Classic thrashing of Esks

Stampeders' Jon Cornish runs past Mark Restelli of the Eskimos for a touchdown during Labour Day...

Stampeders' Jon Cornish runs past Mark Restelli of the Eskimos for a touchdown during Labour Day action at McMahon Stadium on Monday. (Sun Media/Al Charest)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

A Classic it was not.

The Calgary Stampeders don't mind.

Beating the Edmonton Eskimos in a walk is great anytime, but on Labour Day, it's extra special.

Jeremaine Copeland caught a beautiful one-handed touchdown and had long receptions to set up another 10 points as the Stamps whipped the Eskimos 32-8 last night in front of 40,729 spectators at McMahon Stadium.

The Stamps move into a first-place tie with the Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division with identical 5-4 records.

The crowd was a record for Labour Day, but they didn't see a competitive game.

When Joffrey Reynolds punched in a one-yard plunge midway through the second quarter and Jon Cornish converted an Eskimos turnover just before halftime with a 28-yard TD run, the visitors were basically toast.

"That is a good team," said Reynolds, who finished with 174 yards from scrimmage.

"They are not first place in the West for nothing. We played the type of ball you want to see from your team all the time.

"We all made plays when we had to. Nobody stepped outside their boundaries. It was good play-calling. Any time your defence holds them to one touchdown, you better expect a win."

The Esks couldn't mount much of a ground game, with Arkee Whitlock going for 21 yards on seven carries.

Whitlock made the biggest mistake of fumbling to give the Stamps a chance for more points just before halftime.

Cornish cashed in, sending the Stamps to the locker-room up 17-2 after Eskimos kicker Noel Prefontaine missed a pair of field goals.

When Whitlock ran for 100 second-half yards Aug. 13 in Edmonton, the Stamps went into repair mode, bringing in Jim Davis, DeVone Claybrook and Tim Johnson on defence.

All three were part of shutting down the Eskimos last night.

Davis made a great play in the first half, tripping up Ricky Ray for a loss to stifle an Eskimos drive, while Johnson led the Stamps in tackles.

Ray couldn't seem to manage a whipping wind and went 27-of-39 passing for 287 yards with no TDs or picks.

The Stamps didn't have trouble running against the Eskimos defence, which was without middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd for the third straight game.

Reynolds had 119 yards on 21 carries, but he also caught three passes for 58 yards.

Burris also scrambled for 41 yards and Cornish added another 43 in his most active game this season.

"Being at home, you have to expect to win here and you should do whatever it takes to make it happen, and we did that," said Burris, who went 19-of-27 passing for 285 yards.

"We had to get this one. It was important to come out in front of a record crowd and put on a good show. Now, we have a lot of confidence going into Edmonton this weekend."

Copeland, who now has nine touchdowns in nine games, had 99 yards on five catches.

This now sets up a crucial contest Friday back at Commonwealth Stadium, and the Esks will be looking to avenge this loss, which was their worst Labour Day defeat since losing by 25 in 1995.

"Those guys are going to be ready to play," Burris said.

"They don't want to have the same performance in front of their home crowd. We know it's going to be a packed house at Commonwealth. We need to mentally prepare to get going again."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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