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CFL Preview - Calgary (1-0) at Toronto (0-1)



From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Saturday, July 7, 3:00 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: After taking care of business on both sides of the ball in the season opener on Sunday evening, the Calgary Stampeders aim for their second win in as many tries on Saturday afternoon as they tangle with the Toronto Argonauts on the road at Rogers Centre.

Not only were the Stampeders going up against Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes from a defensive standpoint, the squad was also breaking in a new starting quarterback and Drew Tate rose to the occasion.

Tate, who took over the starting job from Henry Burris as the former league MVP moved to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the off-season, tossed a couple of interceptions, but still finished the outing 25-of-35 for 299 yards and a score in the lopsided 38-10 triumph over visiting Montreal.

Coming up with a game-high 12 receptions was Nik Lewis, who turned those catches into 105 yards and a major. Jon Cornish bulled his way for 86 yards and a pair of TDs on 18 rushing attempts, his efforts on the ground more than doubling those of the Als altogether as he was recognized as a top league performer earlier this week.

Considered one of the all-time great quarterbacks in CFL history, Calvillo was all but shut down by the Calgary defense, which allowed him to convert just 16- of-31 passes for 174 yards and a score, while also being picked off twice. Considering Calvillo threw a total of just eight interceptions all of last season, the Stamps should be pleased with their efforts through the first 60 minutes of action.

As for the Argonauts, they were held scoreless through the first quarter of action last Saturday as quarterback Ricky Ray returned to Edmonton to face his former teammates. Ray managed to hit Cory Boyd with a five-yard TD strike in the second quarter and finished the contest 29-of-39 for 298 yards, but was sacked three times as he and Toronto came out on the losing end of a 19-15 final.

Boyd stepped up with eight rushing attempts for 48 yards and was also tops among all players with 10 catches, but those resulted in a mere nine yards.

Kicker Noel Prefontaine generated eight points for his squad, but missed a couple of field goal tries which could have easily swung the game in Toronto's favor.

The good news for the Argos, if there is such a thing coming out of a loss, is that Chad Owens again showed why he is widely considered one of the most dangerous players in the league. Owens, who will be getting his number called more and more on offense as he lines up as a slotback, posted six receptions for 100 yards, including a long of 52, brought back seven punts for another 105 yards, and returned four kickoffs for an additional 111 yards. Unfortunately, even with all of his elusive efforts, the Argos were unable to capitalize enough to earn the victory.

Owens not only registered a new personal, single-game record for all-purpose yardage, but he also put himself in the CFL record books as just the third player in history to have at least 100-100-100 yards. Next for the sprite runner from Hawaii is gunning for the all-time, all-purpose yards record which sits at a staggering 474 yards set by Albert Johnson III of Winnipeg 12 years ago.

Obviously the Argonauts have a huge weapon in Owens and should be able to use his talents accordingly, but getting him on the same page with Ray might take a bit more time as this is a work in progress.

Toronto has won three straight regular season meetings between these two clubs, including a 31-29 final at home on October 14. However, as far as the all-time series goes, dating back to 1945, Calgary is clinging to a 41-39-1 advantage.

These clubs are destined to clash again once more during the regular season, with Calgary entertaining the Argos on August 18.

It might take some more time for Ray to get used to new schemes and get in-sync with his receivers, which is why, even at home this week, Toronto might be again trying to claw its way from behind.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 31, Toronto 20

07/04 11:36:02 ET

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