CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders’ home-opener Thursday against the Ottawa Redblacks just feels like continuation of their tie to start the season last week.
“Maybe you should just do total score for the two weeks and give that team two wins,” Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris quipped.
“It feels like an elongated halftime for us to lick our wounds and get back at it.”
Both teams consider last Friday’s 31-31 tie at TD Place Stadium a win that got away. Ottawa led 28-14 with just over six minutes remaining.
Rene Paredes was wide right on a 37-yard field goal attempt in the first overtime sequence that would have won the game for Calgary.
Calgary and Ottawa are creating an interesting cross-division rivalry in the CFL given the Redblacks have been in the league for just three seasons and one game.
Calgary’s last three visits to Ottawa have now gone to overtime with the most recent two ending in a stalemate.
There’s also Ottawa’s 39-33 overtime upset of the Stampeders to win November’s Grey Cup in Toronto.
But the Redblacks haven’t come close to winning at McMahon Stadium, getting outscored by an average of 30 points over three losses there.
McMahon is the only CFL stadium where the Redblacks haven’t won. The Stampeders were a perfect 9-0 at home in 2016 en route to a 15-2-1 record.
“We have things on our checklist. It would nice to win here. We’ve done it everywhere else,” Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said. “Obviously it’s a tough place to play.”
Stampeder counterpart Dave Dickenson doesn’t expect either team to surprise each other six days later.
“You kind of ran your plays so you’re hoping your guys execute them better,” Dickenson said.
“Ultimately you run what you run and they run what they run and whoever can see what they see with their eyes, make quick decisions, a lot of times it comes down to mental toughness. Hopefully we’ve got that.”
Harris and Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell were solid in their season debuts each throwing for over 300 yards. Harris had three touchdown passes and one interception, while Mitchell had two TD throws.
Neither pivot was sacked, but Harris was hampered by his team’s 126 yards in penalties, while Mitchell’s receivers dropped a few catchable passes.
The absence of wide receiver and CFL rookie of the year DaVaris Daniels could impact how much Mitchell takes to the air Thursday.
Daniels is out with what is believed to a shoulder injury, so Marken Michel will make his CFL debut at wideout.
Roy Finch’s two-game suspension for a drug violation has sprung Terry Williams from the practice roster for return duties and to back up Jerome Messam at running back.
Cornerback Tommie Campbell will make his season debut for Calgary. The 2016 CFL all-star’s arrival at training camp was delayed a week because of legal problems in the U.S.
He was charged with drug offences in the off-season, but the case was dismissed. Campbell strained his hamstring upon arrival in Calgary.
“I do feel Tommie is a special guy, a special athlete, but he hasn’t really practised a lot,” Dickenson said. “Hoping his conditioning is as good as it can be.”
Campbell said Redblacks running back William Powell (ankle) won’t play Thursday, which promotes Mossis Madu to starter. Defensive tackle Connor Williams is also out having been placed on the six-game injured list.
Corey Tindal is in at cornerback for A.J. Jefferson, who is on the one-game injured list.
The forecast for Thursday evening’s game is mainly sunny with a high of 19.
“I’d like to think we can use our fans and our home-opener to get a little edge,” Dickenson said. “They had a great crowd last week.
“It’s a Thursday night. The kids are out of school so let’s make it loud.”