Five things the Stamps, Argos must do to win

The Calgary Stampeders practice at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Friday ahead of the 100th Grey...

The Calgary Stampeders practice at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Friday ahead of the 100th Grey Cup at the Rogers Centre this Sunday. (ERNEST DOROSZUK, QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:15 PM ET

STAMPS

1. Make big plays

The Stampeders led the league this season with 63 of what the league refers to as 'big plays' -- ones that are longer than 20 yards. When they went into Vancouver and knocked off the B.C. Lions in the West final, four of those big plays were the difference, since the Lions didn't make any. Three members of the Stamps receiving corps -- Marquay McDaniel, Romby Bryant and Maurice Price -- each had one long TD, while Jon Cornish broke off a long reception as well.

2. Give Jon Cornish the rock

The Red & White can take control of the finale if they can get the league's rushing leader running on the Argonauts early. Cornish didn't have great outings against the Argos earlier this season, but that was such a long time ago in the context of the year. Cornish has all but has guaranteed that Sunday he will top his regular-season game-totals of 39 and 43 yards (an average of 4.3 per carry) against the Argos. Early in the season, he had trouble against the Lions defence, but he had 109 yards in the West final. In three career playoff outings, Cornish has hit the 100-yard mark every time.

3. Hold on to the ball

During the regular season, the Stamps went 6-0 when they committed fewer turnovers than the opposition. In the West final, Kevin Glenn did throw a pick-six to Lions defensive back Korey Banks, but the quarterback responded well, leading the team on a touchdown drive on the next possession. That was the only turnover as they played clean the rest of the way. Giving points away to Ricky Ray & Co. would not be advisable, though.

4. Get after Ricky

Argos quarterback Ricky Ray is about as mobile as your average statue, so the Stampeders defensive front will know where he's going to be on every play. Throughout Ray's career, it's been extremely difficult to rattle him. He's cooler than a cucumber in your lettuce crisper, but he will eat the ball and take a sack if he has to -- and that might be the best way for the Stamps to get field-position advantage. Ray did suffer a knee injury late in the year, so whatever mobility he already had is probably somewhat limited. But he gets rid of the ball quickly, so avoiding roughing-the-passer penalties will be crucial.

5. Trust in Rene

Grey Cup games can be won and lost on the feet of kickers. Stamps boot-man Rene Paredes is the best in the business these days. Only once did the Stamps put the game on his foot this season, and he delivered -- after a second chance thanks to a late timeout call on the play in Edmonton. Paredes has shown to be calm when going through his routine, and the sophomore only missed three times all season. One of those misses was a 51-yarder in Toronto in Week 2, but he's money from almost any distance.

ARGOS

1. Ride the wave

There should be a healthy heaping of Double Blue fans in the crowd, even though the game sold out before they qualified. The crowd should provide energy for the home team, and they can use it on both sides of the ball. Both teams practised at Rogers Centre with crowd noise this week, so the Argos expect some challenges, as Stampeders fans will make noise when the offence is on the field. This isn't a normal home game, but the Argos are in their usual digs, which give them a level of comfort.

2. Ride Chad Owens

As he proved last Sunday, the CFL's Most Outstanding Player has the potential to explode for big yards. Nobody should expect another 200-yard game like he put up in the East final, but the super slotback needs chances to touch the ball and use his speed to find holes. Owens will be on the field a lot, as usual, with his kick-and punt-return abilities being an aspect of the game in which he can do damage. The Stamps defence will key on him, but he needs to fight through the extra attention the opposition will pay him.

3. Stop Maurice

With four consecutive 100-yard outings, Stamps receiver Maurice Price has been the hottest receiver north of the border over the last month. He's opened up the entire receiving corps by stretching the field deep. The Argos haven't seen him this season, as Price missed the first half with a fractured ankle. If the Argos get stuck with a one-on-one matchup against Price, the receiver has speed to get by anyone the defence puts on him.

4. Rattle Kevin Glenn

The Stamps quarterback is prone to getting into funks once in a while, although we've seen none lately from him. Get him off his game early, and the Argos might be on easy street. Glenn seems to be a guy who either starts off hot and stays hot or opens cold and can't get warm. Last week, he was hot from the start, so the first possession might be critical. The 12-year veteran did manage to elude pressure last week quite well, but he's never been one to wow people with his mobility.

5. Play disciplined

The Argos were the league's most penalized team this season -- by a mile -- so it's critical they don't give the Stamps free yards. The biggest thing to watch out for are the roughing penalties on the quarterback. Pressure can cause an errant pass or throwaway, but if a hit comes after the ball is delivered and the defence is walking off the field, it could be backbreaking. The Stamps do a good job of making the most of their extra opportunities.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby


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