Stamps extra motivated

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 2:46 PM ET

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders spent this week reviewing tape of their most recent meeting with Calgary, the Stampeders would be extremely excited.

In most of the Stamps players' and coaches' minds, the only thing the same about the team that lost 49-8 to the Riders July 8 in Regina is they still wear Red and White.

"This is a new day and a new team ... we're a lot different now," said Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis about today's matchup with the Roughriders (2 p.m., TSN).

The first time these teams met, Saskatchewan was on its way to building a 7-3 first-place record, while the Stamps were starting a horrible six-day, two-game road trip.

Calgary is riding a three-game unbeaten streak now, and the Roughriders lost their last outing, meaning 5-4-1 Calgary has sets it sights on catching Saskatchewan and spoiling their chance of a home playoff date for the first time since 1988.

"I want to win because it would put us in a great spot to challenge for first place," Lewis said. "Saskatchewan and B.C. play each other next week, so this would put us in a good position to catch both of them."

When the Stamps were pounded in Regina, it was one of the worst defeats in franchise history, but it came when the team was working out personnel issues on both sides of the ball, particularly in the receiving corps.

Veteran receiver Jeremaine Copeland only played three series in that game. In recent weeks, Copeland has helped lead the receivers to strong performances, but even he hasn't forgotten the beating.

"We broke the huddle today and Cope reminded us the way we lost last time," said receiver Ryan Thelwell. "We have to use it as motivation because we got our butts whooped.

"This will tell us if we are good. We feel we're playing quite a bit better than we were at the beginning the year."

To their credit, the 'Riders are prepared for a much better Stamps squad today, especially on defence.

"They've picked their game up but we expected that," said 'Riders defensive lineman Fred Perry. "I haven't looked at their defence but their offence is looking good.

"I see their receivers starting to get back into their little talking matches. But it's not something we can't deal with."

None of Calgary's wins this season have come against teams with winning records, which puts added importance on having success against Saskatchewan.

Calgary wants to prove it is not 41 points worse than its rival and can beat anybody.

"It's up to us to show the Roughriders we're a pretty decent team," said Stamps head coach Tom Higgins. "We're a lot more consistent now. We are able to sustain drives now, we don't take as many foolish penalties."


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