NEWS
08/10/2011 05:15 EDT | Updated 10/10/2011 05:12 EDT

Calgary Stampeders put unbeaten road mark on line versus struggling Riders

The Calgary Stampeders have been road warriors this season.

The Stampeders are 3-0 away from McMahon Stadium and Friday night face the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-5), who are a dubious 0-3 at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders are also 0-3 versus West Division rivals while Calgary (4-2) is 2-1 and just two points behind first-place Edmonton (5-1).

Playing before its rabid fans last season was advantageous for Saskatchewan, which finished tied with Montreal and Calgary for the CFL's best home record at 7-2.

But Calgary hasn't blown away opponents on the road. Its wins have come by a combined seven points, including a 22-18 victory in Regina on July 30. Quarterback Henry Burris is a combined 60-of-104 passing for 736 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Calgary has been better in the second half on the road, scoring 50 of its 77 points in the third and fourth quarters. The Stampeders outscored B.C. 21-14 in the third quarter and 27-26 in the second half for the 34-32 win July 8 before scoring 11 fourth-quarter points to beat Winnipeg 21-20 on July 14, the Blue Bombers only loss this season.

Defensively, the Stampeders have been stingier in the first half, allowing 25 points compared to 45 in the second half.

Saskatchewan has been outscored 103-71 at home versus Edmonton, Montreal and Calgary despite being in all three games at halftime — trailing the Eskimos 27-20 and Stampeders 13-8 and tied 17-17 with the Alouettes.

Opposing quarterbacks have done well at Mosaic, completing 74-of-106 passes for 968 yards with eight touchdowns against just two interceptions. Montreal's Anthony Calvillo accounted for much of that, completing 29-of-43 passes for 419 yards and five touchdowns in a 39-25 victory on July 9.

Riders' starter Darian Durant has averaged just 245 yards passing at home although he's completed over 60 per cent of his passes and has more TDs (four) than interceptions (three). However, Saskatchewan has committed the second-most turnovers in the CFL (14, including a league-high five times on downs) and its defence has surrendered 19 touchdowns and 30.7 points per game, both tops in the league.

Saskatchewan has generally had to play catchup at home. Opponents have outscored the Riders 31-14 in the first quarter at Mosaic and 29-7 in the third.

Here are some other points worth examining heading into this week's action:

BRUCE DEBUT: Arland Bruce III is expected to make his B.C. debut Saturday night when the Lions host Winnipeg after acquiring him from Hamilton last week.

A three-time CFL all-star, Bruce started the season slowly in Hamilton, registering just nine catches for 104 yards and no TDs before being dealt. Bruce was the league's third-leading receiver last season with 86 catches for 1,303 yards and eight TDs.

The arrival of Bruce gives B.C. (1-5) two big-play receivers. Veteran Geroy Simon (second in CFL with 536 receiving yards on 30 catches) remains among the league's best and needs 881 yards to surpass Milt Stegall as the CFL's all-time receiving leader.

Having both Simon, 35, and Bruce, 33, gives B.C. a formidable one-two punch opposing defences must account for. It also gives quarterback Travis Lulay two viable options each time he drops back to pass.

B.C. will certainly need all the offensive firepower it can muster against Winnipeg (5-1), which boasts the CFL's toughest defence. The Bombers are ranked first in fewest yards allowed (289.5 per game), points allowed (18.8), passing yards allowed (223), touchdowns allowed (eight) and sacks (25).

STEINAUER'S D: Orlando Steinauer will be making the defensive calls for the Toronto Argonauts when they visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night.

Steinauer, a former Argos and Ticats safety who was in his second season as Toronto's secondary coach, was promoted to defensive co-ordinator after Chip Garber was fired following last week's 36-23 road loss to Montreal.

Steinauer takes over a defence that's last in the CFL in yards allowed (407.1 per game), rushing yards allowed (129.8) and second-last in both passing yards (289.3 per game) and points allowed (29.7).

Toronto's weakness against the run was clearly evident against Montreal, which outscored the Argos 9-0 in the third for a commanding 29-13 lead. The Alouettes gained 101 of their 172 yards rushing overall in the quarter.

By comparison, Toronto (1-5) finished minus-3 yards offensively in the quarter en route to dropping its fifth straight game.

But the Ticats (3-3) have been streaky all season. They lost their first two games, then won three straight before losing 32-20 in Calgary last week.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn has a 60.7 per cent completion average with 10 TD strikes against just five interceptions. Offensively, the Ticats are third in scoring (25.3 points per game) and fifth in passing (254.7 yards) despite being ranked last overall in time of possession (18 minutes 42 seconds).

NO STAMPS: Edmonton (5-1) won't have one of its top offensive threats when its faces Montreal (4-2) on Thursday night.

CFL receiving leader Fred Stamps (33 catches, 619 yards, five TDs) is out four-to-six weeks after requiring emergency abdominal surgery. Stamps suffered internal bleeding after being accidentally kicked by Winnipeg's Jonathan Hefney on the first play of the Bombers' 28-16 victory.

Stamps finished the game but was rushed to hospital hours later.

Veteran Jason Armstead takes Stamps' roster spot but replacing him is no easy feat. Slotback Jason Barnes is the Eskimos' second-leading receiver with 23 catches for 396 yards and three TDs, registering eight receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown against Winnipeg.

Quarterback Ricky Ray was 17-of-28 passing for 226 yards but had three interceptions and was sacked four times by Winnipeg.

DUVAL RETURNS: There will be an interesting kicking matchup Thursday night when Edmonton visits Montreal.

Veteran Damon Duval handles Edmonton's kicking and returns to Montreal for the first time since the club opted against re-signing him as a free agent. Instead, the Alouettes dealt their 2012 first-round pick to B.C. for Sean Whyte.

Duval, 31, who spent his first six CFL seasons with Montreal, has performed admirably with Edmonton. He has made 13-of-16 field goals (81.2 per cent) and is tied with Calgary's Burke Dales for the best punting average (46.3 yards).

Duval is also second overall in scoring with 65 points, just two behind Whyte, who is also having a solid campaign.

Whyte. 25, is currently the CFL's most accurate kicker (93.8 per cent), having connected on 15-of-16 field goals. He also sports a 40.1-yard punting average.

"Being in B.C, waiting so long for an opportunity and I finally got a great opportunity with a great team," Whyte said. "I'm trying to make the best of it because I don't want to lose this job.

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