Stamps defence turns tide

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:06 AM ET

REGINA — They suffered a couple of major haymakers early, but the Calgary Stampeders defence came back with the knockout blows.

The way Sunday’s 34-26 Stamps victory started, it looked to be a long day for the visitors to Mosaic Stadium.

Darian Durant bomb to Weston Dressler. Touchdown.

Durant bomb to Chris Getzlaf. The next play, touchdown.

It was 14-0 before the Stamps offence got on the field a second time.

But when the Stamps needed a momentum swing back in their favour later, the defence delivered.

Early in the fourth quarter, and holding a five-point lead, Milt Collins came free on a blitz and drilled Durant in the back. The ball bounced forward to Corey Mace, and the defensive lineman ran 60 yards to the endzone.

“It’s scoop and score,” said Mace, who was just activated this week for the injured Mike Labinjo. “We do drills on that every week.

“The ball had a nice bounce. I can’t take all the credit. Thanks to the football gods. It landed in my hands and I just took off.

“It was fortunate. Regardless, our defence made plays when we had to. We played with resilience.”

Despite giving up 201 yards to Getzlaf and 341 to Durant, Stamps defenders made huge plays without their star middle linebacker Juwan Simpson (knee).

In the second quarter, the Riders were up 14-7 and going for a 46-yard field goal, when cornerback Dwight Anderson came off the left side to get his hand on the attempt.

Anderson flew through kicker Luca Congi, knocking him from the game with a knee injury, but that was an early turning point.

The Mace TD was the turning point in the second half, as it increased Calgary’s lead to 12.

“That’s a momentum shift,” said head coach John Hufnagel. “That’s a great play. We knocked the ball loose.

“Corey has done some nice things since he’s been here and I’m sure he’s excited about getting into the endzone.”

Mace had visions of Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Ronald Flemons bobbling the football before getting into the endzone last month in Vancouver, so he ran hard and held on with both hands.

“I wasn’t sure who was behind me so I tried to tuck that ball high and tight,” Mace said. “I wasn’t going to celebrate until I crossed that line. I’m glad I got in there.”

The reason Getzlaf was the main target for Durant was the Stamps defensive scheme.

Cornerback Brandon Browner was moved over to eliminate slotback Andy Fantuz, who had 255 yards against the Stamps a month ago in Regina.

This time, Fantuz was held without a reception and the only stat he recorded was a tackle on Keon Raymond’s late interception.


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