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From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Monday, September 2, 5:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders get familiar with each other as they play the first of two games, in a span of just four days, on Monday afternoon at McMahon Stadium.
These two West Division programs, which will again meet up on Friday in Edmonton, couldn't be more different after eight games here in 2013. The Stampeders have dropped just two decisions, putting them in second place in the standings behind Saskatchewan, while the Eskimos are suffering from a six- game slide since their first and only win of the campaign versus Hamilton back in early July.
However, Edmonton did show some signs of life last Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium when it went down to the wire versus the Roughriders in what became a 30-27 setback at home. The outcome spoiled the efforts of quarterback Mike Reilly who converted 19-of-29 pass attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns, although he was sacked three times and tossed a couple of interceptions along the way.
Reilly also generated a team-best 76 yards on the ground as he carried the ball eight times.
Receiver Fred Stamps had a strong game as well for the Esks, reeling in eight ball for 111 yards and two scores.
While Edmonton was suffering yet another defeat, dropping it even further behind in the standings, the Riders remained close to the top of the division with a 35-14 romp over Toronto on the road in Week 9 action. The victory also served to snap what had been a six-game losing streak for Calgary at Rogers Centre.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn hit on 14-of-20 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns for the visitors, while backup signal-caller Bo Levi Mitchell completed four of his six pass attempts and also ran for a score in the lopsided decision that saw Toronto QB Ricky Ray exit with an injury.
Marquay McDaniel caught seven passes for 106 yards and a score, while the other notable performance involved kicker Rene Paredes who made three of his four field goal attempts, which means his CFL record of consecutive field goal conversions was snapped at 39 in a row. Nevertheless, before the run could end for Paredes, he also passed former NFL kicker Gary Anderson for pro football's all-time consecutive field goals mark in the regular season and playoffs combined with a staggering 47 straight.
The impressive win for Calgary took place without several key defensive players who were suffering from injury, as well as receiver Nik Lewis who suffered a broken leg and ankle tendon damage against British Columbia in the middle of the month.
With Lewis unavailable, the next best option to move the ball further down the field is now McDaniel who has reeled in 36 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
Also out of action last week for Calgary was star running back Jon Cornish who was dealing with a thigh bruise. The CFL's Canadian player of the month for June/July, Cornish is second in the league in rushing with 749 yards, leading to eight touchdowns, while averaging a shade under seven yards per carry. His return to the lineup this week would certainly take some of the pressure off Glenn and the passing attack for Calgary.
On the subject of passing the ball, Reilly is actually second in the league in total passing yardage with 2,031 for Edmonton, resulting in 12 touchdowns, but it is his eight interceptions that take away from his overall performance. As a whole, the Eskimos are averaging only 23.5 ppg, second-fewest in the league, while Calgary is at the other end of the chart with 32.6 ppg, just fractions of a point behind Saskatchewan.
For a team that is just 1-7 at the moment, there are very few positives that can be taken away from the performance of the Esks, but one bright spot involves their ability to hold onto the football as they lead the CFL in fewest lost fumbles with three. Unfortunately, Edmonton is still minus-four in the turnover department, compared to Calgary which has a plus-13 thanks to a league-high 22 takeaways.
While Edmonton may own a 123-86-3 advantage in the all-time series between the clubs, taking into consideration only regular-season matchups dating back to 1949, the Eskimos have been landing in the loss column quite a bit against Calgary of late. The Stamps won the most recent meeting in November by a score of 30-27, giving them five straight victories and 11 and in the last 13 versus Edmonton.
The teams will play each other later this week in Edmonton, and then at the same site on Oct. 18 as well.
While anything is possible these days in the CFL, expecting to see the Eskimos take down a superior division rival, on the road no less, would be a minor miracle right now with the Stamps continuing to chase Saskatchewan in the standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 33, Edmonton 21
08/28 12:06:18 ET