Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quarterbacks Reilly, Mitchell Headline the CFL's Battle of Alberta on Labour Day

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Quarterbacks Reilly, Mitchell Headline the CFL's Battle of Alberta on Labour Day

Article excerpt

Quarterbacks headline Battle of Alberta

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CALGARY - The first meeting of the Calgary Stampeders and defending Grey Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos this regular season showcases the CFL's top two quarterbacks.

Edmonton's Mike Reilly and Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell rank first and second respectively in passing yards and touchdown throws heading into Monday's Labour Day game at McMahon Stadium.

Reilly is the first pivot to amass more than 3,000 passing yards (3,096) at the halfway mark since Doug Flutie's 3,219 in 1996. He's thrown 16 touchdown passes to Mitchell's 15.

Mitchell was 143 yards shy of 3,000 after nine games. The 26-year-old continues to build an impressive resume as a CFL starter. He's a career 35-7-1 for a league-record win percentage of .826.

The Stampeders (7-1-1) boast the better first-half record.

The Eskimos (5-4) took longer to get going under new head coach Jason Maas and new defensive co-ordinator Mike Benevides, but are riding a three-game winning streak into Monday.

Mitchell says he feels Reilly's influence in a game.

"When you're playing an elite quarterback and not maybe a rookie because of injury or something like that, there's a little bit more sense of urgency to score and put up touchdowns rather than field goals because you know the other team can do it in a hurry," Mitchell said Sunday.

Reilly downplayed the quarterback showdown.

"There's not a single position in this league that wins or loses football games," the 31-year-old stated. "There's nothing that I'm going to do to win a football game by myself. There's nothing Bo's going to do to win a football game by himself. It's going to be our collective teams and how we play.

"We're always trying to do better than a field goal. We're always trying to score touchdowns, but it's never an issue of you're going to go out there and press."

Mitchell's offensive line will have a different look Monday. Spencer Wilson shifts to centre for the injured Pierre Lavertu with Ucambre Williams making his second start this season at right tackle.

"The only difference with Spencer is obviously the ball spins the opposite way since he's left handed," Mitchell said. …

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