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From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, July 12, 7:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Montreal's Anthony Calvillo expects to have better protection provided by his offensive line in Week 3 action, as the Alouettes contend against the visiting Calgary Stampeders on Friday night.
After getting over on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the season opener, 38-33, the Alouettes took a huge step backwards on July 4 when the team was beaten and bruised by those same Bombers at home, 19-11. Calvillo, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the history of the CFL, and in professional football for that matter, was targeted far too many times by the Winnipeg defense to be effective.
Now just 1,121 passing yards shy of an astounding 80,000 for his illustrious career, Calvillo was caught in the cross hairs far too often while being sacked seven times in the awkward offensive performance at Percival Molson Stadium.
The veteran signal-caller finished the meeting 16-of-28 for a mere 121 yards and a touchdown, but was also intercepted twice as the Als limited their opportunities to score. Calvillo, who did manage to extend his consecutive games streak with at least one passing score to 19, also lost a fumble.
That one major for Montreal was registered by S.J. Green on a 17-yard reception late in the fourth quarter, giving the Als a sliver of hope before they suffered their first loss of 2013.
In addition to Calvillo being a live tackling dummy for the Bombers, the other disappointing aspect of the offense for the home team was running back Noel Devine who carried the ball just two times for a total of seven yards after being a significant part of the effort in the opener while filling in for Brandon Whitaker.
Whitaker's return to action only brought with it 33 rushing yards and 23 receiving on 15 total touches, the team finishing with a mere 161 total yards in the outing.
As for the Stampeders, they too experienced a power failure in the second game of the season, albeit after scoring 21 points in the first half versus Saskatchewan on the road. Calgary, which led by seven at the break, was held scoreless the rest of the way while the Roughriders rustled up 22 unanswered points in the second half in order to claim a 36-21 triumph and remain the lone undefeated team in the league after two weeks of action.
Calgary quarterback Drew Tate, who tossed three touchdowns in the season opener versus British Columbia, added another two against the Riders as he completed 19-of-25 passes for 231 yards. However, Tate took a seat on the bench late in the contest in favor of Kevin Glenn who hit on four of his seven attempts for 41 yards, but was sacked once and tossed an interception.
Running back Jon Cornish went from piling up a massive 172 yards and two scores on the ground in the opener to having just 42 yards on eight carries in Week 2.
While the setback certainly stung the Stamps, a squad which controlled the ball for barely 24 minutes in the meeting, more disappointing news came out late Monday when it was announced that Tate had been diagnosed with a muscle strain in his throwing arm. While Tate did participate in practice on Monday, an MRI taken over the weekend revealed the injury and now places his appearance against Montreal in jeopardy.
Should the Stamps have to install Glenn as the starter this week, that might not be such a bad thing for the visitors since he does rank 11th all-time in passing yards in the CFL with close to 37,000 and has a completion rate of 61.7 percent.
Obviously, while Calgary has to figure out who will be standing under center this time around, the Als don't have that problem with Calvillo, the league's all-time leader in completions (5,813) and touchdowns (451), but if he is again subjected to increased pressure in the pocket there's no telling how long before he takes a seat on the bench.
In terms of the relationship between these two squads dating back to 2004, they've split a total of 18 meetings. Last year these teams met twice within the first three weeks of action, with each winning on its home field. Calgary recorded a 38-10 victory in the season opener, but just 11 days later the Als returned the favor with a narrow 33-32 triumph.
Montreal, which is slated to play the same opponent in back-to-back games a total of four times this season, is scheduled to turn the trick again next week when the team plays in Calgary to complete the season series with the Stamps.
These are two of the most successful squads in the league since 2008, with Calgary posting a mark of 60-31-1 and the Als close behind with 60 wins in 92 opportunities, so expect a hotly-contested match that should favor the home team, as long as Calvillo can stay upright long enough.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 27, Calgary 24
07/10 10:35:32 ET