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From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, October 26, 9:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The top two teams in the Western Division get together once again this week, as the Calgary Stampeders clash with the British Columbia Lions at McMahon Stadium on Friday night.
The Lions, the defending Grey Cup Champions, are sitting pretty right now with 12 wins in 16 opportunities, their 24 total points leading the entire league. Already having sewn up the regular-season title in the West, BC is assured of hosting the division finals on Nov. 18.
While Calgary has had to bounce back from a disappointing 2-3 start to the campaign, the team has also wrapped up a spot in the postseason and is due to host an as-yet-unknown opponent on Nov. 11 in the Western Division Semifinals as well.
Last week, the Stamps posted their second straight win and the third in the last four outings with a narrow 34-32 decision over Hamilton at home. Calgary actually went scoreless through the first period of play and then turned up the heat from the second quarter on, beginning with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Keon Raymond.
Running back Jon Cornish was limited to just 27 rushing yards on 13 carries, his longest single run clocking in at 14 yards, but he did score once on the ground and was a critical piece in the aerial game as he caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown as he was named the CFL's Canadian of the Week.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn had TD passes of seven and 56 yards to Cornish and Maurice Price, respectively, while backup signal-caller Bo Levi Mitchell recorded a one-yard scoring run of his own to help the cause. Unfortunately for Glenn, he allowed the Tiger-Cats to hang around and make things interesting due to his four interceptions on the day.
While Calgary was holding on for dear life in order to pull off the win against the 'Cats, British Columbia had no such worries as the team throttled visiting Edmonton in a 39-19 final last Friday night. Perhaps most surprising about the lopsided win for the Lions was that Travis Lulay was nowhere to be found as he rested an ailing back instead of putting himself in the cross- hairs.
Stepping in for Lulay was backup Mike Reilly who, in anticipation of Lulay's potential absence, took snaps with the first team during practice and the extra work proved beneficial as he converted 19-of-28 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, against just one interception. Reilly, who is again ready to go if Lulay opts to rest his ailing body once more, was sacked four times in the meeting yet still added to the team's overall rushing attack with his 43 yards on just four carries.
Continuing to show just how valuable he is for the Lions, kicker Paul McCallum was at it again last week with six field goals in as many tries, finishing with 21 points which means he now has an astounding 173 points in 16 games.
On the defensive side of the ball, BC produced seven sacks of Edmonton starter Kerry Joseph and eight sacks overall as they assumed the top spot in the league in that department with 41. Adam Bighill and Brandon Jordan both registered a couple of sacks, but it is defensive end Keron Williams who still paces the league with his 11 quarterback takedowns.
Even though the BC defense tends to hit anything that moves, it should be noted that because the offense has taken such great care of the ball through 16 games, the Lions currently lead the league with a plus-10 in the turnover department. The league record for the fewest turnovers in a single season stands at 28 recorded by Ottawa in 1967 and this same BC club just six years ago. Unless something dramatic takes place in the coming weeks, these Lions should blow that number away.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Stamps have the same number of takeaways as BC (29), but are still sixth in the league overall with a minus-seven in total turnovers.
In terms of the all-time, regular-season series between these two clubs, Calgary owns a 94-77-5 advantage over the Lions, but it was BC that posted a 27-22 victory in the most recent meeting earlier this month in Vancouver. With the victory British Columbia has now taken four in a row and six of the last seven in the series, one that dates back to 1954.
Both of these teams have their postseason tickets already punched so you never know who might be taking a seat on the bench and when in order to save them for the more important games in a few weeks. As long as Reilly can continue to develop and learn the BC way, expect to see the Lions back in the win column again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 31, Calgary 24
10/24 11:35:37 ET
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