CFL Preview - Calgary (3-4) at Saskatchewan (3-4)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 25, 3:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Drifting to the bottom of the Western Division standings in the CFL
because of a four-game slide, the Saskatchewan Roughriders try to break out of
their slump this Saturday as they entertain the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic
Tied with Calgary for third place in the division, the Roughriders began the
2012 campaign with a bang, or rather a series of bangs as they opened with
three consecutive wins over Hamilton, Edmonton and British Columbia by a
combined 46 points. However, since the triumph over the Lions the Riders have
come up empty in terms of victories and have watched their scoring production
drop each week.
Last Sunday, the team hit a season-low with a mere five points in a 19-point
setback against BC on the road. Saskatchewan actually scored the first points
of the meeting, thanks to a 36-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis late in the
first quarter, but after that the offense was never heard from again. In fact,
the other two points came courtesy of BC kicker Paul McCallum who chose to
concede in his own end zone rather than risk kicking away.
Darian Durant started the game at quarterback for the Roughriders, converting
18-of-27 passes for 170 yards, but he was sacked twice and threw three
interceptions, prompting the coaching staff to send in Drew Willy to see if he
could do any damage. The backup converted all but one of his seven pass
attempts for 54 yards, but he was no more effective than Durant.
Running back Kory Sheets caught five passes for 49 yards, but his mere 28 yards
on the ground, while a team-high, was indicative of how poorly the team ran the
While the Roughriders were struggling to find their way on offense last week,
the Stampeders were also trying to shake off a sluggish start against Toronto
at home, but still suffered a 22-14 setback. Held scoreless in both the first
and third quarters, the only points scored by Calgary prior to a late TD pass
from Kevin Glenn to Chris Bauman in the fourth frame, came courtesy of Rene
Paredes on a pair of field goals of 18 and 14 yards in the second quarter.
Glenn finished the meeting 22-of-33 for 292 yards, was sacked two times and
picked off once. Jon Cornish, coming off a career game against Hamilton during
which he ran for 170 yards on 20 carries and gained another 47 yards on six
pass receptions to be named both the CFL Offensive and Canadian Player of the
Week, was limited to just 43 yards on 12 attempts and caught one ball for
another 28 yards.
Cornish, who ran for 863 yards and nine touchdowns last season as he carried
the ball 119 times and fumbled just once, is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this
year which is a career low. Cornish, who has four TDs on the ground to his
credit, has also put the ball on the turf twice on 84 carries thus far.
Ranked sixth in the conference in total rushing yards with 412 through seven
games, Cornish is a reliable part of the offense for the Stampeders, but at
the same time is one of only two of the top 12 rushers in the league who is
averaging less than five yards per carry.
Glenn is in the middle of the pack when it comes to passing here in 2012,
posting slightly better than 1,500 yards, leading to eight touchdowns and five
interceptions, and still this is a unit that is third in the league in scoring
with 28.6 ppg.
Working against the Stamps is a defense that is tied for the fewest takeaways
in the league with just 10, which means the squad overall is tied with Hamilton
for the worst turnover margin at minus-seven.
Even though he had issues finding running lanes last week, Sheets is still the
league leader in rushing with 468 yards and has scored a league-high six
rushing touchdowns as well. Add to that his ability to make himself available
in the passing game and it is easy to see how Sheets leads the CFL in yards
from scrimmage with 762.
When Glenn isn't leaning so heavily on Sheets, he is often searching out
possession receiver Weston Dressler who has a team-best 44 catches for 539
yards and four touchdowns. Non-import Chris Getzlaf is second on the team with
28 catches, but he has just two trips to the end zone and none since the
fourth week of the season.
The losing streak for the Riders actually began against Calgary on the road
back on July 19 when the Stamps slipped by in a 41-38 overtime decision. In
that contest Glenn threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-
winner, a 16-yard strike to Nik Lewis in the extra session. Lewis had a huge
game of his own as he turned seven receptions into 98 yards and three scores
for the victors.
Sheets ran for a game-high 72 yards and two majors for the visitors, while
Durant and Willy combined to throw three TDs of their own in the losing cause.
With that victory Calgary now owns a 118-87-9 advantage in the all-time,
regular-season series with the Riders dating back to 1945. The Stamps have won
six in a row and seven of the last eight matchups overall.
This game could easily come down to which one of the running backs gets off to
a strong start. Both need to rebound from lackluster efforts during Week 8 and
with the hometown crowd behind him, Sheets should be the one to answer the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 27, Calgary 21
08/22 11:12:43 ET
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