3rd and Long's Andy McNamara and Carlan Gay select their Top 2 CFL performers from this past weekend's East and West semifinal battles. The Canadian Football League's conference finals are now set. Let's see who made the biggest impact in leading their men to playoff glory.
Mac's Main Man
It's no surprise that my standout player comes from the record-setting Hamilton vs. Montreal Sunday afternoon thriller. The 96 total points scored was the highest combined tally in a CFL playoff game since the 89 put up by the same two clubs back in 1956.
The Mac's Main Man nod must go to the victorious Ticats quarterback Kevin Glenn. Yes his Alouettes counterpart threw for almost double the amount of yards, but Glenn's 275-yard, 1-TD performance was about guts and timing. Facing adversity all season long that saw him split snaps with Quinton Porter, Glenn overcame being knocked out of the game for a series in the third quarter, after back-to-back nasty hits, only to march back and lead his club to a 52-44 overtime win.
The leadership critics of Glenn have certainly been silenced since the gunslinger kept his troops cool, calm, and collected following a second-half collapse that saw Hamilton give up a 24-16 halftime lead at rowdy Olympic Stadium. He spread the ball to seven different receivers (23 completions on 32 attempts), and more importantly, came through in the clutch by connecting with Bakari Grant on the first play of overtime to bring the Ticats to Montreal's four yard line. This set up Porter's score and means Hamilton advances in a playoff series for the first time since 2001.
Is Kevin Glenn the real deal? You bet your yellow and black stripes he is...get ready Winnipeg.
Be sure to follow Andy on Twitter: @AndyMc81
My darling this week comes from the East Division semifinal shootout. The Ticats were stuck with the unenviable task of trying to match arms with the Montreal Alouettes in that 96-point CFL classic.
One man was a constant game changer every time he got his hands on the pigskin. Marcus Thigpen was the star among stars Sunday afternoon. Thigpen gashed the Al's for 273 all purpose yards and a touchdown. He lined up in the back field and broke a big run for a touchdown. He caught key balls to help continue long Hamilton drives. He was electric in the return game, giving the black and yellow great field position all day. The second-year Thigpen became a big time game breaker on the road in one of the most hostile environments in the entire CFL.
Thigpen talked the talk at the beginning of the season and Sunday afternoon he finally walked the walk.
The Ticats head to Winnipeg to face a very stingy defence that was tops in the league in many defensive stats. Thigpen's performance should open up the eyes of Bombers defensive coordinator Tim Burke and the 'swaggerville' defence.
If Thigpen can play as well as he did in Montreal, the Tabbies may be on their way to British Columbia this time next week.
Be sure to follow Carlan on Twitter: @carlangay
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