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CFL Preview - Saskatchewan (11-5) at Calgary (13-3)

From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 26, 7 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: For Calgary, the West Division crown is there for the taking this weekend when the Stampeders clash with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 18 action at McMahon Stadium.

Early on this season it appeared as though the Roughriders might cruise to the division title, winning five straight out of the gate and eight of the first nine games on the schedule, but a four-game slide during the month of September, coupled with strong play by Calgary, has opened the door for the Stamps to claim the prize with a win or even a tie this weekend.

The Stampeders are currently enjoying a four-game win streak thanks to a 27-13 victory over Edmonton last week on the road. Quarterback Kevin Glenn completed 16-of-26 passes for 237 yards and just a single touchdown to Marquay McDaniel, but also landing in the end zone was Jamar Wall who returned a fumble 19 yards for a major in the second quarter for Calgary.

Glenn wasn't spectacular by any means, but he did use the opportunity to move into 10th place on the CFL's all-time passing list with 39,211 yards dating back to 2001 when he broke into the league with Saskatchewan.

Having another outstanding game coming out of the backfield for Calgary was running back Jon Cornish, who again earned the league's top Canadian honors for the sixth time this season as he ran for 145 yards on 19 carries.

More than anything else, the Stamps again relied heavily on kicker Rene Paredes, who converted all four of his field goal chances and finished with 14 points overall. Paredes, who earlier this season set the new CFL record for consecutive field goals made, easily leads the league in scoring with 196 points thanks to his near-perfect effort on field goals (49-of-52).

But getting back to Cornish; who currently leads the league in touchdowns with a total of 13 (11 on the ground and two through the air), he is tops in the league in rushing with 1,690 yards with two games remaining, is second in combined yards (2,022), and is the only player in the CFL at this point with more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Barring injury or lack of opportunity due to the Stamps wanting to keep him fresh for the postseason, Cornish should easily break the club record of 2,127 yards from scrimmage in a season, set by Willie Burden back in 1975.

As for the Roughriders, they too have a standout ground gainer on their roster in Kory Sheets and the running back again proved that he is a force to be reckoned with as he produced 148 yards and a score on 25 carries in his team's 35-14 victory over British Columbia, its third consecutive win overall.

For Sheets, who was named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week, it was his ninth 100-yard rushing game of the season, tying him with George Reed for the franchise record. The second-leading rusher in the league with 1,556 yards, even while missing time in September, Sheets is tied for second in the CFL with 12 majors.

Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant wasn't at the top of his game against BC, converting just 13 of his 29 pass attempts as he finished with 187 yards and a score, but he did play well enough to keep the Riders out in front nonetheless. Weston Dressler caught Durant's lone passing score and finished with three receptions for a game-high 107 yards.

Also contributing to the scoring was Weldon Brown who returned a fumble 46 yards for a TD in the first quarter while the Riders were slowly building what would become a 31-7 advantage at halftime. The final score could have possibly been even more lopsided if not for the fact that Saskatchewan committed 11 penalties for a loss of 100 yards.

This matchup is an interesting one for sure, given that Calgary is the top scoring team in the league with 32.1 ppg and the Riders are second in that department with 29.3 ppg. But even more intriguing is the fact that Saskatchewan is the top defensive squad with only 21.2 ppg allowed, and the Stamps are close behind at 22.6 ppg.

With respect to the all-time series between these two clubs, one that takes into account only regular-season matchups dating back to 1946, the Stamps are in charge to the tune of 120-89-9. Calgary won the most recent battle, 42-27, back in early August and has taken eight of the last 10 meetings, although the Riders have won two of the last three to make things interesting.

Saskatchewan has been very strong on the road this season, winning five out of eight opportunities, but on the other side the Stampeders have dominated on their own field with seven victories in eight chances, and with so much riding on this outcome it would be foolish to pick against a favorite at home.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 31, Saskatchewan 26

10/23 11:05:43 ET

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