2014 Grey Cup: Stampeders and Tiger-Cats Battle for the Championship

Jim Flannery@@calgaryjimboAnalyst INovember 28, 2014

Brandon Banks (left) could be a difference-maker for the Ti-Cats in the Grey Cup
Brandon Banks (left) could be a difference-maker for the Ti-Cats in the Grey CupDerek Leung/Getty Images

Following a pair of decisive victories in the CFL's Division Finals last weekend, the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will face each other on November 30 in the 102nd Grey Cup.

The Stamps (15-3) and Ti-Cats (9-9) were the top teams in their respective divisions and played like it on Sunday. Hamilton handily dispatched the Montreal Alouettes 40-24 while Calgary beat the Edmonton Eskimos 43-18.

Brandon Banks swung the tide of battle for the Ti-Cats by returning two punts for touchdowns en route to 226 punt return yards, a new playoff record.

Quarterback Zach Collaros had a solid game in his first postseason start, going 18-of-27 for 199 yards through the air. But it was Banks and running back Nic Grigsby (93 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards and two touchdowns) who made the difference offensively.

Hamilton's defense snagged three interceptions to short-circuit Montreal's offense, which actually produced 43 more yards than that of the Tiger-Cats.

Hamilton has now won eight of its last 10 games and appears to have some good momentum built up going into the Grey Cup.

Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell will try to lead the Stamps to victory.
Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell will try to lead the Stamps to victory.USA TODAY Sports

The Stampeders are also on a bit of a roll. They've won six of their last seven, giving up only 19 points per game during that stretch while scoring 29.6 points per game.

In addition to the success, Calgary will be going into the Grey Cup with as healthy a roster as they've had in quite some time.

Running back Jon Cornish, who led the league in rushing with 1,082 yards despite playing in just nine regular-season games, appears to be healthy and ready to go after picking up 174 all-purpose yards and two TDs last weekend in the Division Final against Edmonton.

Bo Levi Mitchell, who was sidelined for three games during the season, threw for 336 yards and four TDs in his first postseason start last weekend.

After missing all of October and most of November, linebacker Charleston Hughes was back in the lineup last Sunday, earning a tackle in the win.

For the Tiger-Cats, this will be their second straight trip to the championship game after getting trounced 45-23 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in last year's Grey Cup. Although they are still fairly young—and they have a different QB this year, with Collaros replacing Henry Burris—they should be able to use last year's experience to their advantage.

The Stamps made it to the Grey Cup in 2012, where they too were soundly defeated, losing 35-22 to the Toronto Argonauts

Like Hamilton, they also have a different quarterback nowKevin Glenn was Calgary's QB in 2012but largely feature the same roster which will be drawing on that Grey Cup experience when it takes the field on Sunday.

Calgary and Hamilton faced each other twice in the regular season, with the Stampeders winning both matchups. However, both came in the first half of the season while the Ti-Cats were struggling.

With both teams currently on a roll, it is really anybody's game to win.

The 102nd Grey Cup gets underway at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, at 6:00 pm ET on Sunday.

 

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