REGINA – Drew Tate accepts the backup quarterback role with the Calgary Stampeders. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a team leader.
Tate engineered a fourth-quarter comeback that boosted the defending Grey Cup champions over the Saskatchewan Roughriders to 37-29 in CFL pre-season action on Friday.
“Yeah, I’m the backup. I know that,” Tate said. “I know the plays when I get in there and I know where we’re hot and I know where to go with the football based off the looks I’m getting by watching on the sideline.”
Tate hooked up with Kamar Jorden on a nine-yard touchdown pass with a little more than six minutes remaining in the game to give Calgary a 30-29 lead, one that erased a six-point halftime deficit.
Tate then marched the Stampeders offence to the Saskatchewan one-yard line before third-stringer Bryant Moniz scored his third one-yard touchdown plunge of the game to put the Stamps ahead by eight.
Tate, who relieved starter Bo Levi Mitchell to start the second half, finished the night 12-of-17 for 175 yards and one touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Saskatchewan’s backup quarterback shone in his limited time. Kevin Glenn, signed by the Roughriders in the off-season, replaced starter Darian Durant midway through the third quarter and marched the team on two scoring drives in the second half.
Glenn threw a 21-yard touchdown to Alex Carroll late in the third quarter that gave the Riders a 26-16 lead. Glenn was sharp, completing 12-of-14 attempts for 147 yards.
“We’re a veteran team on offence so I think it’s easy for us to iron out the little mistakes we did make,” Durant said. “We’re ready to go.”
Durant shone in an extended final tuneup and looked every bit like the franchise player he’s expected to be this season. The Saskatchewan quarterback completed 14-of-21 pass attempts for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He found Chris Getzlaf for an 11-yard touchdown on the Riders’ second offensive possession of the night.
“I’m close,” Durant said when asked if he’s where he needs to be to start the season. “I was glad that I was able to get out today and run around a little bit. I was able to move around and use my legs a little more than I did last week.”
“I feel good physically. We’re still getting used to the system and getting used to Jacques (Chapdelaine, offensive co-ordinator). We’re making strides each and every day. I don’t see a reason why this offence can’t be the best in the league.”
Meanwhile, Mitchell threw for 108 yards on 8-of-14 pass attempts and was intercepted once. Jon Cornish rushed eight times for 38 yards in two quarters of play.
Lemar Durant led Calgary with five receptions for 85 yards. Steven Miller caught three passes for 56 yards to pace the Riders.
Both teams will make final cuts on Saturday.
Calgary starts the regular season at home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on June 26. Saskatchewan hosts the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 27.