Calgary Stampeders at BC Lions
Friday, Aug. 18
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. MDT Radio: News Talk 770, Sirius XM 167 TV: TSN, ESPN3
In their first live action after a Week 8 bye, the Stamps will make the trip out to Vancouver for a clash with Jonathon Jennings and the 5-3 BC Lions under the lights on Friday night.
The Stampeders have a 12-6 record against the Lions over the past five seasons. That impressive mark includes a 3-0 advantage in playoff games capped off with last year’s 42-15 Western Final triumph to earn a spot in the 104th Grey Cup.
Prior to their recent layoff, Calgary won 41-24 on the road in Toronto. Bo Levi Mitchell missed on just five of his 24 pass attempts as the Stampeders improved to 5-1-1 with five touchdowns scored by four different players.
“A lot of (our preparation for BC is) in the books but we still have things to improve on,” uttered head coach Dave Dickenson. “I’m not seeing enough (right now) but I’m hoping our guys rally. It’s human nature obviously coming off a bye week, but it’s time. The game is going to be fast approaching and we need to get to work and we’ve got to play our best.”
A 41-8 lopsided loss for the Lions last Sunday in Saskatchewan – during which Jennings was intercepted four times – was BC’s largest margin of defeat in the regular season since a 34-point blowout against the Eskimos on Nov. 1, 2014.
“I think they’re a good team anyway,” Dickenson underlined earlier in the week. “They definitely didn’t have their best so (BC head coach) Wally (Buono) will have them ready. We expect their best anyway, but certainly they’ll be motivated.”
With a win this weekend, the Stamps would be guaranteed to maintain their second-place position in the divisional standings.
Led by quarterback Travis Lulay and running back Jeremiah Johnson with five apiece, BC is atop the league in terms of rushing majors.
With only six turnovers committed through seven outings, the Stampeders are No. 1 when it comes to maintaining possession. In addition, Calgary averages more points per game (36.3) than any other CFL club while also surrendering the fewest (20.7).
“I think our (defensive) production has increased and they are performing like I thought they would and have done so year after year,” described Dickenson. “And it took a while. It did. Now we’ve got to see if we can do it against a group that has some of the best players in the league and we’ll see how they match up.”
These two opponents are scheduled to square off once more when the Lions come to town in mid-September. Calgary will first host the Argos and then prepare for their annual Labour Day home-and-home with Edmonton before their season-series with BC is decided.