EDMONTON – The Calgary Stampeders clinched a home playoff date as they swept the season series with Edmonton with a 27-13 win over the Eskimos Friday night at Commonwealth.
A win by the BC Lions on Saturday over Saskatchewan will lock up the West Division for the Stamps.
It was a landmark evening for veteran Calgary starter Kevin Glenn who moved into 10th place on the CFL’s all-time passing list, surpassing Tom Clements who had 39,041 yards in 182 games. Glenn entered Friday with 39,016 yards and achieved the feat with a pass to Jon Cornish out of the backfield.
The pass helped the Stampeders put the first points of the game on the board, setting up a 26-yard Rene Paredes field goal for a 3-0 first-quarter lead.
Glenn finished the night 16 of 26 for 237 yards and 1 touchdown.
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The defences held both oppositions in check in the first quarter with Calgary safety Eric Fraser making the most significant play, tracking down a tipped pass which DB Keon Raymond got his hands on but Glenn and the offence couldn’t take advantage of the game’s first turnover.
As the second quarter began, it was Eskimos pivot Mike Reilly putting together a solid drive to get the Esks on the board. Reilly found the league’s leading receiver, Fred Stamps, over the middle for a 49-yard catch-and-run to set up a 47-yard Grant Shaw field goal to tie the game a three.
Reilly was very vocal in the week leading up to the game ensuring that media and fans alike were aware that he and his teammates were not going to roll over even though they were eliminated from playoff contention last week.
Glenn would answer almost immediately, leading a 4-play, 78-yard drive, finding WR Marquay McDaniel on a crossing route off a play-action fake for a 29-yard touchdown and a 10-3 Calgary lead. It was McDaniel’s eighth major of the season.
After being held in check in the first quarter, Cornish began to find some holes along the line of scrimmage in the second. A pair of runs from he and backup Matt Walter, combined with a pass interference call on Eskimos DB Marcell Young helped set up a 32-yard Paredes boot to increase the lead to 13-3.
Cornish has taken his game to a new level in recent weeks, rushing for 452 yards and 3 touchdowns in the last three games.
The league's leading rusher had another productive night, rushing 19 times for 145 yards.
Calgary would strike again before halftime but they didn’t need Cornish to do so.
In an unusual play, Eskimos punter Grant Shaw looked to attempt a fake punt on third-and-20 yards to go. When nothing opened up for Shaw, he pulled the ball down to try and kick it only to have it blocked and returned by DB Jamar Wall for a touchdown.
The special teams major opened up a solid 20-3 Calgary lead but it didn’t put the Eskimos down and out as they answered right back in resounding fashion.
Reilly and backup quarterback Kerry Joseph combined for a 9-play, 97-yard drive to close out the half with a major. Reilly threw a ball up for rangy veteran receiver Adarius Bowman who leaped for a 7-yard touchdown snag with two seconds left in the half to cut the Stamps’ lead to 20-10.
Reilly continued to go to his favourite target as the second half began, hooking up with Stamps time and time again with a 38-yard reception counting as the biggest in the third quarter but the Eskimos couldn’t capitalize in the third frame.
Stamps finished with 7 receptions for 132 yards to lead all receivers.
Like the first quarter, the defences came to play with both secondaries keeping the passing game to a minimum and shutting out one another in the third quarter.
The Stampeders carried the same 20-10 lead into the fourth before both teams traded field goals.
First Paredes added a 12-yarder off the strength of a 33-yard McDaniel catch.
Edmonton running back Hugh Charles took a handoff on the ensuing drive and busted up the middle for 28 yards to set up a 33-yard Shaw boot as the teams entered the final seven minutes with Calgary up 23-13.
Following a punt single by Calgary’s Rob Maver, the Eskimos tried to climb back but Shaw pinged a field goal attempt off the goal post with just under two minutes left and the Stampeders ran out the clock and add another field goal from there.
The Eskimos will close out 2013 on the road starting with a visit to BC Place next Friday.
The Stampeders meanwhile will return home to host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.