CALGARY - An alert play by Brandon Smith helped the Calgary Stampeders take control of their Labour Day clash against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Late in the first half, Smith picked off an errant pass by Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray and ran it back for a 58-yard score to give the Stamps a commanding 26-5 lead.

"It's one of the best feelings I've had being out here with the Stamps," said the third-year Stampeder defensive back. "Just getting the interception and taking it in for a touchdown is an outstanding feeling, especially for it being my first touchdown, first interception.

"There's no other feeling like it."

The Stamps (8-1) cruised to a convincing 52-5 win over the Eskimos (2-7) on Monday as Smith and the Calgary defence held Edmonton to just 11 first downs and five yards rushing.

"They played excellent football today," said Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel when asked to assess his squad's defensive effort. "I think they're going in the right direction. I wouldn't want to play that defence right now."

Quarterback Henry Burris concurred with his coach's assessment.

"Our defence has been playing great ball all year," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris, who went 15 for 23 for 226 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.

"If we make a mistake, they have our back. If the defence gives up something, we've been doing a good job of going out there and getting points back as well. Things are going good and we want to keep it like this."

Receiver Romby Bryant led the way for Calgary with a pair of touchdowns, while Ken-Yon Rambo and Deon Murphy also caught TD passes. With Burris resting on the sidelines in the second half, quarterback Drew Tate completed 6-of-7 passes for 96 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Murphy late in the fourth quarter.

Joffrey Reynolds also ran for a touchdown, Rob Maver kicked a field goal and a single for the Stamps, while Calgary also recorded six points on three safeties.

Edmonton kicker Noel Prefontaine accounted for all of Edmonton's points with a field goal and two singles.

Ray struggled in the afternoon affair in front of 34,559 fans at McMahon Stadium as he went 9 for 22 for 157 yards and a pair of interceptions. Back-up pivot Jared Zabransky didn't fare much better as he completed just 3-of-8 passes for just 36 yards in addition to being picked off twice.

"We stunk it up, laid a goose egg," said Edmonton coach Richie Hall. "We didn't come to compete. We couldn't even execute the fundamentals of football, couldn't block, couldn't catch, couldn't throw, couldn't tackle, couldn't cover. It was like Murphy's Law. What could go wrong, did go wrong."

Both teams won't have much time to rest as they'll play again in Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night.

"We've got to just take advantage of (our) opportunities," said Ray, who's still confident the Esks can rebound with a better effort.

“When you get an opportunity to make a play, you've got to make a play and until we start doing that we're going to struggle. We've just got to do it one play at a time."

After giving up a single just two seconds into the game, the Stamps started their opening drive on the 35-yard line. Burris promptly tossed a 46-yard bomb to Rambo to put the Stamps into Edmonton territory. With the completed pass, Burris moved past Dieter Brock into 10th spot on the CFL's all-time passing list.

Following a 29-yard field goal by Maver, Prefontaine booted with a 70-yard punt single to pull the Eskimos within a point. Later in the opening quarter, Prefontaine lined up to punt from his own end zone but chose to concede a safety giving the Stamps.

Just 13 seconds into the second quarter, Reynolds capped off a four-play, 38-yard drive by running into the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown.

After Bryant caught a 30-yard TD pass from Burris to put Calgary up 19-2, Prefontaine replied with a 31-yard field goal for Edmonton.

Things continued to get worse for the Eskimos as Smith picked off an errant pass by Ray and ran it back for a touchdown before Brandon Isaac forced the veteran Edmonton QB to fumble the ball on his own 23-yard line. Two plays later, Rambo caught a 10-yard TD pass from Burris.

"We strive on turnovers and getting our offence the ball," said Smith. "Once our offence gets the ball, they're deadly. We expect them to put it in the end zone every time. The more we can get them the ball, the more points go up."

Bryant added a 19-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, while Prefontaine also conceded a safety.

The Stamps continued to build on their lead in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard single by Maver and another safety when Jason Maas, Edmonton's third QB of the game, was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. Murphy then rounded out the scoring with his TD catch.

Notes: The Stamps now have a 32-28-1 record in games played on Labour Day and have gone 21-28-1 against the Esks. . . With two interceptions in the contest, Calgary cornerback Brandon Browner has now picked off 11 passes in his CFL career. Smith also finished the game with a pair of interceptions, the first two of his career. . . Edmonton running back Arkee Whitlock left the game in the first quarter with an injury to his left foot and didn't return.

Latest From ...