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Calgary Stampeders vs Toronto Argonauts
TD Place Stadium
Sunday, Nov. 26
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. MST
TV: TSN, ESPN2
Radio: Newstalk 770
It all comes down to this.
A champion will be crowned Sunday at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa with the 13-4-1 Stampeders facing the 9-9 Toronto Argonauts in the 105th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
The Stamps are bidding for their eighth ring in franchise history and are 1-2 versus the Argos in title games. In 2012, their most recent Grey Cup matchup, the Double Blue prevailed 35-22 on home turf.
“In the CFL and professional sports, there really isn’t much difference between one team and the next,” explained head coach Dave Dickenson. “That’s why it has always kind of amazed me how many wins we’ve had because the talent level is very, very similar. So you’ve just got to believe that when it’s time to make a play and the game is on the line, your guys will get it done.”
Calgary earned its way to Ottawa with a thrilling 32-28 win over the visiting Eskimos in the Western Final. The terrific tandem of Jerome Messam and Roy Finch combined for 348 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to secure the Red and White’s third championship appearance in the past four seasons.
Likewise, the Argonauts hosted their division final and were victorious in a close contest, 25-21. Terrance Plummer, DeVier Posey and Cody Fajardo entered the end zone against the Roughriders in order to represent the East in tomorrow’s big showdown.
In two prior meetings this year, the Stamps prevailed 41-24 in Toronto and 23-7 at McMahon Stadium. However, as Dickenson pointed out, the Argos have shown vast improvement since their last clash in late August.
“They’ve really turned it on in probably the last seven or eight games and have done an excellent job,” Dickenson said. “They’re very balanced, a good squad, very aggressive, have good tacklers and playmakers on defence. They are a well-coached team that has a lot of talent and they keep putting new guys in new positions to cater to their strengths. They deserve to be here as well.”
One notable change to the Argos attack has been the insertion of James Wilder Jr. into the starting lineup. The rookie running back took over in Week 13 and has since rushed for nearly 800 yards in addition to totaling almost 500 receiving yards.
Standouts for the Stampeders include linebacker Alex Singleton and feature returner Finch, named Defensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year respectively at Thursday night’s Shaw CFL Awards.
With 50 sacks apiece to finish atop the charts, both the Stampeders and Argonauts feature dominant defensive lines.
Calgary’s offence was No. 1 in terms of big-play production and the Stamps’ field-goal success rate was tops in the CFL as Rene Paredes went without a miss in 13 of 18 games in 2017.
Two of the league’s top quarterbacks in Bo Levi Mitchell and Ricky Ray will be leading the charge in Canada’s capital city. Mitchell threw for 4,700 yards and averaged a stellar 8.6 yards per completion while Ray finished tied for first among all starters having completed 71 per cent of his pass attempts. Both signal-callers threw just 11 interceptions in 17 starts.
“We are a veteran group,” Dickenson stated. “How many more chances are we going to get? This team will never be the same and this is the last game that this group will play together. I believe all of us should be motivated to have our best game and to give it everything we got.”
Only two roster changes will be made coming off the team’s last outing. Cordarro Law is at last fully recovered from a pre-season injury and Shaquille Richardson will also be in the lineup after he was unavailable a week ago. Therefore, Joe Burnett and Mike Klassen will not be on the 46-man roster.