CALGARY — Jerome Messam had no doubt a breakout game was around the corner.
The Calgary Stampeders running back not only picked the perfect opportunity to crack the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, but also the perfect way to cap his big outing.
Messam’s one-yard plunge late in the fourth quarter salted away a 27-10 victory for the Stampeders against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday night.
“Something about that green. I see the green and I get mean. No, I’m joking,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s the icing on the cake for your hard work. I was grinding out there, getting yards and getting us in position to score and I was happy to get into the end zone.”
Messam finished the night with 135 rushing yards on 28 carries, by far his biggest game of the season.
His touchdown, the second of the season for last season’s CFL rushing leader, was a perfect example of a squad nailing down a victory in emphatic fashion before the crowd of 30,274 at McMahon Stadium.
After staking a 17-point lead by halftime the Stampeders watched the Roughriders pull within a converted touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but immediately answered with a couple of scoring drives.
“Putting the hammer down at the end of the game, that’s how you win,” said Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. “When we’re able to run the ball like that and you know we’re going to run it, that’s going to make us a pretty dangerous team.”
Through the first 30 minutes, the Stampeders (3-1-1) looked to be taking dangerous to a new level.
Not only were they clicking offensively, with Mitchell firing touchdown strikes to Marquay McDaniel — the 100th of Mitchell’s career — and Lemar Durant, but were dominating defensively while keeping the visitors off the scoreboard.
Saskatchewan quarterback Kevin Glenn was sacked five times in the first half, three times by Charleston Hughes in his first game back after missing two outings due to injury and twice by James Vaughters.
Glenn said his squad simply couldn’t find any rhythm.
“With a team like that, you can’t come out slow like that,” he said. “You can’t have the type of first half we had and think you’re gonna win the game.”
Briefly after the break, though, the Riders threatened to muster a comeback.
Cameron Marshall’s five-yard touchdown run capped an 80-yard dive on the opening possession of the second half to put the Riders on the board — a drive in which Glenn became the seventh QB in league history to reach the 50,000 passing mark — and a Tyler Crapigna field goal made it a 17-10 affair.
But that was as close as the Riders could get.
“We got beat by the better football team,” succinctly stated Riders head coach Chris Jones, whose squad falls to 1-3.
Not that the Stampeders were willing to put all that much stock in the victory.
“Just because you won doesn’t mean you’re playing great football,” cautioned Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson. “We played better, though. We did. We win at home and that’s the key.”
Calgary kicker Rene Paredes booted a pair of field goals, including a key 47-yarder midway through the fourth quarter, a sign his game is rounding into top form.
Mitchell finished the night for Calgary with 16-of-28 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, with McDaniel and Kamar Jorden both collecting 88 receiving yards.
Glenn completed 20-of-29 passes for 203 yards on a night he couldn’t fully relish joining elite company of CFL history.
“It’s tough to enjoy it because the bigger prize is the win,” said Glenn who noted even one of the officials congratulated him during the game.