BY: Jeff Schneberk @Game7overtime
The Saskatchewan Roughriders advanced to the 101st Grey Cup in their hometown with a 35-13 upset of the Calgary Stampeders.
The Riders face the Ticats who punched their ticket to this year’s championship with a 36-24 win over the Toronto Argonauts in the East division final earlier yesterday.
For the third straight year, the host city of the Grey Cup has their own team playing in it:
-the Argonauts beat Calgary last year at home
-BC won it at home in 2011 against Winnipeg
-the Riders host Hamilton this year at home
This year’s Cup is a battle between the second-place finishers in each division. The Riders went 11-7 in the regular season, while the Tiger-Cats finished at 10-8 in the East.
Saskatchewan punched their ticket last night as QB Darian Durant completed 24-30 passes for 280-yards with touchdown passes to Rob Bagg, Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf. Running back Kory Sheets also scored on a one-yard drive. Kicker Chris Milo was successful on two of his three field-goal attempts, the two good ones came in the fourth quarter.
View the highlights here: http://www.cfl.ca/video/index/id/93081/autostart/true
Calgary kicker Rene Paredes made both of his field goal attempts. In the second half, Calgary Head Coach switched Kevin Glenn for Drew Tate but it didn’t work. Tate had one touchdown throw to Joe West.
The biggest letdown of the day for the Stamps was probably CFL rushing yards leader Jon Cornish. Picked up only 67 rushing yards, most of them came in the second half. Cornish beat Sheets overall during the season, but Sheets kicked his ass in the battle of the two last night. The Stampeders beat the Riders in both of their head-to-head matches this season.
Despite the lack of performance by the Calgary running game, the biggest disappointment for the Stamps was their seven turnovers.
INJURIES-Going into the game, Calgary’s injury report did not look good, missing starting defensive tackles Micah Johnson and Demonte Bolden.
Calgary had the league’s #1 offence heading into the game, but managed the control the ball on offence for under nine minutes.
Calgary big-mouth Maurice Price, along with Jeff Fuller and Brad Sinopoli each fumbled the football on plays after making the catch, and turned the ball over, and essentially the football game.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES-Glenn’s attempted TD toss in the first quarter was batted down by a Rider defender, he was also picked off twice, and was then yanked to start the second half. He finished the game going 7-13 for 180 yards; Tate did not fare much better at 5-11 for 90 yards.
The Stamps were unable to turn big gains into majors at least twice in the first quarter. After a Glenn toss for 45-yards put the Stamps on the 29, Cornish was tackled for a loss of five. Paredes then had to come on to kick a FG to pull Calgary to within one.
Sunday’s kickoff was under a sunny sky and a temperature of minus-8 in front of 33,174. The windchill made it feel like minus-14 and as the sun dropped, the temperature did too.
Now the Riders have earned the right to play at home for the title next weekend, a re-match of the 1972 Grey Cup game, only this time, they will be the home team.