CALGARY -- Jon Cornish had 165 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, while Chris Randle had a 65-yard interception return touchdown to lead the Calgary Stampeders to a 40-26 win over the BC Lions on Friday night at McMahon Stadium.
The Lions surged back from a first-half deficit of 15 points to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but Cornish led the Stamps right back down the field to lead to the go-ahead touchdown, before Randle's pick-six put the game out of reach.
Cornish had 130 rushing yards to break his own record for most rushing yards in a season by a non-import, and also added 35 yards through the air on three catches in another massive game.
Kevin Glenn threw for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win, while youngster Thomas DeMarco had a strong performance in the loss with 301 yards and a two touchdowns as well.
The Stampeders started the game with excellent starting field position thanks to a 54-yard return from newcomer to the lineup Clifton Smith, eventually leading to a 13-yard boot from Rene Paredes to give Calgary a 3-0 lead.
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» Images: BC vs. CGY
» Video: Taylor battles for 27-yard TD
» Video: Cornish breaks own record, scores
» Video: Glenn, McDaniel team up for 6
» Video: Randle's pick-six seals it
» Preview: Lions travel to Calgary
Two of the stingier defences in the league flexed their muscles a little bit from there, as the Calgary defence confused and frustrating Lions quarterback DeMarco through most of the first quarter.
Calgary soon took advantage on the strength of its defence and again good starting field position, as Glenn hooked up with quarterback turned receiver Brad Sinopoli for a 26-yard gain, before Cornish took over the rest of the way.
The New Westminster native buried his head for a 12-yard gain, before bouncing outside on a second-and-goal play for a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Stamps out in front 10-0.
Cornish’s 11th rushing touchdown of the year tied his total from last season, and capped off a seven-play, 58-yard scoring drive in just 2:35.
Paredes added a field goal to make it 13-0 at the end of a first quarter that was dominated by the Stampeders, who didn’t surrender a single first down until the last play of the opening 15 minutes, when DeMarco found Nick Moore for a 45-yard gain.
The Lions moved close from that point to start the second quarter, but were held inside the five-yard-line and forced to settle for a Paul McCallum field goal, cutting the deficit to 13-3.
Paredes added field goals from 43 and 19 yards out to make him a perfect four for four in the first half, while all the Lions could muster up until the final couple minutes of the half was a single point to make it 19-4.
Then, though, DeMarco finally got something going, engineering a quick drive down the field with four straight completions, all to different receivers to move into scoring position. Then he sealed off the drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Courtney Taylor, putting up seven points for the Lions just in time for the half.
Taylor’s athletic catch-and-run score cut the deficit to 19-11, capping off a quick six-play, 69-yard drive in 1:17.
The second half became about field position as the teams exchanged punts to open the third quarter. After Rob Maver hit the coffin corner, the Stamps defence forced a quick two-and-out setting them up for great field position.
Smith added to his impressive debut in Red and White, returning the kick inside the BC 30 to put Glenn and the offence in prime scoring position.
This time, after settling for field goals through most of the game, Glenn was able to finish as the veteran quarterback found McDaniel behind coverage for a 20-yard strike in the end zone, restoring Calgary’s lead to 15 points.
|Cornish breaks own record|
The Lions were fast and furious in their response however, as DeMarco hit Shawn Gore for a 39-yard gain before another completion to Emmanuel Arceneaux moved the Lions to the one. From there, DeMarco powered his way into the end zone around the end on second down to again make it a one-score game, 26-18.
That stood through the rest of the third quarter, as the defences settled in and began to show why they’re so highly-regarded. The teams continued to exchange punts into the fourth, and then momentum appeared to take a turn when the Stamps were picked off deep in BC territory by rookie defensive back Cord Parks.
DeMarco stayed hot, finding Gore down the sideline for a 27-yard gain before moving the chains for a key second down conversion to Nick Moore on his fifth catch of the game.
After another completion to Arceneaux, DeMarco finished the drive off with a throw on the run to Moore, moving the Lions to within two pending the conversion. From there DeMarco found Taylor, tying the ballgame at 26 apiece past the midway point of the fourth.
The Stamps responded quickly though, as Cornish broke containment of the BC defence on the ensuing drive in a big way, breaking loose for a 38-yard run to the BC 11-yard-line.
Looking to go back up by a touchdown, Glenn went to the end zone on second down and found the rookie Smith for his first career CFL touchdown, putting Calgary in the driver's seat once again, 33-26.
The Lions threated late and looked poised to tie the game up yet again, but on a second-down play in the face of immense pressure, DeMarco's pass to the sideline was picked off by defensive back Chris Randle, who sprinted down the sideline to the opposite end zone for a 65-yard touchdown.
That put the Stamps ahead 40-26, sealing up the game and moving a step closer to winning the West Division crown, now with a six-point lead over the Lions and Roughriders.
This was the third time this season these heated rivals have met, with the Stamps owning a 2-1 edge. The home team has won in each of the first three meetings, and they'll do battle one more time in two weeks back in BC.
Next weekend the Lions focus their efforts to the Roughriders, as they pay a visit to Riderville in yet another pivotal divisional meeting. The Stampeders, meanwhile, travel to Edmonton for the Battle of Alberta.