Stampeders clinch spot in West final

Jeff Fuller of the Calgary Stampeders runs the ball past Carlos Thomas and Tristan Jackson of the...

Jeff Fuller of the Calgary Stampeders runs the ball past Carlos Thomas and Tristan Jackson of the Saskatchewan Roughriders during CFL action Saturday night at McMahon Stadium. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

Well … first the good news.

The Calgary Stampeders locked up first place in the CFL's West Division on Saturday and will have a first-round post-season bye.

The bad news?

There appears to be a quarterback controversy at the worst possible time.

Drew Tate replaced an ineffective and uncharacteristically turnover-prone Kevin Glenn to start the second half and led the team to a pair of touchdowns in a 29-25 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

Tate found rookie wideout Jeff Fuller on a key 37-yard deep ball with less than two minutes left to set the Stamps up at the Riders four-yard line.

Jon Cornish bulldozed his way into the endzone on the next play for the winning touchdown.

Tate completed 11-of-16 passes for 181 yards as the Stamps improved to 14-3.

On Tate’s second drive, he hooked up with Marquay McDaniel for a 63-yard catch-and-run that put the Stamps at the one-yard line.

The big gain put McDaniel over 1,000 yards on the season for the first time in his career.

Tate punched it in on the next play to put the Red & White back in front 19-15. Inexplicably, the Stamps went for a two-point convert, which would have resulted in a six-point lead, but Tate fumbled on the attempt.

The teams traded field goals before Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant hit a wide-open Taj Smith for a 29-yard touchdown strike to put the Riders up 25-22.

But Tate engineered the game-winning drive and, despite a sloppy game overall, the Stamps now effectively have two weeks off before hosting the West Division Final.

Anthony Parker’s 11-yard touchdown grab was the lone bright spot during a dreadful opening half for the home side. The Stamps turned the ball over four times but the defence stood tall and held the visitors to a one-yard Durant touchdown run and a trio of field goals.

The Stamps created a turnover of their own on the opening kickoff of the second half.

Tate took over the controls but couldn’t move the ball and the hosts had to settle for a Rene Paredes field goal to narrow their deficit to 15-13.

Paredes is now the CFL’s all-time leader for field-goal percentage in a single season. But he can’t afford a miss next week in B.C.

Speaking of records, Stamps running back Jon Cornish broke Willie Burden’s franchise record for yards from scrimmage (2,127) in a season.

The Stamps visit the Lions next Friday (8 p.m., TSN/News Talk 770).

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

www.twitter.com/SUNScottFisher


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