EDMONTON — History shows it's hard to win the Grey Cup while losing the turnover battle.
When a team turns the ball over four more times than it takes it away, as the Ottawa Redblacks found out Sunday night, it's pretty much impossible.
Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris threw three interceptions, his teammates fumbled the ball away twice and there was a turnover on downs en route to a 27-16 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL final.
"It sucks," Harris said in the losing locker room after the game.
"When it doesn't go your way you feel like you let everybody down and it hurts man. It hurts.
A week ago, in the Eastern final, Harris threw for a playoff-record six touchdowns.
The Redblacks offence actually moved the ball better than Calgary on Sunday, amassing 379 yards of total offence to the Stampeders' 339.
Harris threw for more yards at 288 than his counterpart Bo Levi Mitchell at 253.
But when it came to putting points, on the board Ottawa struggled.
Running back William Powell rushed for 94 yards, but had a key fumble on the Calgary 28-yard line with 3:50 left in the second quarter and the score 14-3 Stamps.
"Upset. Hurt," Powell said after the game. "But you know, you've just got to keep your head up. We had a great season and try to get back."
In the last 30 years, only one team — Calgary in 2014 — has won the Grey Cup and lost the turnover battle.
But it was more than just turnovers that sunk Ottawa on the night.
A big play was also a factor.
With only 20 seconds left in the second quarter and on its own 51, Ottawa elected to punt the ball to Calgary returner Terry Williams.
Williams slipped at first, but then gathered a head of steam and blew through the Ottawa converge team for a 97-yard touchdown.
Calgary went into halftime with a 21-11 lead.
Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell was asked after the game why he elected to kick the ball to Williams with so little time left in the half.
"Thinking it through, we could've been a little smarter with it," Campbell acknowledged. "We should be able to cover any kick. It just didn't happen. They made a play and obviously it was a big one."
Harris, who has two other Grey Cup rings but was starting for the first time in a final on Sunday, said the loss will sting for quite some time.
"It's dejecting," he said.
"I know it is a team game but man, it's going to be a while before you get over this one."
Tim Cook, The Canadian Press