REDBLACKS welcome Stampeders to Friday Night Football

OTTAWA — Fresh off their first win of the season, the Ottawa REDBLACKS will be looking to build on the momentum they started building when they host the Calgary Stampeders on Friday night.

Ottawa defeated provincial rival Toronto Argonauts in a 23-13 victory led by quarterback Caleb Evans to close out Week 8.

Evans had a big role to play but more than stepped up in the absence of Jeremiah Masoli, putting in one of his best performances as a starter against the Boatmen, completing 82.8% of his passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

Calgary enters the game after a 35-28 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, giving the team back-to-back losses heading into its game against Ottawa.

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Evans and the REDBLACKS will now face a Calgary defense that has given up 1,685 yards through the air, which should favor target Jaelon Acklin.

Acklin recorded a season-high in receiving yards against the Argos, catching seven passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in the win. Evans connected with Nate Behar for the team’s second passing touchdown on a late practice to help secure a win for Ottawa.

In his season debut for the REDBLACKS, Ryan Davis caught six passes for 41 yards. If Davis can continue to improve steadily this week, it will give Evans another valuable option in the passing game.

Even though they don’t have their star quarterback, the REDBLACKS are still fourth in average passing yards with 282 per game, and Evans has done a terrific job as a starting quarterback. Ottawa. In three games as the No. 1 quarterback, Evans threw for 786 yards and four touchdowns.

The ground game has also been a strength in the nation’s capital. In Week 8, William Powell, Jackson Bennett and Evans combined for 112 yards. On the year, they are fourth in the league, averaging 94.1 yards per game.

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The REDBLACKS defense took a big step forward last week, limiting the Argos to 13 points. That lowers their points from the 25.4 average, which they’ll be looking to cut further against the Stampeders.

It won’t be easy though, as the Stamps’ offense has averaged 31.5 points per game in six games.

Ottawa will have to be aggressive when the ball is in the air against Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. However, Mitchell has been one of the football’s best guards this season, throwing just three interceptions, and the REDBLACKS forced just four.

The return of Ottawa defensive back Monshadrik Hunter will give a boost of confidence in the defensive secondary, Hunter has recorded three interceptions, a team high this year.

Putting pressure on Mitchell, on the other hand, is something the REDBLACKS have been more than capable of all season long. They’ve recorded 19 sacks this season, the second-best total in the CFL.

Defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin recorded his team’s seventh sack against the Argos, and will be counted on to be disruptive against the Stamps offensive line.

Defensive linemen Davon Coleman and Kene Onyeka were also sacked a week ago and will try to keep that momentum going into Friday’s game.

However, the offensive line protecting Mitchell, led by Julian Good-Jones and Ryan Sceviour, allowed just seven sacks on the year, the second-lowest total in the league.

With time in the pocket, Mitchell was able to throw for 1,518 yards and seven touchdowns in six starts. Against a tough Bombers defense in Week 8, Mitchell found Reggie Begelton for 74 yards and Malik Henry for 55 yards, but failed to throw for a touchdown.

For Mitchell, he can’t wait to get back on the court and break the team’s two-game losing slide.

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“We have to make games, bigger games,” Mitchell told Stampeders.com. “We have a 6 day week, a short week here in Ottawa with travel, so you can’t have your head down for too long. Raise your head. We need to find out what you did wrong (against Winnipeg) and improve.

According to the team’s depth chart, the Stamps will be without the CFL’s second-best rusher as Ka’Deem Carey is out for Friday night’s game.

Urgent responsibilities will fall on the tandem of Dedrick Mills and Peyton Logan. Mills spent time on the six-game injured list and played in one game in which he rushed for 28 yards. Logan has 16 carries for 98 yards in five games.

If Calgary is to succeed, it will take a total team effort on defense to slow down the reinvigorated REDBLACKS offense. Their 13 sacks and seven interceptions rank eighth and fifth, respectively.

Defensive lineman Mike Rose, linebacker Cameron Judge and defensive back Titus Wall will look to the defense to help Ottawa’s offense from distance.

Although not happy with his previous two losses to Winnipeg, Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson believes in his team and expects a strong performance this week.

“I’m proud of our guys, we don’t look down on them at all,” Dickenson told Stampeders.com. “I know we have to play better. I have the impression that our group will recover and improve. That’s what we have to do.

Ottawa may only have one win, but they’re still very much in the chase in the East Division. Calgary wants to bounce back from back-to-back losses to the defending champions on Friday night.

Kick-off in the nation’s capital is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on TSN, ESPN+ and can be followed on CFL.ca’s Game Tracker.

– With files from Stampders.com

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