Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (19) throws the ball as Ottawa Redblacks’ Connor Williams (99) rushes forward, during second half CFL action in Ottawa on Friday, June 23, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Stampeders, Redblacks open season with tie

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders played to a 31-31 tie Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris was 33 for 45 for 300 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while Calgary veteran Bo Levi Mitchell was 31 for 48 for 376 yards and two TD’s.

Tied 28-28 in overtime the Stampeders could have won the game on a field goal, but it went wide forcing double OT. On Calgary’s ensuing possession Rene Paredes was able to connect for a 14-yard field goal. Ottawa’s Brett Maher made a 37-yard field goal of his own to settle for the tie.

Ottawa beat Calgary 39-33 in overtime in last year’s Grey Cup.

Trailing 28-14 Calgary clawed its way back into the game. With just over six minutes remaining Mitchell connected with Lemar Durant for a 24-yard touchdown.

Calgary was able to take advantage of a questionable call when Kamar Jorden appeared to fumble the ball. Ottawa challenged the play, but the call on the field stood to the dismay of the sellout crowd of 24,565, and the Stampeders went on to score four plays later when Jerome Messam ran in a three-yard TD. A convert tied things 28-28 with two minutes remaining.

Tied 11-11 to start the second half Ottawa regained the lead midway through the third with a 27-yard Maher field goal, but the Stampeders answered right back with Paredes kicking a 20-yard field goal to make it 14-14.

Harris connected with Juron Criner for an 11-yard TD and followed it up with a 32-yard pass to Josh Stangby to take a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 11-3 in the second quarter Calgary tied the game on another somewhat questionable play.

Mitchell found Jorden for a nine-yard TD pass, but the Redblacks believed he fumbled the ball prior to crossing the goal line and newcomer Khalil Bass ran it back for what was believed an Ottawa touchdown.

Officials on the field ruled it a Calgary touchdown and upon review the CFL command centre declared “the replay official did not see clear evidence the ball carrier lost possession prior to the ball breaking the plane of the goal line, ruling of a Calgary touchdown stands.”

Mitchell connected with Marquay McDaniel for the two-point conversion to knot things up with just over three minutes remaining in the half.

Ottawa jumped out to an 11-0 lead on a 40-yard field goal and a six-yard rushing TD by William Powell, but Calgary got on the board with an 11-yard field goal of its own to make it 11-3.

Notes: Prior to the start of the game the Redblacks held a brief ceremony with Henry Burris on hand to raise the Grey Cup commemorating last year’s victory over the Stampeders.

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