Mac's Main Man
To be the man, you have got to beat the man. The Calgary Stampeders did just that Sunday, walking into the house of the defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions and pulling out a thrilling 34-29 victory.
There will be a new supreme ruler in the CFL come Sunday as Calgary and the Toronto Argonauts square off in the big show -- the 100th Grey Cup.
For the Stampeders to ride into the Lions den and overcome that packed, noisy stadium is nothing short of incredible. Also consider that the previous week's hero, Drew Tate, was injured and backup quarterback Kevin Glenn was called upon to, once again, save the day.
Even so, Glenn is not "Mac's Main Man."
We like to spread the game ball around as much as possible here at 3rd And Long and when you're good, you're good. That is why stud running back Jon Cornish takes home the prize -- again. Amassing 154 total yards in a West Division final will do that for you.
We figured a key to success was that Cornish needed to get as close to 100 yards rushing as possible for the Stamps to have a chance at taking down the Lions. Well, he smashed that with 112. In addition, Cornish was a threat in the passing attack, collecting 42 yards on a couple of catches.
Dominating with the run, of course, opens up passing opportunities and it was just enough of a blend to keep the vicious Lions defence guessing. Maurice Price and Marquay McDaniel were certainly beneficiaries of that as they combined for 221 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Fact is, Cornish is a beast and continues to grow more ferocious each week. The Argonauts better have multiple strategies to limit him in the 100th Grey Cup at Toronto.
-- Andy McNamara
The Argonauts get to play at home for the Grey Cup and what a journey it has been for the Double Blue, highlighted by Sunday's 27-20 victory over the Montreal Alouettes. A lot of Argos played well offensively and any number of them could be Carlan's Darling.
Running back Chad Kackert enjoyed success on the ground, ripping off too huge runs and finishing with 139 yards and a TD on 13 carries.
Quarterback Ricky Ray had a nice East final, completing 28 of 37 pass attempts for 399 yards and a TD.
Wide receiver/kick returner Chad Owens was again spectacular and left no doubt as to who should be named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player with an 11-catch, 207-yards performance.
However, this week's Carlan Darling is a defensive player: Argos linebacker Marcus Ball.
Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo will be having nightmares about him after Ball picked him off not once, but twice, before a Brian Bratton drop in the end zone sealed Montreal's fate.
Ball, in his first CFL playoff run, now has nine tackles and three interceptions and the Argos defence has only allowed 23 points per game in two playoff games.
Everything seems to be clicking at the right time for the Argos. They are, without a doubt, the league's hottest team. As well as they have played offensively, it will be what they do defensively that will be the determining factor in the Grey Cup.
If the Argos defence plays like it has the past two weeks, they will win the 100th Grey Cup.
-- Carlan Gay
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