They 'shut us down,' says Higgins

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Tom Higgins has been around this rivalry long enough to know not to take the Labour Day return for granted.

Especially when the Calgary Stampeders have beaten the Edmonton Eskimos so handily four days earlier.

That was the message the Stampeders head coach had for his players coming into yesterday's game. It's a message that was re-enforced after a 35-26 loss.

"It's a tough place to play," said Higgins. "They are not a bad football team. They have a lot of good football players and they happened to make plays tonight."

The Eskimos were a different team than the one beaten 44-23 on Monday.

Defensively, they kept the Stamps offence off the board in the first half, keeping Calgary from gaining a single rushing yard through the first two quarters.

'A SIGNATURE'

A pair of conceded safeties and a kick return accounted for all of Calgary's scoring in the first half.

"We didn't play the way we were supposed to," said Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris.

"The way the game ended was a signature of how the game went for us, especially on offence. They came out and did the things they were supposed to and we didn't."

Adam Braidwood sacked Burris on the final play of the game, recovered the ensuing fumble and walked into the end zone to seal the victory.

It was the second time Braidwood forced Burris to fumble the ball under the shadow of his own goalposts.

The first forced fumble in the second quarter dropped into Charles Alston's hands who ran it in giving the Eskimos a 16-0 lead.

"We never underestimate Edmonton," Burris said. "That's a good bunch over there and that's why we come out and play hard against these guys. You can tell they came out with a different attitude and they played well. We didn't play well at all. Offensively we didn't play well at all. Nobody expected us to come out and play like this, but we did and it is what it is."

The Stampeders abandoned the running game which was so effective in Calgary.

STOPPED RUNNING REYNOLDS

Four days after Joffrey Reynolds ran all over the Edmonton Eskimos in the Labour Day Classic, the Calgary Stampeders stopped giving him the ball.

Reynolds had three carries for two yards in the first half.

His first significant carry didn't come until the 10:37 mark of the second half when he busted up the middle for 19 yards with the Stamps trailing 19-11.

Reynolds finished with 44 yards on nine carries.

On Monday he had 18 carries for 96 yards with two touchdowns.

"Give credit to the Edmonton defence they did exactly what they had to do," Higgins said.

"I've never seen anyone shut us down as solidly as they did. People can say that we hurt ourselves and we destroyed ourselves, but give them credit - they lined up and squeezed it and they sure made it happen for themselves."

Following Monday's game the Eskimos looked dead and buried. After yesterday's contest, Edmonton kept their playoff hopes alive.

The Stamps were left scratching their heads wondering what changed over four days.

"I don't know if there is a single answer for that," Higgins said. "If we knew that, would could see what it is to be able to get you a victory in both parks."


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