Quarterback Henry Burris ran for a touchdown and passed for another as the Stampeders avenged their Labour Day drubbing by Edmonton with a 30-20 victory over the Eskimos on Friday night.
The win propelled the Stampeders (7-3) back into first place in the CFL’s West Division and extended their win streak on the road to five games.
Calgary coach John Hufnagel wasn’t about to divulge the secret to his team’s success away from McMahon Stadium.
“We’ve been a good road team this year, but I don’t want to say anything and jinx ourselves,” he said. “It was a hard-fought battle. We had to play better than we did on Monday to have a chance to win. We won a close ball game to a good team.”
Burris says his Stamps were able to regroup during the four days off and come out Friday the more physical club.
"We didn’t come into that game in Calgary with the right mind state," said Burris. "Edmonton delivered the blows and were the more physical team in the first game. Our offensive line took that personally. They came out and allowed us to establish our running game with our two-headed monster attack.”
Edmonton fell back to second place in the West at 6-4, but still won two out of the three games against Calgary this year to claim the season series.
Calgary started the game with a quality opening drive but were forced to settle for a 39-yard Rene Paredes field goal.
Edmonton responded with a field goal of its own, squandering a huge 56-yard passing play to Adarius Bowman when Jerome Messam dropped a touchdown pass while completely in the clear.
“I don’t know if that changed the game, but I do know it was an important play,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed.
The Stampeders kept the kicking exchange going with a field goal with four minutes to go in the opening frame, and following that up with a punt single to close the quarter with a 7-3 lead.
Calgary added yet another three-pointer five minutes into the second, with Edmonton kicking another field goal of its own five minutes later.
It wasn’t until the final play of the first half that the game saw any offensive fireworks. Burris threw up a Hail Mary pass that ended up being tipped by an Edmonton defender and into the waiting arms of Nik Lewis. The receiver bounced off another Eskimo and scampered into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown and a 17-6 Stampeder lead at the mid-mark.
“I have the arm, so if they can buy me a couple of seconds to get it off I thought I could get it down there,” Burris said. "We have some guys that have a good nose for the ball. (Lewis) is the best there is. Once he is that close to the end zone, it is hard to keep him from getting in.
"It gave us some mojo going into half time.”
Reed said a fundamental mistake was made on the play.
“You always knock the ball down instead of tipping it in the air,” he said.
Calgary had 12 first downs and 274 yards of offence in the first half compared to just two first downs and 108 yards for Edmonton.
With the Eskimos offence stuttering, it was up to the defence to try and wake the team up as Chris Thompson stepped in front of a Burris pass and took the ball down to the Calgary 33, midway through the third. However, Edmonton was only able to get a 24-yard Derek Schiavone field goal to show for the play.
The Stampeders responded with yet another field goal of their own on their next possession.
Damon Duval came in as Edmonton’s kicker and missed a 45-yard field goal attempt, earning a single to make it a 20-10 game heading into the fourth.
Edmonton pulled to within a touchdown with nine minutes to play on a Schiavone field goal.
However, Calgary quickly extended its lead as a 51-yard passing play to Ken-Yon Rambo led to a Burris TD run from 13 yards out for a 27-13 advantage.
The Eskimos finally were able to put a major on the scoreboard with three and a half minutes to play as backup QB Kerry Joseph plunged across the goal line from the one.
But the Stampeders were able to put the game out of reach on their next possession, a long drive down field which resulted in a Paredes field goal and plenty of time off the clock.
Paredes finished with five field goals.
The Eskimos visit Hamilton next Friday while the Stamps host the B.C. Lions next Saturday.
Notes: Eskimo receiver Fred Stamps returned to the lineup after missing more than a month after being kicked in the groin in an Aug. 5 game against Winnipeg. ... The Stampeders came into the match with a 5-2 record in their last seven visits to Commonwealth Stadium, including two wins in a row. ... Edmonton was 2-6 in its last eight games against the Stampeders but had won both previous meetings this season in Calgary, winning 24-29 in July and 35-7 on Labour Day Monday. ... Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray moved into fifth place on the CFL’s all-time completion list, passing Matt Dunigan. ... The Stamps have committed very few turnovers this season (17) but had four against Edmonton last week. That compared to four turnovers in the five games previous. ... The Stamps are currently on their longest road winning streak since winning eight straight in 1994-95. The franchise record is 13 straight road wins set in 1948 and 1949. .... The attendance for the game was 45,672.