Series-ly amped up

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

In a perfect world, the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders would be duking it out with the loser suffering their first defeat this season.

But the two last-second losses the 3-2 Stamps have suffered have done nothing to dampen the excitement about the 5-0 Roughriders coming to McMahon Stadium Saturday.

The two teams meet again the following Thursday in Regina for a crucial two-game swing between West Division heavyweights.

"This is a game people have looked forward to for a couple of weeks now. Rightfully so," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris.

"They are 5-0 and doing things right. We're 3-2 and had a couple of setbacks. We're close to being 5-0, but close doesn't get it.

"One way we can make up for that is to get two big wins in a row to be tied up. We're going to be pumped. They're going to be pumped. McMahon is going to be rocking Saturday night."

As if the Stamps needed more incentive to end the defending champions' win streak, the team is trying to erase memories of the disappointing 32-28 loss in Winnipeg Thursday.

In the Stamps' two losses this season, they actually had the lead with less than a minute left and allowed the Edmonton Eskimos and Blue Bombers to come back for wins.

What should help the Stamps is linebacker JoJuan Armour practised yesterday in his normal middle spot, which puts Mike Labinjo back at defensive end.

Winnipeg's Ryan Dinwiddie threw for 450 yards against the Stamps, but one of the reasons was there was no strong pass rush from Calgary's line.

"If you give the quarterback all day to throw, eventually somebody is going to come open," Labinjo said.

"It's a combination (of blame). There were letdowns in the back end, letdowns on the front end and letdowns at linebacker. It was a team effort. Not everyone was on the same page, so this week is going to be important to do that.

"This is a good time to be coming back to play Saskatchewan. We're really amped to play this game. It's important."

The Stamps expect an extremely large Rider fan contingent, which just adds to the atmosphere at McMahon.

Being that the Riders beat the Stamps the past two playoff years, it should be easy to get revved up to face the 2007 Grey Cup champions.

"It's high emotion anyway," said Stamps receiver Jeremaine Copeland. "Anytime we play Saskatchewan at home there is high emotion."

After leaving the Riders in 2005 to join the Stamps, Burris has dealt with boobirds from fans in his home stadium when Gang Green shows up.

But Burris isn't annoyed with them yet.

"I enjoy it because a lot of those people in green are my friends and family," Burris said with a laugh. "We all moved to Calgary from Saskatchewan. Calgary is the biggest city of Saskatchewan.

"I always tell people it's not where you are from but where you end up that matters. I just choose horses over gophers."

EXTRA POINTS

The Stamps added DB Keon Raymond to the practice roster and released DL Anthony Gargiulo, who was trying to make a comeback attempt from a broken leg ... LB Shannon James and DB Calvin Bannister didn't practise yesterday.


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