Kory Sheets, Roughriders rally to top Stampeders
Saskatchewan kicks off 2013 with 2-0 record
Kory Sheets may need to borrow Geroy Simon's cape.
After the Roughriders tailback put Saskatchewan ahead for good on a three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, he celebrated by striking his teammate's familiar Superman pose in the end zone.
Sheets finished the game with a career-high 133 yards on 26 carries as the Roughriders (2-0) became the only unbeaten team in the CFL with a 36-21 win over the Calgary Stampeders (1-1) at Mosaic Stadium.
Simon, the Roughriders' much-hyped off-season acquisition, missed his second straight game with an injured leg.
"I was just doing that as a tribute to my man," said Sheets. "I told him, 'Hey, I'm going to draw the box and hit the Superman pose if I score."'
Sheets stated in the lead-up to the game that he felt he was already the best running back in the game, despite having finished nearly 200 yards back of Calgary's Jon Cornish, the league leader with 1,457 in 2012.
He let his play do the talking Friday, even after Cornish was held to 42 yards on eight carries.
"We're going to see them two more times and possibly three more times in the playoffs, and it's a long season so I'm not going to say I'm happy about doing better than him tonight because he could do better than me next time," said Sheets, who never went for more than 18 yards on a single rush.
Sheets had plenty of help, most notably from slotback Weston Dressler who topped all Riders receivers with an effort that began on Saskatchewan's opening drive when he caught three passes for 33 yards.
Dressler caught a bullet over the middle from quarterback Darian Durant for a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter and drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty on Calgary linebacker Jonathan Hefney in the fourth quarter that set up Sheets' go-ahead score.
"We've got plenty of guys that can make plays so you've just got to be ready for when your opportunity comes," said Dressler, who finished with 10 catches for 108 yards.
"Whether it's two, three times a game or nine, 10 times a game you've got to be ready for it and you've got to come through when the ball comes your way."
It was a tough game for Hefney who was burned earlier in the game with the Stampeders leading 14-11.
Saskatchewan slotback Chris Getzlaf outran Hefney for a 32-yard reception in the second quarter and overwhelmed him again on the next play for another nine yards.
That led to a 36-yard field goal from Chris Milo, his second of four in the game. Milo also connected from 15, 38 and 29 yards.
"When our offensive line is playing as good as they are, you're getting holes, Kory Sheets is running the ball, when all that is going well it makes it really hard to cover the pass game because the (line)backers have to be involved," said Getzlaf. "They have to respect the run game."
The seven-year veteran added a 15-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that put the Riders up 35-21. Getzlaf finished with eight catches for 97 yards.
'I think he deserves it'
"He's a guy that I hope that has a very good season," said Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin. "I think he deserves it.
"He's taken a lot of criticism here and there and some of it's warranted but at the end of the day he's a guy that I want to see turn into an all-star superstar in this league because he's got the potential to do that."
Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate was deadly accurate for most of the game, completing 19-of-25 passes for 231 yards before giving way to Kevin Glenn with five minutes to play.
Tate tossed second-quarter touchdowns to Rob Cote and Joe West, and Marquay McDaniel ran in from seven yards out on the game's opening drive, as Calgary built a 21-14 lead by halftime.
But things came unravelled in the second half.
The Stamps were forced to punt on four straight offensive possessions and took a trio of defensive penalties in the fourth quarter that either extended Saskatchewan drives or led directly to Roughriders touchdowns.
The Hefney pass interference call was followed by a too-many-men penalty and an unnecessary roughness flag, both of which gave the Riders a fresh set of downs.
"We added some veterans and they're a little bit more mature," said Chamblin. "I think those guys finished and they never panicked when they were down.
"They understand that it's about 60 minutes in the CFL and they understand the ups and downs of it."
Durant played the entire game for Saskatchewan, going 26-for-34 for 258 yards. Glenn went 4-for-7 for 41 yards in relief of Tate and threw an interception to Macho Harris on the final play of the game.
Both teams will meet East Division rivals for the first time in Week 3, with the Roughriders in Toronto on Thursday to face the Argonauts and the Stampeders in Montreal on Friday to face the Alouettes.
Before the game, the Roughriders honoured four alumni who passed away during the off-season: Jack Gotta, Bryan Illerbrun, Grey Cup-winning coach Eagle Keys and Len Legault.