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CFL Preview - Calgary (9-3) at Hamilton (6-6)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 28, 6:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The only team already locked into the postseason, the Calgary Stampeders attempt to bounce back from just their third loss of the 2013 campaign, as they challenge the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the road at Alumni Stadium on Saturday.
Calgary, which not only leads the Western Division standings but also owns the best overall record in the league after 12 games, had a four-game win streak brought to a halt by Toronto last weekend in a 33-27 final. The loss was the first at home for the Stamps, who are now 5-1 in their own building.
Against the visiting Argonauts, Calgary led at the break in front of the hometown fans, but then scored just two points in the final period of play. Quarterback Kevin Glenn connected on 22-of-33 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also picked off twice in the close call. Fellow quarterbacks Bo Levi Mitchell and Drew Tate also saw action, the latter being credited with two rushing attempts, one of which led to a touchdown in the second quarter.
Calgary ran a total of 81 offensive play, resulting in 363 yards, and yet the Argos came away with 435 yards on five fewer snaps. The pass defense for the Stamps surrendered 330 yards and four touchdowns to Zach Collaros.
As for the Tiger-Cats, while they may have been considered the home team last weekend, their matchup against Montreal actually took place at Stade Moncton Stadium in New Brunswick. In unfamiliar territory, Hamilton still managed to pull off a 28-26 win, thanks to a 15-point, fourth-quarter explosion.
Currently second in the Eastern Division standings with a 6-6 mark, trailing only Toronto, the Ticats leaned on kicker Brett Lauther who knocked through all four of his field goal attempts and finished with 14 points overall. Quarterback Henry Burris completed just 15 of his 27 pass attempts, resulting in 176 yards and an interception. While Burris was being sacked four times and failed to get a pass into the end zone, Andy Fantuz took care of the latter with a 10-yard major to Marc Beswick in the second frame.
Also reaching the end zone for Hamilton was backup signal caller Dan LeFevour who, during one of his nine rushing attempts, crossed the goal line from a yard out in the first half. LeFevour accounted for 62 of the team's 102 rushing yards.
With 187 rushing yards on the season, LeFevour is actually third on the team in that department, his three majors placing him second behind only CJ Gable who has paired his five touchdowns with a team-best 437 rushing yards to give Burris at least some measure of an option coming out of the backfield.
The production by Burris the last time out fell far short of his typical effort over the last several weeks. As the leading passer in the CFL with 3,765 yards, on 66.6 percent accuracy, Burris saw his run of consecutive games with at least 300 yards passing snapped at five in a row. The signal caller also saw his run of consecutive games with at least one passing touchdown halted at seven straight. Only twice this season has Burris failed to hook up with a teammate for an aerial score.
Over on the other side, Glenn has been sporadic at best, missing time along the way and given Mitchell a chance to show his ability. Glenn has thrown at least one touchdown in seven straight games, but still he has just nine TDs overall, while completing 68.2 percent of his throws. Mitchell has 10 TD passes and one less interception (three).
Despite being held out of the end zone for four straight games, running back Jon Cornish is still someone that defenses have to keep an eye on because when he gets on a roll he is difficult to stop. Cornish, one of the top Canadians in the league, has four games with at least 100 yards rushing and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, his total of 1,093 yards being good enough for second in the CFL heading into action this week.
These two teams met up just a couple of weeks ago in Calgary where the hosts pulled off a 26-22 win. Trailing by nine points in the third quarter, the Stamps closed out the contest on a 13-0 run, with the game-winning touchdown coming on a 15-yard pass from Mitchell to Marquay McDaniel.
With the victory, Calgary has now won three in a row and seven of the last eight encounters with the 'Cats. The win also pushed Calgary's series advantage, in games during the regular season dating back to 1961, to 54-30.
With the pressure mounting on all the teams in the CFL as the regular season winds down, at least the Stampeders know that they'll be playing into the postseason. While there's no guarantee yet for Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats have to make sure they play mistake-free football this weekend, or at least keep miscues to a minimum.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hamilton 30, Calgary 27
09/25 10:42:40 ET