Stamps' Tate worth watching

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

CALGARY - In the moments following his first CFL victory as a starting quarterback, Drew Tate was handed a watch for his effort.

Fitting, really, because this is Tate’s time.

With an efficient — if not flashy — performance against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Tate was named TSN’s Friday Night Gladiator by colour commentator Duane Forde.

The outing also earned Tate another start in the eyes of head coach John Hufnagel.

It took some time for Tate to unwind after the 25-13 victory, so he turned on the highlights and heard the praise the TSN panel heaped on him after going 23-of-32 passing for 251 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

All the positive words didn’t help him get to sleep, though.

“It was real nice of them,” Tate said. “I really didn’t think I deserved the watch at the end of the game. I will take it, though.

“I was just thinking about the game. We were so close to having so many more points. The game should have been over a lot earlier than it was. You always think about the things you can do better.

“If you are not satisfied and complacent, it’s only going to make you better.”

One of those plays was Tate’s second interception. While trying to feed a pass into Romby Bryant, Tate didn’t see Riders linebacker Mike McCullough coming across the middle to pick it off.

Hufnagel said that was Tate’s only major error, as his first INT could be pinned on a receiver (Bryant) running the wrong route.

When Tate threw his first interception, it was his first in 156 CFL passing attempts. The 27-year-old downplayed that number because 135 of those came in relief, when it’s easier to maintain numbers.

The first pick was also the first he’s thrown in a meaningful game since Dec. 30, 2006, when Aaron Ross picked off a pass in the endzone for Texas as Tate’s Iowa Hawkeyes came up short in the Alamo Bowl.

“I haven’t had too many opportunities to throw them,” said Tate, who’s in his third year with the Stamps.

“It still sucks. That second one, we had a chance to put the game away. I could have thrown to Landan (Talley) behind him, probably for an up-and-over touchdown.

“You watch the film, and you learn from it, and you try not to repeat the same mistakes twice.”

If not for some blunders by teammates, Tate would have had the Stamps on a massive roll thanks to an impressive first half against the Riders.

Bryant fumbled on the opening drive that looked to be headed towards the endzone, while Rene Paredes missed a 39-yard field goal on the second possession.

As it stood, the Stamps did get 17 points from six first-half possessions.

Things get much tougher now, as the Stamps head to Montreal for a meeting next Sunday against the Alouettes, who will be trying to shake off Saturday’s 26-25 road loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Still, nothing can put a damper on Tate’s first time as the Stamps’ starting pivot.

“It was a lot of fun,” Tate said. “It was the most fun I had in a very long time. We were all having fun as an offence.

“You could feel it in the huddle, with the tempo and the swagger the guys were having. It was really moving well.”


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