Charleston Hughes made up for lost time.
After missing two games with a leg injury, the CFL’s reigning sack champion was back on the field for the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night against Saskatchewan and wasted no time making life hell for Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Kevin Glenn.
In fact, by the end of the first half, Hughes had catapulted himself into the top three in the CFL in sacks by taking down Glenn three times.
It was a dominant performance from a player who has been sorely missed on a Stamps d-line that has been decimated by injuries and struggled against the run last week in a loss to the host Montreal Alouettes.
In the first half, at least, that didn’t prove to be a problem for the Stamps.
Not only did they sack Glenn five times, with defensive end James Vaughters chipping in with two, but they also limited the Riders to only 10 yards rushing in the first half.
It was complete dominance, with Micah Johnson and Derek Wiggan both having their way with the Riders offensive linemen as well and Alex Singleton putting in another solid showing at linebacker.
It was Hughes, though, who stole the headlines. Much had been made about his rivalry with the 2016 CFL’s Most Outstanding Lineman in Derek Dennis, who left the Stamps for the Riders in the off-season.
On Saturday, though, Dennis and his linemates could do nothing to protect Glenn, while Hughes reminded the world of just how valuable he is to the Stampeders defence.
While Glenn will definitely be nursing a few bumps and bruises after the beating he took on Saturday night, he’ll also have a career milestone to celebrate.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Glenn became the seventh CFL quarterback to throw for over 50,000 yards when he connected on a 23-yard pass to Naaman Roosevelt.
For what it’s worth, 6,930 of those yards came with the Stampeders when Glenn was with the team in 2012 and ’13.
GOING AT IT
Stamps safety Josh Bell got into it with Riders receiver Duron Carter prior to kickoff on Saturday.
Carter was reported to have been chirping at the Stamps’ Shaquille Richardson for some time and then crossed the 55-yard line into the area where the Red & White players were preparing for the game.
At that point, Bell had clearly had enough and rushed at Carter, pushing him back into Riders territory before officials pulled them apart.
Also worth noting is that Bell left the game late in the third-quarter with a lower-leg injury, and he was doubtful to return as the fourth quarter got underway.
MESSAM GETS GOING
There’s been a lot of talk about whether there was anything wrong with Jerome Messam, but the Stampeders running back made a strong argument that there was nothing to worry about on Saturday.
Only a week after he was ejected from the Stamps game against the Alouettes when he grabbed Chip Cox by the facemask and dragged him to the ground, Messam bounced back in a big way Saturday night.
Through three quarters, Messam had 19 carries for 106 yards and looked like the same guy who terrorized opposing defences last season.
Messam insisted all week that he was playing well and was primed for a breakout, and he proved Saturday that he’s a man of his word.
The first half was generally a good time if you were a Stampeders fan sitting in the stands at McMahon Stadium, but it’s got to be said that the early minutes of the game were unbearably slow. On one play — a pass to Marquay McDaniel — both the Riders and the Stampeders chose to challenge decisions by the refs. The challenges were both successful, so fair play to the coaches for challenging, but there’s no denying that the game took way too long to get going . . . The Stamps’ first touchdown of the game came from a pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to McDaniel and marked the 100th career touchdown pass of the Stamps quarterback’s career . . . People talk a lot about how many green jerseys are in the stands whenever the Riders play at McMahon, but Red & White fans maybe deserve a little more credit than they get. Riders fans were outnumbered 10-to-1, at least, at Saturday’s game. There were 30,274 fans at McMahon Stadium for the game.