STAMPS (3-11) AT ARGONAUTS (7-5-1) 5 P.M., SKYDOME TV: ROGERS SPORTSNET, RADIO: QR77
The Stampeders are looking to build on their biggest win of the year, a 22-21 thriller over the West Division-leading B.C. Lions. Last Friday's victory snapped a six-game losing streak and kept the club's slim playoff hopes alive. The Argonauts are also coming off an impressive outing in which they upset the Eskimos 26-17 in Edmonton.
Although there are just four games left on the schedule, tonight's tilt will be the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. They'll hook up again in Calgary Oct. 16. The Argos swept the season series last year, winning 41-24 at McMahon Stadium and 13-12 at SkyDome in the regular-season finale. The Red and White have won four of the previous 10 games against Toronto but haven't escaped with a victory from SkyDome since 2000. The Stamps lead the alltime series 33-31-1.
CALGARY -- DL Joe Fleming, S Wes Lysack and FB Scott Regimbald are now in Winnipeg as a result of last weekend's trade. Taking their roster spots are FB Randy Bowles (from the Bombers), DB Terrence Moore and LB Marc Mitchell. DB Nate Terry is in for DB William Fields, LB Joe Bonaventura takes LB Christian Simmerling's spot and third-string QB Tommy Denison dresses in place of Marcus Crandell (hand).
TORONTO -- KR Bashir Levingston's bad hamstring has healed and he returns to the lineup in favour of SB Johnnie Mitchell. DB Raphaol Ball will dress with DB Chuck Winters (ankle) out.
WHEN CALGARY HAS THE BALL -- Rookie QB Michael Souza faces a tall task in his first professional start. The Argonauts defence ranks near the top of the league in nearly all categories against the pass. The Boatmen have surrendered the second- fewest yards through the air (246 per game) and opponents have completed just eight TD passes all season, tops in the CFL. The Argos are suspect against the run, however, and for the first time this season, Calgary has a legitimate threat in the backfield. Joffrey Reynolds, who had 63 yards last week against B.C., will look to exploit a defence that has given up a league-worst 132 yards rushing per game. If Calgary's offensive line can establish the line of scrimmage, which has been a problem in recent weeks, Reynolds could alleviate a lot of pressure off Souza, who was 7-of-16 for 111 yards against the Leos. Freshman WR Nik Lewis continues to make a strong case for rookie-of-the-year honours as he closes in on the 1,000-yard mark. He leads the club with 841.
WHEN TORONTO HAS THE BALL -- QB Michael Bishop, subbing in for injured future Hall of Famer Damon Allen, has led the Boatmen to two wins and a tie in five starts. He has been erratic through the air (three TDs against 11 picks) but efficient along the ground (5.9-yard average and five TDs). He hasn't been helped by an offensive line that has proven to be little more than a brief detour for opponents on their way to their intended destination. The Argos have yielded 38 sacks, one better than league-worst Ottawa, which is atrocious considering the scrambling ability of Toronto's quarterbacks. Calgary LB John Grace, who leads the squad with seven takedowns, could have another monster game. Stamps S Matt McKnight makes his first CFL start after Wes Lysack was shipped to Winnipeg Saturday. Only Calgary has rushed the ball less than the Argos but RB John Avery breathed new life into the ground game last weekend in Edmonton, picking up 129 yards on 21 carries.
The Stamps originally owned the rights to Argos QB Michael Bishop. He was dealt to Toronto along with DL Chuck Walsh and WR Darryl Ray in exchange for LB Michel Dupuis, a 2003 first-round pick (LB Emmanuel Casseus) and TE Deitan Dubuc ... The Argos have won eight of their last nine home dates and are 3-0 against West Division opponents at the SkyDome this season ... Only Toronto (18.6) have scored fewer points per game than Calgary (19.4) ... The two teams have punted a league-high 99 times and also sit Nos. 1 and 2 in punting average. Argos K Noel Prefontaine has booted his way to a 46.3-yard average while Calgary's Charlie Hebert and Clinton Greathouse combined for a 43.6-yard average ... Toronto has run a league-low 901 plays from scrimmage. Montreal leads with 1,071 with Calgary checking in with 1,011, good for sixth spot
Catch all the action tonight on QR77. Jay Donald and Billy Powers will have the pre-game show at 4 p.m. Mark Stephen provides the play-by-play with colour work by Greg Peterson. Join Jay Donald and Bill Powers for the post-game show.