Thanks to Sunday’s game-winning 68-yard touchdown pass from Drew Tate, the Calgary Stampeders will face the B.C. Lions in the CFL Western Division final. Tate’s bomb to Romby Bryant with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Stamps a 36-30 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Tate’s TD Ends Rollercoaster Week
Tate’s touchdown was a perfect way to end what had to be a very difficult stretch for the 28-year-old Texan. After weeks of speculation Tate was finally named the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game after Kevin Glenn, who helped Calgary go 9-5 after Tate was injured in the second game of the season. Tate and Glenn split time during the final two games of the regular season before Calgary coach Jon Hufnagel announced Tate would start the team’s playoff game. That announcement came on the same day as the death of Tate’s grandmother. While he wasn’t able to attend her funeral Sunday, he played the game with “Gran” written on his left arm. “This is the most emotional game I’ve ever been a part of,” Tate told reporters. “In my entire life. Just a lot of stuff going on throughout the week. And just how we ended that. I can’t believe it. I really cannot believe it. You couldn’t write a better script.”
At least part of that script is a little foggy to Tate. He took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Tearrius George early in the second quarter and told reporters “I don’t even remember the first half. I got my bell rung. All I remember is the second half.” Tate stayed in the game after he was leveled again later on that same drive and ended up completing 22 of 36 pass attempts for 363 yards and two touchdown throws. After the game Hufnagel said that he was unaware Tate had experienced memory loss and the quarterback insisted that he hadn’t suffered a concussion. “I was told by Patty [Stamps director of medical services, Pat Clayton] he was OK, but he said to keep an eye on him to make sure he was making sense and wasn’t acting unusual,” Calgary offensive coordination Dave Dickenson told the Calgary Sun.
The Stampeders will have their hands full with the Grey Cup-favourite B.C. Lions. B.C. won two out of three games against Calgary in the regular season and will be well rested after last week’s bye. The Stampeders have won five straight games and 10 of their last 12.