to 2010, the Stampeders have a 7-3 record in Regina and are undefeated there since 2014.
The Riders escaped Hamilton last week with a final score of 27-19 over the Tiger-Cats. A 27-13 decision went in favour of the Stamps when hosting the BC Lions.

“We’ve come off this back-to-back with Edmonton and then one with BC, and we’ve just got to make sure our energy is up,” Dickenson cautioned. “We have to match those guys and go after it.”

Back on July 22 at McMahon, the Stampeders were 27-10 victors with Saskatchewan in town. Marquay McDaniel and Lemar Durant each caught a touchdown pass and the combination of Charleston Hughes and James Vaughters produced five sacks.

Sunday’s matchup will boast a pair of the top offences in the league. The Stamps are No. 1 with 41 trips to the end-zone and the Riders are not far behind with 39 of their own. Leading the way on the ground is Jerome Messam with nine majors, and the Roughriders’ Duron Carter tops all receivers with eight TDs.

Furthermore, on passes of 20-plus yards, Bo Levi Mitchell has more attempts (79) than any other quarterback while tallying 11 TDs and just one interception. Expect Kevin Glenn – in search of his 100th career win – to also push the ball downfield as his 8.9 yards per pass is currently topping the charts.

That offensive productivity has resulted in high-scoring first halves for both teams – Saskatchewan leads the CFL in first-quarter scoring (85 points) and the Stampeders have dominated in second quarters (127).

Notable threats on defence include Calgary’s Micah Johnson, the current leader in quarterback drops. Ed Gainey of the Roughriders has eight interceptions, more than the total made by each Eastern team.

“He just does a great job predicting where the quarterback throws the ball and his ball skills are there,” said Dickenson regarding the play of Gainey. “You have to be aware of him. But you also just run what you run and understand where the windows can be. If they go man-to-man, you find the matchups you want and attack that.”

With a 3-0-1 record in games decided by four points or less, the Stampeders will be facing a Riders squad that is 0-2 in close games. The Roughriders suffered narrow defeats to Montreal and Winnipeg to open their schedule.

Promoted to this week’s 46-man roster are Dexter Janke and Adam Thibault. The subtractions are Mike Rose and Anthony Woodson.

Friday, Oct. 20 will see Saskatchewan return to Southern Alberta to complete 2017’s three-game series.