Stamps host Lions in battle of Western Division rivals
Calgary, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - There is much still to be determined when it comes to postseason positioning for the 101st Grey Cup Playoffs, which is why the meeting between the British Columbia Lions and the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Friday night is so crucial.
Both clubs have already locked up postseason berths, but at the moment Calgary is in the driver's seat with the best overall record in the league and a four- point advantage over both BC and Saskatchewan in the West Division standings. A combination of a Calgary win and a Saskatchewan loss this week would give the Stamps a home playoff game, but a matchup between these two squads in Week 19 to close out the regular season could still have major postseason implications.
Neither one of these teams has bowed in back-to-back games here in 2013, but that stat will be in jeopardy on Friday given that the Lions were taken out by Saskatchewan last week in a 31-17 final.
In having their three-game win streak snapped, the Lions watched Thomas DeMarco complete 19-of-36 pass attempts for 286 yards and a score, but he was intercepted three times and sacked on five occasions. DeMarco actually ended up as the second-leading rusher for BC with 25 net yards on three carries.
Nick Moore caught five passes for 92 yards, including a 15-yard TD in the second half, but in all honesty there was no way the Lions were going to overcome 13 penalties for a loss of 138 yards. Granted, Saskatchewan also punished itself with seven infractions for 118 yards, but the Roughriders didn't have the turnover issues as well.
Calgary, a winner in two straight and six of the last seven, came up big against Winnipeg last week in a 38-11 final at home. An impressive 6-1 on their own field this season, the Stampeders led 25-4 at the break and never looked back thanks to the efforts of running back Jon Cornish who erupted for 208 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, adding another 24 yards on two receptions.
Now the league's leading rusher with 1,415 yards on 200 attempts, leading to 10 touchdowns which ties him with Kory Sheets for the lead in that department, Cornish was not only named the Canadian Player of the Week, he also garnered Offensive Player of the Week honors as well.
Cornish is also the league leader in terms of yards from scrimmage with an even 1,700 at the moment.
While Cornish was beating up on the Blue Bombers on the ground, Kerry Glenn was going after defenders through the air as he completed all but eight of his 29 pass attempts, leading to 320 yards and two touchdowns. Marquay McDaniel caught five passes for 123 yards and a score, while Joe West turned his eight receptions into 120 yards for the victors.
And let's not forget Calgary kicker Rene Paredes who made good on all three of his field goal attempts and finished with 13 points the last time out. Paredes, who earlier this season set the CFL record for consecutive field goals made, continues to lead the league in scoring with 166 points, 21 ahead of his closest competitor.
Because Glenn didn't throw any interceptions and the Stamps didn't fumble the ball away, the team is still the best in the business when it comes to turnover margin through 15 games. Tied for third in takeaways with 39, Calgary is the best when it comes to not giving the ball up in the first place, suffering just 21 turnovers which means the team's plus-18 in that category outweighs every other program at the moment.
Due to the fact that they limit their mistakes and capitalize on the misfortunes of others, the Stampeders are first in the league in time of possession (32:44 per game), and that has helped them to generate a CFL-best 31.9 ppg.
These teams, scheduled to play each other a total of four times during the 2013 regular season, have split their first two encounters. Calgary captured a 44-32 victory in the season opener back in late June and BC returned the favor in the middle of August with a 26-22 triumph at home.
With those results the Stamps now lead the all-time series by a count of 96-78-5, taking into account only regular-season meetings going back to 1954. Calgary has won two of the last three matchups, but BC has taken five of the last seven.
10/09 11:25:59 ET