Calgary Stampeders

Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders Square Off in West Final

CALGARY, AB, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 2:  Maurice Price #17 celebrates his touchdown with teammate Brad Sinopoli #3 of the Calgary Stampeders in their game against the Edmonton Eskimos in the first half of their CFL football game September 2, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Todd Korol/Getty Images)
Todd Korol/Getty Images
Jim FlanneryAnalyst INovember 16, 2013

The West Division representative in the 101st Grey Cup will be determined on Sunday when the Calgary Stampeders host the Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon Stadium

Saskatchewan is coming off a big win against the BC Lions last weekend, beating the Lions 29-25, and the Roughriders badly want to advance to the Grey Cup, which is being played on their home turf in Mosaic Stadium

Calgary finished the regular season with the best record in the CFL at 14-4. That first-place finish earned the Stamps the bye through the first round of the playoffs.

They're now hopeful they can return to the Grey Cup after losing to the Toronto Argonauts in last year's final by a decisive 35-22 score.

The Stamps are going to have their hands full on Sunday, however. They lost three key players to injury in their final regular-season game: Defensive linemen Demonté Bolden and Micah Johnson both suffered knee injuries, and top receiver Marquay McDaniel sustained a high ankle sprain.

The good news is that the bye week has given them a chance to try some new players on the D-line and allowed some other players who were injured earlier in the season to finally be ready to go again.

Junior Turner, Etienne Legare, Freddie Bishop and Earl Okine have all taken reps on the defensive line in the last week. Receivers Brad Sinopoli and Joe West are now recovered from injuries and should both be good to go in place of McDaniel.

Running back Jon Cornish was yet another casualty of the final week of the schedule, suffering a shoulder injury, but the extra week off should see him feeling much better and ready to lead the ground attack.

Said starting quarterback Kevin Glenn, via CFL.ca, "Getting guys acclimated with the positions they may play in this game was big. Having those practices and letting those guys work in those positions, it helped having that bye."

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 11: Darian Durant #4 of the Saskatchewan Roughriders throws during CFL game action against the Toronto Argonauts on July 11, 2013 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

On the Saskatchewan side of things, the Riders should be ready to go and eager to beat the Stamps in their own house. 

Slotback Chris Getzlaf will be back after an injury that kept him out of last week's contest, giving quarterback Darian Durant a full complement of targets in the passing game. 

With the Calgary D-line dealing with a potential weakness in the middle, Durant might also be able to exploit them for extra yards on the ground. Durant ran for 97 yards on just six carries last weekend against BC, so if he sees a hole between the always dangerous pass rush of Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law, he's liable to call his own number and take off.

There is typically a massive crowd of watermelon-clad Roughriders fans at games in Calgary, so home-field advantage is probably not going to be much of a factor. That means the game is anyone's to win. The action gets underway at 6:30 p.m. MST.

 

Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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