Following a back-and-forth battle that resulted in a 31-31 stalemate, the Stamps and RedBlacks go right back at it on Thursday night in Calgary’s 2017 debut in front of their home crowd at McMahon Stadium.
“We understand they’re a good organization, good team, and we knew it was going to be a big challenge playing them back-to-back,” said head coach Dave Dickenson. “They have a lot of veterans over there. So we’ve got them at home (and) let’s see if we can take care of business.”
In last Friday’s anticlimactic tie at TD Place Stadium, Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris of Ottawa combined for 676 passing yards and five touchdowns. Marquay McDaniel was the night’s only 100-yard receiver and linebacker Alex Singleton had a game-high nine tackles.
Look for the Stamps to establish a more balanced attack in Week 2 as the reigning West Division champions attempted 48 passes in contrast to running the ball on only 13 occasions.
“I just feel like (in) back-to-backs, a lot of times it’s not about X’s and O’s and tricky stuff,” explained Dickenson before making final preparations for game day. “It’s just about a lot of that heart and just who can find that extra energy. Usually when you play back-to-back you’re on a short week and that second game, you’re tired. There’s no surprises anymore. I’m sure in the off-season we’ve had a few things that we can obviously add in but it’s really not going to change that much on our end. We just have to be better.”
Still in search of win No. 1, the Stamps would seem to have history on their side. The Red and White have picked up at least one victory over their first two games in 12 of the past 13 seasons with the lone exception coming in 2009.
The two teams will each be looking for their first sack of the season as neither side managed to bring down the opposing QB in the Nation’s Capital.
“They’ve just got so many ways to get to their plays,” praised Dickenson when asked about the RedBlacks offence. “They run the same play a lot but it’s just hard to understand. They’ve got motion everywhere. I guess pick your poison. They’ve got a great passing game too and they’re fast and their running game looks good as well so our defence has a big challenge.”
Over the last decade, the Stampeders home-opener has come against an eastern opponent on six of 10 occasions. Calgary has a 4-2 record in those meetings with the last three triumphs coming in consecutive order.
McMahon Stadium is the only CFL venue in which Ottawa is winless since joining the league in 2014. An average of nearly 45 points per game has been put up by the Stamps when hosting the RedBlacks.
Following tomorrow’s much-anticipated grudge match, Ottawa will entertain the Argos. Next up on Calgary’s schedule is a trip to Winnipeg for a Week 3 clash with the Blue Bombers on Friday, July 7.