Hanging on for dear life

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

REGINA -- The defending Grey Cup champs have finally been unseated.

But the Saskatchewan Roughriders didn't go down easy.

The Calgary Stampeders built a 26-point lead and then held on for a 30-25 victory over the Roughriders last night in front of 28,800 spectators at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders lost for the first time this season and drop to 6-1, but they are still firmly in first place in the West Division.

The Stamps improve to 4-3 and end a two-game losing streak heading into next week's bye.

Although the Stamps completely dominated for three quarters, the Riders scored 21 fourth-quarter points to give Calgary head coach John Hufnagel a few extra grey hairs.

"It seems that teams are never out of it this year in the CFL," Hufnagel said.

"It was an exciting fourth quarter to say the least.

"Just like us last week, we came out of the locker-room in the second half and were resilient. So were they this evening.

"This is an excellent win for us. We beat a very well-coached football team. Hopefully, we build on this."

The Stamps can feel good heading into the week off on a high.

Although Henry Burris had two blemishes on his record in the form of interceptions, he played a solid game a week after getting threatened with a yanking.

Burris went 22-of-32 passing for 214 yards and a touchdown pass to Ken-Yon Rambo, plus a rushing major as well.

"To get a victory on the road is huge, but the biggest part is coming off two devastating losses where we had chances to win is great for us," Burris said.

"We didn't finish off the way we wanted but we did run the clock out in the end."

Running back Joffrey Reynolds helped chew up clock with possibly his steadiest performance this season.

Although his longest rush was 13 yards, he maintained a solid 5.5-yard average and finished with 126 yards off 23 carries.

His counterpart on the other side, former Stampeders back Wes Cates, didn't have as much success.

With the Riders down another two receivers from last week, the Stamps defence was able to key on Cates and hold him to just 20 yards on eight carries.

Linebacker JoJuan Armour helped with that.

After getting ejected last week for physical abuse of an official and actually left this one after taking a shot to the hip from teammate Brandon Browner.

"We are a lot better team than we've been playing," Armour said. "We just played better football all the way around. We took less penalties and were more gap sound. Our players did a good job of knowing their plays and making sure of our assignments."

The only life the Riders showed came early in the fourth quarter with the Stamps leading 30-4.

Starting quarterback Marcus Crandell threw a long bomb that went off Stampeders defensive back Calvin Bannister and landed in the awaiting arm of Adarius Bowman for a 52-yard touchdown.

On the next Stamps possession, Renauld Williams blocked a Burke Dales punt attempt and Chris Szarka recovered the ball in the endzone to cut the Stamps lead to 30-18.

Just after the three-minute warning, Crandell hit newly activated Weston Dressler with a 25-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to just five.But the Stamps got a couple of huge grabs from Ryan Thelwell and Rambo on second downs to kill the clock and end the game and the Riders unbeaten streak.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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