CALGARY — Dave Dickenson warned that the Calgary Stampeders can’t take a winless team lightly.
The Toronto Argonauts (0-4) have yet to win a game this season, but Dickenson stressed that the Stampeders (2-2) will have to be at their best when the two teams clash at McMahon Stadium on Thursday night.
“They’re hungry — they have a lot of fight in them,” said the Calgary head coach. “We’re not a team that I think anyone’s scared of at all. I think we’re a team that needs to play well and show up and be focused and take advantage of our opportunities.
“I think they’re probably looking forward to the opportunity to come in here and we’ve got to show up and make sure we play.”
Argos coach Corey Chamblin said he believes has players are up for the tough task of beating the Stamps on their home turf for win No. 1, even if the odds are against the road team.
“Anything’s possible and that’s the way that we live,” Chamblin said. “We’re just trying to find a way to find the best team to put on the football field to get the best outcome.
“It’s always a tough challenge to play here because they have a good crowd, they have good players, they have good coaches and they’ve set a culture over the last few years, starting in 2008, that they’ve built to where it’s tough to come in here and win a football game.”
Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who completed 22-of-39 passes for 388 yards during Toronto’s 48-21 road loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last Friday, said he and his teammates have confidence that they can end their losing skid against the Stamps.
“They’ve had many years of success here, but it’s exciting, too,” said Bethel-Thompson, who threw two touchdown passes and three interceptions against the Bombers.
“We’re excited for this opportunity. Another good western opponent, Calgary in their house, we want to play the best at their best and beat them.”
Making his third straight start for the Stamps in place of Bo Levi Mitchell, quarterback Nick Arbuckle is looking to improve upon his performance from last Saturday when he completed 24-of-40 passes for 368 yards and no touchdowns during a 30-23 road loss in Hamilton to the Tiger-Cats.
“It’s just about us being sharper and also just being able to correct the mistakes,” said Arbuckle. “Five days to prepare, you’re all in on the game plan and practice. There’s not much time to take it easy or relax too much.”
Defensive back Tre Roberson, who leads the CFL with five interceptions, said the Stamps are prepared for whatever Bethel-Thompson and the Argos throw at them.
“We worked pretty hard during the time we had,” Roberson said. “Everyone goes home and studies a lot of film, too. I know I do. We’re always ready to go.
“We’ve just got to come in and bounce back and put a full four quarters together. If we can do that, we’ll beat a pretty good team.”
TORONTO (0-4) AT CALGARY (2-2)
Thursday, McMahon Stadium
KEY MATCHUP — Stampeders DB Tre Roberson vs Argos QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Already leading the CFL with five interceptions this season, Roberson said he’s studied game film and that he’s always looking to pick off more errant passes. That won’t stop Bethel-Thompson from going out and doing his job. “He’s a good football player, but we’re not scared of anybody,” Bethel-Thompson said.
KEY RETURNEE — Stampeders WR Juwan Brescacin has been out of the lineup since sustaining a concussion during Calgary’s season-opening 38-36 road win over the B.C. Lions on June 7. He’s looking forward to his return to action against the Argos on Thursday. “I’m excited to be back and just trying to get things back on track and just helping the team win,” Brescacin said.
THE BIG NUMBER — 150. In his 10th season, all with the Stampeders, P Rob Maver will suit up for his 150th career CFL game against Toronto. The veteran showed he still has some tricks left in him when he faked a punt before completing a 10-yard pass to Ante Milanovic-Litre in the first quarter against Hamilton last Saturday.
ARGOS IN TOUGH — The Stamps beat the Argos in both head-to-head meetings last season, outscoring them 79-23. Calgary has won the last 10 regular-season meetings between the two squads dating back to the 2014 season.