Stamps hope to pick apart Durant

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

CALGARY -- Brandon Browner didn't even attempt to act surprised.

Reminded Saskatchewan's Darian Durant has thrown more interceptions than any other CFL pivot this season, the Stampeders' all-business, all-star cornerback couldn't conceal his smile.

He knows the numbers.

"Any time that you see a quarterback with that many interceptions, as a defensive back, you get a little bit excited about that," Browner said.

He's not the only member of the Stamps' defensive secondary who's licking his chops.

Although Durant has turned heads in his first full season as a starter, the Roughriders signal-caller has also served up an alarming 18 interceptions, four more than Stamps star Henry Burris and five more than any other passer on the three-down football loop.

That's not a category any quarterback wants to be running away with, but it was the last thing on Durant's mind ahead of today's first-place showdown with the Stamps at McMahon Stadium (1:30 p.m., TSN)

STILL IN FIRST

"That's something that you don't want to happen, but we're in first place," he shrugged. "We're right where we want to be despite (the interceptions). I'd rather have 20 interceptions and be in first place than have no interceptions and be in last place. It's all about winning games, that's first and foremost. That's all I'm worried about."

Despite his sky-high interception rate, Durant has elbowed his way into the conversation about the CFL's top quarterbacks this season. Through 14 regular-season outings, he's tossed for 3,423 yards and 18 majors, while also establishing a reputation as a guy who can keep plays alive with his mobility.

If you want to force him to bite on a bad pass, you've got to get to him first.

"The thing about Durant is he's such a great competitor. It's amazing how many sacks he's gotten out of," said Stamps defensive tackle Mike Labinjo.

"He uses his feet to make things happen. With a guy like that, there is a tendency to do too much and create turnovers. We hope to get the rush up front and, hopefully, create some turnovers.

"Against a team like Saskatchewan, you need every chance you can get."

Ball control was a key to the Roughriders' 32-22 victory over the Toronto Argonauts last weekend, with Durant throwing three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

The Stamps defence, meanwhile, didn't generate any turnovers in a 32-11 loss to the Alouettes in Montreal.

Although Browner and his cohorts pride themselves on their ballhawking abilities, it's unlikely the Stamps' statistics will leave Durant shaking in his cleats. The Red & White have only picked off a dozen passes so far this season, the second-lowest figure in the league.

Browner and fellow cornerback Dwight Anderson lead the way with three interceptions apiece, while safety Wes Lysack has a pair of pickoffs. Halfbacks Keon Raymond and John Eubanks, safety Milt Collins and since-released Davanzo Tate have each snagged one pass.

LOOKING FOR MORE

They're hoping to pad those stats this afternoon at McMahon Stadium.

"As long as we execute, we should be able to get our hands on some balls, just like the rest of the teams that have played against Durant," Browner said.

"They're going to be up for grabs," Collins added. "So we've just got to get our hands on them."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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