Stampeders and Roughriders have been here before
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
|Riders QB Darian Durant (L) is hit by Stamps Chris McCoy (R) during CFL action between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on July 19, 2012. (JIM WELLS/QMI AGENCY)
Stop us if you’ve heard this story before.
The Calgary Stampeders are facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the playoffs starting a former Gang Green quarterback with something to prove.
Sunday’s meeting at McMahon Stadium is the fifth time in seven years the Riders and the Stampeders have gone head-to-head in the CFL post-season.
And all of them have ended the exact same way.
The Stampeders quarterback makes a series of awful mistakes, and the Riders pull out the victory.
The 2012 West Division semifinal features one key difference from all the past defeats though.
Henry Burris was shipped to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats this off-season, and he won’t be seen in the post-season thanks to a 6-12 campaign with that club that ended with an ugly loss to the Toronto Argonauts earlier this week.
After posting a 12-6 record this season, good enough for second in the West Division, the Stamps head into the playoffs as the league’s hottest team.
But the Red & White have some major questions at the pivotal position.
Those questions will be answered Tuesday, however.
Stampeders GM/head coach John Hufnagel said he will announce his starter at QB, but it’s anybody’s guess whether he will go with Drew Tate or Kevin Glenn.
Either way, it will be a former Riders pivot facing his former team, and neither Tate nor Glenn have started a playoff game against the Riders since leaving Saskatchewan.
There is no way to know if either pivot will have the same mental block against the Riders that Burris so obviously did.
During Friday’s 30-27 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium, Glenn and Tate were basically mirror images of each other statistically in the final post-season audition.
Both threw TD strikes, while Tate had 139 yards to Glenn’s 137.
It was Bo Levi Mitchell at the helm when the Stamps put together the game-winning drive.
Even in the aftermath of Friday’s win, Tate wasn’t sure if he had done enough to get the nod ahead of Glenn after just playing sparingly over the past two weeks.
“I haven’t gone 60 minutes since July 1, so it’s a bit premature to say,” Tate said. “It felt great out there. I came out, and I was seeing things the way I wanted to see them. I still missed a couple of things. The huddle was good and the communication was good.”
Glenn started all three games against the Riders this season.
He was instrumental in completing a wild comeback against them in Week 4 that kicked the Stamps’ previously-stuttering season into gear.
Stampeders star Jon Cornish was a huge part of the second victory, as the record-breaking running back ground out 159 yards in a wicked wind after Glenn put two passing TDs on the board.
It’s been nearly a decade since Glenn left the Riders for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but he would dearly love a chance to face them again.
In 2007, Glenn put the Bombers in the Grey Cup against the Riders but couldn’t play in the league’s biggest showcase due to a broken arm.
Tate left the Riders after the 2008 season after spending two years on the practice roster and never getting close to the field.
Both pivots have extra motivation next week to go out and show Roughriders fans what they’ve been missing.
What the Stampeders need is someone who protects the ball and gives a red-hot defence the chance to build on recent performances.
Or else we could see the same ending play out yet again.