Perfect storm

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

Renegades 33

Stampeders 18

Thunder and lightning hit Frank Clair Stadium last night.

Oh, yeah, there was a storm, too.

Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph threw some lightning bolts to receiver Yo Murphy and running back Josh Ranek rumbled for runs of 61 and 66 yards and a record total of 164 on the night as the Renegades got back to .500 with a 33-18 win over the Stampeders.

The Renegades are now 2-2 and tied for first in the Eastern Conference.

Hands up everybody who thought that would be the case four games into the season.

Thanks, all three of you.

"It's one game, but it was a very good game," said Renegades coach and GM Joe Paopao. "We can feel good for a night. We needed more consistency offensively and as a team. That was solid football. Not perfect, but solid."

Joseph looked as calm as the weather was unsettled last night in front of a wet crowd of 16,303, coolly distributing the ball to his receiving corps, but saving his best throws for Murphy.

The 34-year-old veteran receiver pulled in touchdown catches of 50 and 10 yards as the Renegades opened up a 27-4 lead late in the first quarter and looked smooth and in control while doing it.

And to think Murphy was pondering retirement last year.

He made a couple of the Stampeders defenders look like they were in the rocking chairs last night.

"When we all come together, that's what can happen," said Murphy. "I'm not saying we're the best team, by any means, but we need to give ourselves a chance to do that.

"This is huge for us. It's a good win. But the big thing we have to do now is validate it. You've got to be able to put things together in this league. We've got to validate it."

The way the Renegades do that is by coming up with a similar effort against the Eskimos at Frank Clair Stadium on Thursday.

While the offence clicked last night, the defence, with the help of sputtering Calgary quarterback Henry Burris, their $350,000 man, kept the Stampeders offence at bay and boosted the Renegades with Ottawa's first touchdown of the night.

That came when Ottawa linebacker Robert Grant stripped the ball from Burris and Kyries Hebert scooped it up and scampered 14 yards into the Calgary end zone.

Coming off an opening drive that ended with a missed 32-yard field goal attempt by Matt Kellett, that touchdown was a big turn of events.

"The game's funny, it's momentum," said Paopao. "That rekindled our sidelines. It was big-time big."

The Stamps struggled offensively for most of the night, but did get some life when the Renegades had a lapse late in the first half, surrendering a late TD on a nine-yard Jeremaine Copeland reception.

After giving up a 24-yard field goal early in the third quarter, the Stamps threw a scare into the Renegades when they capitalized on an interception of Joseph by Jermaine Chatman deep in the Ottawa zone.

He returned it to the three-yard line and one play later, Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds ran untouched to the right to make it 30-18 and it looked like the Stampeders were going to cloud the picture.

The Stamps threatened again with four minutes to go in the third quarter, but Renegades defender Korey Banks came up with a huge play, picking off a Burris pass intended for Ken-Yon Rambo in the Ottawa end zone to turn the momentum back the Renegades' way.

Most importantly, it seemed like last night whenever Ottawa needed a big play, one of Joseph, Murphy or Ranek -- or a combination thereof -- came up with it.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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