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CFL Preview - Calgary (1-0) at Saskatchewan (1-0)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, July 5, 9 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The only game of the week featuring a pair of teams that won their season openers takes place on Friday night in Saskatchewan, as the Roughriders entertain the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium.
For the Stampeders, their 44-32 home victory over British Columbia was further enhanced by the generosity of the fans who helped raise money to support the flood-ravaged area in Calgary. While there is still plenty of work to be done in the region, the rest of the CFL also kicked in as well, which goes to show that the sport is more than just a game.
Stamps running back Jon Cornish, last year's Most Outstanding Canadian, put his money where his mouth is -- on the field at McMahon Stadium last week, promising to donate $10.00 for every yard he gained against the Lions. Needless to say, Cornish had to reach deep into his pockets after just 30 minutes of action as he raced for 109 yards and a score.
Cornish finished the contest with a whopping 172 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground on 24 carries, adding a 20-yard reception for good measure in the double-digit victory.
While Cornish, who was named the top Canadian in Week 1, was carving up the BC defense on the ground, quarterback Drew Tate was easily handling the aerial attack as he converted 19-of-27 passes for 237 yards and three more scores, against only one interception.
Maurice Price caught a game-high six passes for 77 yards and a score, while Joe West turned his five receptions into 51 yards and two TDs.
Granted, the Lions did come up with 32 points in the meeting, but there was still at least one shining star on the Calgary defense in Charleston Hughes who delivered three sacks on just four total tackles. Last year, Hughes ranked second in the league in sacks with a total of 11.
For his efforts, Hughes was named the CFL's Defensive Player of the Week.
As for the Roughriders, their battle with Edmonton last Saturday afternoon was not nearly as competitive as the other three contests during the first week of the season. In fact, with 14 unanswered points in the first quarter and a lopsided 22-1 advantage at the break, Saskatchewan was barely challenged during the 39-18 affair.
The win for the Riders was their first at Commonwealth Stadium since posting a 23-20 final back on Sept. 26, 2009.
Like Cornish for the Stampeders, Saskatchewan running back Kory Sheets ripped through the Edmonton defense for 131 yards and a score on 17 carries in the comfortable road victory.
Quarterback Darian Durant threw for just 171 yards on 14-of-22 passing, but three of those completions did find their way into the end zone. Durant could stand to get off to a strong start to the campaign since last year he threw just 20 TDs and had 12 passes picked off.
In news off the field Tuesday, the Roughriders decided to release receiver Greg Carr who caught on pass for five yards in the opener.
As great as the performance by the Saskatchewan offense may have been in the opener, cornerback Dwight Anderson managed to steal away quite a bit of their thunder by being issued a pair of objectionable conduct penalties on the same play. Anderson was initially flagged for having motioned a "choke" sign to the Edmonton bench, and then after being hit with the penalty the defensive back went ballistic.
Coaches and players tried to calm Anderson down and get him off the field, giving him and his dramatic overtures far more attention than needed. Like a petulant child, Anderson has already had Hamilton, Calgary and Montreal turn their backs on him so now it is just a waiting game to see how long he lasts with the Riders.
In 2012, the Stampeders won two of the three regular-season encounters, the first of which went to overtime in Week 4 and was decided on a 16-yard TD strike from Kevin Glenn to Nik Lewis. A month later Calgary posted a 17-10 victory at home, but in late September the Riders managed to come up with a 30-25 triumph at home.
Calgary managed to bounce back from that defeat however, taking down the Riders in the semifinals of the playoffs, 36-30, coming alive with a 19-point second quarter after being shut out in the first frame.
These clubs are also slated to compete against each other on Aug. 9 in Calgary, and then again in Week 18 on the home field of the Stamps as well.
Clearly, defense was not exactly a primary focal point for any team in the league last week, but considering the Stamps have Hughes at their disposal and not someone as disruptive as Anderson, Calgary probably stands a good chance at coming out on top in this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 37, Saskatchewan 28
07/03 11:04:45 ET