EDMONTON — Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s return to the fold has sparked the Calgary Stampeders.
Mitchell completed a pair of touchdown passes and jumped Henry Burris for most wins in team history for a QB as the Stampeders beat the rival Edmonton Eskimos for the second week in a row, 33-17 on Saturday.
“It’s a great feeling to hit that mark,” Mitchell said. “It speaks to the work that this organization has put in and the trust that they have put in me over the last couple years and in the off-season, bringing me back. The credit obviously goes to the guys around me.
“Getting team wins, that’s what this has always been.”
The Stampeders improved to 7-4, and moved into a second place tie for points with Saskatchewan in the West Division.
“I thought it was another good team win against a great opponent,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson, whose team defeated Edmonton 25-9 in the first half of the Labour Day series in Calgary on Monday. “When you have these games, you wonder if you are going to be able to replicate what you had done the week before. It wasn’t super pretty, but we got the job done.
“Bo makes the big throws. He is just a winner. His winning percentage is amazing, he takes ownership. He makes his own mistakes, but he owns them and moves forward and gets wins.”
Edmonton (6-6) has lost three straight games and also played without quarterback Trevor Harris for the bulk of the game due to an upper-body injury in the second quarter.
“We don’t have an update yet,” Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said . “It’s tough, but every team in the league has dealt with it this year. There’s no excuses. (Backup QB) Logan (Kilgore) was prepared to play. He went out and did some great things, some other things he will learn from.
“I would have liked to have gotten him better prepared, but I didn’t do my job in that regard. But as far as using that as an excuse, that is no excuse. They beat us tonight and we’ve got to take it on the chin.”
Edmonton’s defence came up big early with a Don Unamba interception of Mitchell to the Stampeders 29-yard-line, setting up an eight-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Tevaun Smith.
Calgary responded with an 18-yard Rene Paredes field goal.
The Stampeders took the lead early in the second quarter on a 25-yard passing major from Mitchell to Reggie Begelton.
The Eskimos suffered a blow when Harris came down with an injury on what appeared to be his throwing hand on a non-contact play.
Kilgore came in for Harris, taking his first snaps of the entire season.
His first drive led to a 10-yard Sean Whyte field goal. Harris remained on the sidelines throughout the remainder of the game, looking like he could return if needed.
Calgary took a 17-10 lead in to the half on an 11-yard TD pass to Eric Rogers.
Paredes kicked 46-yard and 27-yard field goals for the only scoring in the third quarter and then started the fourth with a 43-yarder.
The Stampeders pretty much put the game away five minutes into the final frame when DaShaun Amos picked off Kilgore and took the interception return back 79 yards into the end zone.
Kilgore atoned with a one-yard TD plunge on his team’s next possession.
The Stampeders will play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats next Saturday, while the Eskimos will have a bye week.
Notes: Calgary also won the other previous encounter between the Alberta-based rivals 24-18 on Aug. 3 at McMahon Stadium… Edmonton was just 14 for 32 in the red zone entering the game.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press