Blueprint for Stamps success

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:22 PM ET

Not only did the Calgary Stampeders get back to winning, they returned to their bread-and-butter formula.

When the Stamps ran up a 9-1 record earlier this season, they did it with a swarming defence and ball-controlled offence.

That same blueprint was used to beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 34-26 Sunday afternoon in Regina, a victory that puts the Stamps within one more win or a Riders loss of clinching first place in the West Division.

In a celebratory locker-room afterwards, no one was more excited than running back Joffrey Reynolds.

Underused a bit in the previous four games, Reynolds broke out for 124 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.

“This feels awesome,” Reynolds said. “Moreso than the success on the ground, just mentally for us to win here. For the psyche of the team, it was huge.

“Over the past couple of years, we haven’t had success here.”

Coming out of the break, the Stamps took the ball and burned six minutes off the clock with a 13-play drive for a Reynolds touchdown.

The defence forced a two-and-out, then it was another eight-play drive for a touchdown. A total of 11 minutes were burned off the clock and the Riders offence ran two plays.

In the second half, the Stamps held the ball for 21:07 minutes.

“Controlling the ball was the game plan we had to have,” Reynolds said. “The longer (Darian) Durant is on the bench, the less points they can score.”

Reynolds has vaulted himself back into the CFL rushing race with his third 100-yard game this season, plus he topped the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth straight year.

He sits just 102 yards back of Toronto Argonauts running back Cory Boyd with three games remaining.

Although Reynolds got the majority of the work, backup rusher Jon Cornish’s contribution can’t be overlooked.

After the Stamps went down 14-0, they needed some offensive yardage and Cornish responded with gains of 13 and 12 yards to set up the first Reynolds score.

It was an especially strong running attack — QB Henry Burris added 36 and Cornish 63 — considering starting right tackle Edwin Harrison went out with a knee injury.

“Our running backs played really good football, and our offensive line did a real good job,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel.

“Our receivers were blocking downfield. We were able to get past the line of scrimmage but we were turning five or six-yard gains into first downs and that’s important playing Saskatchewan.

“They give you so many looks. They play the bend but don’t break pass defence.”

The Stamps don’t get much time to bask in the glow of this win. The face the B.C. Lions at home Friday in another short week.

Harrison will likely skip the outing and be replaced by fellow rookie import Stanley Bryant, while the Stamps are hopeful middle linebacker Juwan Simpson returns from his knee injury.

“There isn’t a lot of time,” Hufnagel said. “When you play three games in 12 days, it’s a lot of hard work.

“This is a huge game coming up. It’s against a team that is playing great defensive football and they handed it to us the last time we played.

“We have to get ourselves ready to play in a short amount of time. Not only mentally but we have to get our legs back physically.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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