CFL Preview - British Columbia (0-0) at Calgary (0-0)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, June 28, 10:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: While the city of Calgary deals with devastating flood waters that
could take up to 10 years to rebound from by some estimates, the Stampeders
and the British Columbia Lions go about the business of playing football in
their season opener on Friday night at McMahon Stadium.
While McMahon stands some distance away from where torrential rain and
overflowing rivers created havoc in the downtown area, there was still some
minor damage to the facility, but not enough to keep the game from being
Under the direction of head coach and general manager John Hufnagel, the
Stampeders finished the 2012 regular season with a record of 12-6, just two
points behind BC which won the regular season crown in the West Division with
13 wins and only five defeats. While Calgary had to take part in the first
round of playoff games, the team managed to defeat Saskatchewan, 36-30, in
order to set up a meeting with the Lions in the West Division Championship.
The teams also met on Nov. 18, with Calgary slipping by with a 34-29 triumph,
en route to a date against Toronto in the 100th Grey Cup. Unfortunately for
the Stamps, while they may have been the more successful squad during the
regular season, they simply could not keep up with the Argos in what became a
35-22 Grey Cup win for Toronto at home at Rogers Centre.
In terms of the regular season, Calgary finished with four straight wins and
five victories in six tries down the stretch in 2012. British Columbia tallied
four wins over five games during the last month of the regular season, pushing
the Lions to a 13-5 mark overall on their 16th straight trip to the postseason
(second-longest active streak in the CFL behind Montreal).
BC, which won the Grey Cup at home in 2011 and has a total of six such
trophies dating back to the 1960s, is coached by Mike Benevides who took over
for Wally Buono when the latter decided to focus all of his energies on being
A defensive-minded coach who at one time served as the special teams
coordinator for the Stamps from 2000-02, Benevides guided his squad to the top
of the charts in terms of yards allowed last season, as the Lions permitted
just 294.6 ypg. BC was head and shoulders above the rest of the league in that
department, the only team giving up less than 330 ypg in fact. Because the
defense was so stout, the Lions placed second in the CFL with a plus-nine in
the turnover department.
While the defense should be just as tough again this season, the Lions also
have one of the top offensive weapons in the league at their disposal in
Andrew Harris. The running back led the CFL in yards from scrimmage in 2012
with 1,830, placing third in rushing with 1,112 yards, leading to seven
Like Harris, also claiming a spot on the CFL West All-Star team was Tim Brown
who finished second in the league in all-purpose yards with 2,687, a total
which was the second-highest in franchise history.
A division all-star in his own right, quarterback Travis Lulay was one of only
two signal-callers to have an efficiency rating of over 100.0 a year ago, his
66.5 percent accuracy and 27 touchdowns being complemented by a mere 10
interceptions on 520 attempts.
Trying to slow down Lulay will be Charleston Hughes who was second in the CFL
in sacks a year ago with 11, sandwiched between a pair of performers (Keron
Williams and Adam Bighill) who combined for 21 quarterback takedowns.
Unfortunately for the Stamps, no one else on the roster had more than four
sacks last season.
While Hughes goes on the attack at the line of scrimmage, Keon Raymond will
handle the secondary and hopefully make Lulay think twice about taking a shot
further down the field based on the fact that Raymond was tied for second in
the league with five interceptions, one of which he returned for a score in
2012. Signed to a contract barely a week ago, defensive back Jonathan Hefney
comes to the Stamps after leading Winnipeg in total tackles with 74 a year
Offensively, much of the attention will be placed on Jon Cornish who not only
led the league in rushing last season with 1,457 yards, he also set the
league's all-time, single-season mark in that department for a Canadian born
Kevin Glenn, responsible for 4,220 passing yards and 25 TDs through the air,
but also 16 interceptions which was second-most in the league, is back to
direct the Calgary offense. However, Glenn knows full well that backups Drew
Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell will be pushing him for playing time.
In 2012 BC won the first two meetings against the Stamps, the initial clash
being a 34-8 romp on the road in late July and the second a 27-22 decision at
home the first week of October. The clubs then met in Week 18 in Calgary where
the hosts crushed the Lions, 41-21.
The squads have three more regular season contests scheduled against each
other for 2013, the next one coming in the middle of August with the Lions
It still might be a tough task for fans to find the time, energy and ease to
attend this game, but the Lions and Stamps still plan on being there in full
force. Presumably, those in attendance will give the home team the lift it
needs to get over on BC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 24, British Columbia 20
06/26 10:33:02 ET
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