CFL Preview - Toronto (3-3) at Calgary (3-3)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 18, 7:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With parity being a running theme in the CFL through the first
seven weeks of action, a couple of squads sitting at 3-3 cross paths on
Saturday, as the Calgary Stampeders host the Toronto Argonauts at McMahon
Both clubs have split their first six games of the 2012 campaign and for
Toronto that means being in a three-way tie for first place in the East
Division with both Hamilton and Montreal. Displaying an identical record,
Calgary is tied with Saskatchewan for third overall in the West Division, just
one game behind both Edmonton and British Columbia.
Calgary, which has yet to put together consecutive winning efforts, dumped
Hamilton on August 9 in a 31-20 final on the road. The top scoring program in
the CFL at 31.0 ppg, Calgary was paced by Jon Cornish who not only galloped for
a career-high 170 yards and scored once on 20 carries coming out of the
backfield, he also caught a team-best six passes for another 47 yards for the
visitors. Because of his efforts, Cornish was not only named the Canadian
Player of the Week, he also earned Offensive Player of the Week in the CFL as
Kevin Glenn hit on 15-of-28 passing for 141 yards and a major as well. Backup
quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and wide receiver Romby Bryant both contributed
with rushing touchdowns in the second half to help with the offensive effort.
Toronto should be well rested since a poor showing against British Columbia
back on August 6 when it came up short in an 18-9 loss to British Columbia at
home. Ricky Ray and the rest of the Argos offense struggled as they generated a
mere 252 yards on 72 snaps, the signal-caller completing 25-of-34 for 215 yards
while pulling himself off the carpet four times and tossing three
interceptions. If not for kicker Swayze Waters and his three successful field
goals, the effort would have been even more dire as Toronto saw a two-game win
streak come to an end.
Toronto has had a couple of lackluster scoring efforts so far this season and
that has led the squad to seventh in the league in overall scoring at 23.0 ppg.
Now in his 10th CFL season, Ray had his worst game with his newest team the
last time out, his efficiency rating at just 52.9. Ray is still completing
close to 70 percent of his pass attempts, the top number of any regular starter
in the league, but with his team tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns (three)
in the league, he is having to shoulder most of the offensive burden.
Trying to make an impact in any way he can, Chad Owens continues to be inserted
into the offense and is again the top player in the league in terms of combined
yards with 1,460 already. Owens, who is well on his way to reaching 3,000
combined yards for the third straight season, is currently third in the league
with 465 receiving yards, scoring three times on 35 receptions.
The Stampeders have their own receiving specialist in Nik Lewis who is second
in yards (484) and first among all players with 43 catches and seven
touchdowns. Already having scored two more touchdowns than he did all of last
season, Lewis was rewarded late last week with a contract extension that could
keep him in a Calgary uniform until he decides to retire.
Lewis, who began his CFL career with Calgary back in 2004, has registered at
least 1,000 receiving yards in all eight of his campaigns leading up to this
year. Averaging better than 14 yards per catch, Lewis needs just 284 more yards
to reach 10,000 for his career.
While the Stamps put much of their faith in Lewis, Toronto had been attempting
to exploit defenses by handing the ball to Cory Boyd who currently leads the
league in rushing with 447 yards on 82 attempts. However Boyd, who has scored
only twice on the ground thus far, was just released by the team on Sunday as
the squad opted to move in a different direction as far as their style at
running back was concerned.
With Boyd no longer in the picture, the Argos apparently have decided to give
the starting nod to Chad Kackert who, after running for 349 yards and four
touchdowns last year, has carried the ball just twice for minus three yards in
Toronto won the first meeting of the season between the teams back on July 7 by
a score of 39-36 at home. In that contest the Argos scored in every quarter,
but it was a 28-yard field goal by Noel Prefontaine as time expired that pushed
the hosts into the win column. Controlling the ball for more than 36 minutes,
the Argonauts were led by Ray who threw for 407 yards and two touchdowns,
shaking off a couple of interceptions, while Boyd tacked on a game-high 101
yards and a score on 20 rushing attempts. Glenn completed 15-of-19 passing for
172 yards and two scores, but he was also sacked three times and threw a pair
of picks in the setback for the visitors.
In terms of the all-time, regular-season series between the squads, Calgary is
ahead by a slim 41-40-1 margin dating back to 1945. However, the Argos have
stepped up and taken four straight decisions.
The change in running back may give the Argonauts a bit of a spark for the time
being, but the team will only go as far as Ray can take them so it is up to the
quarterback to come to terms with his poor effort the last time out and fix the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toronto 27, Calgary 23
08/15 11:08:38 ET
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