Stampeders have huge edge over Tiger-Cats

By Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun

Jon Cornish runs through a drill during a Calgary Stampeders practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

Jon Cornish runs through a drill during a Calgary Stampeders practice at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)


A positional breakdown of Sunday’s Grey Cup pitting the Stamps and Ticats, two teams on the losing end of the CFL’s past two championship games. Calgary lost to the Argonauts in Toronto in 2012, while Hamilton fell to Saskatchewan in Regina last year.


Bo Levi Mitchell has quickly emerged as a premier passer, a big-armed quarterback with a great feel in the pocket. This guy afraid to take shots down the field when there’s a favourable matchup. This is Mitchell’s second post-season start — he’s hoping to build on last week’s win over Edmonton when the Eskimos basically forced him to beat them with his arm — which is exactly what he did. The Ticats are likely to play a defence that will test Mitchell’s patience, taking away the deep ball and forcing him to go underneath. Zach Collaros is another emerging gunslinger, but he’s much more mobile than his Calgary counterpart. Collaros will need to use his legs in moving the chains. He allowed the football to hit the ground twice last week, resulting in one fumble. He threw for zero touchdowns and was more efficient than anything else, so he will have to be better if Hamilton has any chance of posting the upset. Still, playing on a fast field indoors will help — look for the Ticats to empty the backfield and spread the Stamps out.

Edge: Calgary

Running Backs

Jon Cornish has a chance to impose his will, both along the ground and as a receiving threat. It remains to be seen if the Ticats use a spy on him. We’re also intrigued to see if the Stamps release Cornish out of the backfield — he’s very good in screen plays. Nic Grigsby has provided the Ticats with a run presence and, to his credit, he’s produced, rushing for close to 100 yards in back-to-back wins over Montreal. An underrated player is Mossis Madu, who should get a lot more touches, especially as a receiver out of Hamilton’s backfield.

Edge: Calgary


Mo Price has a chance to redeem himself, while Eric Rogers has become a big-time target inside the red zone as a complement to Marquis McDaniel. Nik Lewis is more of a security blanket on underneath routes. More than any receiver in the game, the healthy Andy Fantuz has the chance to make the biggest difference given his size, strong hands and ability to set up defensive backs. Neither team has a bona fide stud at this position, but the Ticats have speed in Brandon Banks and Terrell Sinkfield — each is lethal when matched up in man coverage in space.

Edge: Hamilton

Offensive Line

Brett Jones is the most decorated, having won the league’s top award among O-linemen after winning last year’s rookie honours. Dan Federkeil is one of the anchors on Calgary’s line of scrimmage. Hamilton’s unit has come a long way following a season-opening loss in Regina where 10 sacks were yielded. Brian Simmons at right tackle might be Hamilton’s best.

Edge: Calgary

Defensive Line

Injuries have taken a toll with Calgary, but the Stamps have depth and the next-man-up mantra neatly sums up this unit. There’s an edge presence and an ability to push the pocket. Freddie Bishop and Demonte’ Bolden are part of a rotation. No team defends the run better than the Ticats, who rely on Ted Laurent and Bryan Hall inside and Eric Norwood and Justin Hickman on the outside.

Edge: Hamilton


The best is Simoni Lawrence, a playmaker who must be at his best, whether he’s playing down hill or dropping into coverage. Taylor Reed needs to wrap up the likes of Cornish. There’s a lot of versatility with the Stamps with the likes of Juwan Simpson, Deron Mayo and Keon Raymond.

Edge: Calgary


Again, Hamilton has the best player in either defensive backfield in Delvin Breaux, a true cover corner who blanketed Duron Carter last week. The Ticats couldn’t keep the Alouettes’ S.J. Green in check, but the Stamps don’t have a player of Green’s ilk on their roster. Josh Bell, Brandon Smith and Jamar Wall, to name a few, give Calgary a lot of options in how they play in the back end.

Edge: Calgary

Special Teams

This is where the rubber meets the road, a Calgary unit that has yielded zero return majors against a Ticats return team that features Banks and his explosive game. Banks is a true game-breaker and Justin Medlock’s strong leg gives the Ticats a lot of options once they cross midfield.

Edge: Hamilton


It doesn’t get any better, the ultimate game within the game subplot. John Hufnagel helped the Stamps to a Grey Cup in 2008, but his teams have lost five of seven post-season games in the interim. Rich Stubler is in his 10th Grey Cup, and his first against Orlondo Steinauer, who played for Stubler. A lot of big names, but fitting given the big stage.

Edge: Even


There are a lot of veterans on Calgary looking to put aside past post-season failures.The Stamps have been beaten only once on the road and the Ticats have won only twice. A neutral-site game played indoors gives Hamilton an edge because of its speed dimension.

Edge: Calgary


Who do you think will win the Grey Cup?

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