CALGARY -- The Calgary Stampeders came out on top of a furious game of back-and-forth football, as they downed the visiting Edmonton Eskimos 31-30 in Labour Day action at McMahon Stadium.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn completed 23 of his 30 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Jon Cornish registered 94 total yards and a touchdown through the air.
The Labour Day matchup saw the return of several faces to the Eskimos lineup, as both Kerry Joseph and Jerome Messam were inserted into the starting lineup.
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Messam, who was making his first appearance since returning from a stint down south, ultimately forced Eskimos Head Coach Kavis Reed to make Cory Boyd a healthy scratch, giving the Eskimos a backfield that featured two Canadian tailbacks in Messam and Calvin McCarty.
Joseph, meanwhile, took his spot under centre after starting pivot Steven Jyles was deemed unfit to play due to an ankle injury that he suffered during last week’s win over the Argonauts.
The Stampeders offence got off to a furious start after receiving the game’s opening kickoff, a 23-yard return by veteran Larry Taylor.
Glenn and Cornish teamed up for a strong first possession, as they marched into Edmonton territory, garnering 55 yards on seven plays.
However, the drive would eventually stall, as the usually reliable Nik Lewis fumbled after hauling in a 19-yard pass from Glenn.
Fortunately for Lewis, the Eskimos would run into some problems of their own on the drive following the turnover.
After Joseph and the Esks offence failed to produce much traction during their first taste of action, punter Burke Dales fumbled the snap on a third-down punt attempt, handing the Stampeders the ball with excellent field position.
The Stamps would take advantage of Dales’ error, as backup QB Bo-Levi Mitchell punched one in from one-yard out to give Calgary a 7-0 first quarter lead.
The plunge capped off a six-play, 26-yard drive that was highlighted by a 13-yard run by Cornish that ultimately set up Mitchell’s score.
Following another unsuccessful possession by the Eskimos offence, the Stampeders took over, hoping to add to their one-score lead.
But, just as they have been doing all season, the Edmonton defence stepped up in impressive fashion.
After the offence seemed primed to find the endzone for the second time of the half, Glenn’s strike was intercepted by Rod Williams, stopping the drive and swinging momentum back into the Green and Gold’s favour.
This time, the Eskimos would take advantage of the turnover, as Joseph orchestrated an impressive nine-play, 94-yard drive that was capped off by a 35-yard strike to slotback Fred Stamps in the endzone, tying the Labour Day clash up at seven.
The reception was Stamps’ second major of the season, and first since he hauled in a 47-yard pass from Jyles in a Week 5 loss to the Blue Bombers.
Edmonton would add to their first-half lead, as Joseph continued to rack up the yards in his first start as an Eskimo.
The 38-year-old would find tailback Hugh Charles for a 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown, handing the Eskimos a 13-7 lead with less than five minutes to go in the half.
On the extra point attempt, holder Matt Nichols bobbled the snap, and was eventually sacked before he would be able get rid of the ball, keeping Edmonton’s lead at six.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, the ball bounced into the endzone for a single point, giving the Eskimos a one touchdown lead.
|Kerry That Weight|
Kerry Joseph put together a solid performance in his first start since 2009, completing 17 passes for 311 yards and 2 touchdown passes.
Joseph put together an exceptional first half of play, completing 11 of his 14 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
The second half got underway with both defences holding their own against the offensive attacks, as they each held them each to two-straight two-and-outs.
Calgary, however, would change that pattern midway through the third quarter, with Glenn leading the charge on an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was punctuated by a 10-yard touchdown strike to Cornish.
On the play, Cornish rumbled past Esks linebacker JC Sherrit, giving him a slight advantage at the time in what was being billed as the matchup of the game prior to kickoff.
The Stampeders’ third-quarter surge would continue on their very next possession, as once again, Glenn used his aerial attack to lead the drive into Edmonton territory.
On the sixth play of the drive, Glenn would hand it off to Calgary native Matt Walter who trotted into the endzone untouched for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Stampeders a 21-16 lead.
As effective as Joseph may have been in the first half, he was unable to maintain that level into the second. The 10-year veteran entered the fourth quarter without completing a pass, and reached his lowpoint when his errant pass was intercepted by Chris Randle.
The Stampeders would extend their lead five plays later, with kicker Rene Paredes connecting on a 43-yard field goal with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game.
However, Joseph would seemingly settle down again, as he threw a 53-yard completion to Stamps for his first completed pass of the half.
After Joseph brought the drive to the one-yard line, thanks to a nine-yard run that was moved up due to a facemasking penalty on linebacker Deron Mayo, the QB would plunge head-first into a pile, crossing the plane in the process to bring the Esks within two of Calgary's lead.
It was then that momentum would shift back into Edmonton's favour.
On Calgary's first play following Joseph's major, Glenn would see his pass be intercepted by DB Joe Burnett, who returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, giving Edmonton a 30-25 lead.
The interception was Burnett's fourth of the season - good enough for sole possession of the league-lead.
However, with less than two minutes remaining, Glenn would put together another impressive drive, one that was capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass to Taylor for a slim 31-30 lead.
The Eskimos would be given the ball for one last possession, and marched to within field goal territory for kicker Grant Shaw. However, Shaw would miss his attempt, and Taylor would take the ball out of the endzone, securing a 31-30 win for Calgary in the process.
Next Week: The two teams will close out their home-and-home series at Commonwealth Stadium, as the Eskimoss host the Stampeders in Week 11 action. BUY TICKETS
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|