By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER – The Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats square off Sunday in the Grey Cup at B.C. Place Stadium. A look at six potential difference makers (excluding quarterbacks) in the CFL title game.
Jon Cornish: The native of New Westminster, B.C., was the CFL’s rushing leader with 1,082 yards despite only playing nine games. He didn’t play in either of Calgary’s contests versus Hamilton this year â€” both wins for the Stampeders â€” but the six-foot, 209-pound Cornish averaged over 120 yards rushing when he was in the lineup. Cornish is a dual threat as he had four catches for 120 yards and a TD in the Stampeders’ 43-18 win over Edmonton in the West Division final.
Marquay McDaniel: The six-year veteran was Calgary’s receiving leader this season with 54 receptions for 792 yards and four TDs. The six-foot, 206-pound McDaniel is neither Calgary’s biggest nor fastest receiver but he has developed a knack for making the big play. He had 1,047 yards and eight TD grabs last year, both career highs. McDaniel’s first three CFL seasons were with Hamilton.
Shawn Lemon: Lemon’s second season with Calgary has been impressive. The six-foot-two, 251-yard defensive end had a team-high 13 sacks to anchor a pass rush that had 50 sacks on the season. Lemon’s emergence came during a season the club was minus its top pass rusher, Charleston Hughes, for much of the campaign.
Brandon Banks: The five-foot-seven, 153-pound kick-returner was a one-man show in the East Division final, returning two punts for TDs and amassing a playoff-record 226 return yards in Hamilton’s 40-24 home win over Montreal. Banks took a third punt back for a touchdown but it came back due to a penalty. The former Washington Redskin is a threat every time he touches the ball, be it returning kicks, as a receiver or on running plays.
Ted Laurent: It’s unlikely fans will notice Laurent’s impact on Sunday’s game but he could be an important figure for Hamilton. The six-foot-one, 301-pound defensive tackle is a force inside, often commanding a double-team that leaves the other defensive lineman one-on-one with the remaining offensive linemen. The 26-year-old Montreal native had a career-high nine sacks in his first season with the Ticats.
Justin Medlock: The Ticats’ 31-year-old punter/kicker converted 44-of-50 field goals this season (88 per cent) and finished second in CFL scoring with 172 points. Medlock had a significantly better year than Calgary’s Rene Paredes (33-of-45 field goal, 73.3 per cent) and his season-long boot of 52 yards was five better than Paredes. Medlock hit all five field goals he tried in his only regular-season appearance at B.C. Place Stadium, a 36-29 Ticats loss Aug. 8. Medlock won’t have to worry about weather as the B.C. Place roof will be closed.