In the game that both teams have been waiting for all season, the Edmonton Eskimos head into Calgary’s McMahon Stadium Monday to take on the Calgary Stampeders in the 57th edition of the Labour Day Classic, which this year promises to be a Labour Day game like no other.
This is always the most hyped regular season game of the year and this year maybe more than ever as first place in the West is also at stake. The Stampeders are 7-1-1 and Edmonton has a record of 7-2, making them two of the top teams in the country.
The Eskimos have lost two straight games and have slipped to third place in the West but are just a point back of the first-place Stampeders who have won five straight games.
Eskimos fullback Calvin McCarty is playing in his 11th Labour Day Classic game, spoke with Dave Campbell of 630 CHED radio and says maybe the biggest key to approaching the game is handling the hype around the game.
“You got to come out and play ball and it’s the second half of the season — we’re getting some guys back. Really the hype portion, obviously, I’m hyped for it but you do kind of have to hold a little reserve and don’t get too hyped that you burn out by kick-off. Hold your emotions down but at the same time, know that they’re there and when it’s time to go, you got to go.”
The Eskimos formerly stingy defense has suffered of late allowing 87 points in the past two games. Meanwhile. Calgary is first in the CFL in average yards per game (399), and second in average points per game (33.1). Both teams have given up the fewest number of sacks in the CFL as the Stampeders have allowed a league-low 12 sacks, the Eskimos have the second fewest with 13. Both teams boast tough pass defenses as Calgary is first in the CFL in average passing yards allowed per game (262) with the Eskimos allowing the secondCalgary has fewest (269).
The Stampeders have been very impressive at home going 4-0 so far this season. In fact, the Stampeders haven’t lost at home in their last 14 games. Calgary has the top defense in the CFL averaging just 16.8 points allowed per game. They also have the highest turnover ratio in the CFL at plus-12 and have only turned the ball over eight times in the nine games they have played.
Calgary running back Jerome Messam leads the CFL in rushing with 621 yards and touchdowns with seven. Meanwhile the two quarterbacks, Mike Reilly of the Eskimos and Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell are the numbers four and sixth leading passers with Reilly having thrown for 2,845 yards and 15 touchdowns, and Mitchell 2,702 and also 15 touchdowns.
The Stampeders have the edge over the past decade having won five straight Labour Day Classics and seven of the past eight.
AFI, Yare Media and the CFL
American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2017 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.
If you can’t watch it live, each game is available for viewing through the remainder of the season.
With excerpts from the Globe & Mail and CFL.ca