Pringle gets Stallions on a roll again


HAMILTON, Ontario -- Two weeks ago, the Baltimore Stallions' offense was in a funk, having scored just 59 points over a four-game stretch, during which Baltimore absorbed the first two-game losing streak in its two-year history.

Nothing a couple of mediocre defenses and running back Mike Pringle couldn't fix. With Saturday's 41-14 victory at Hamilton, the Stallions (8-3) buried the dry month of August by scoring 41 points for the second straight week. They beat Toronto by the same margin last weekend.

In the two wins, Pringle reminded observers that he is the Canadian Football League's premier runner. He was spectacular Saturday night, gaining a season-high 201 yards on a career-high 31 carries. His four touchdowns also were a career best. He leads the CFL with 1,232 yards, and is on a 2,000-yard pace.

The conditions were ripe for Pringle. With four of Hamilton's defensive front seven out with injuries -- backup Peter Giftopoulos drew the most unfortunate assignment, replacing middle linebacker Mike O'Shea, the league's second-leading tackler -- the Stallions figured to pound the ball at the Tiger-Cats. Then, in the first half, quarterback Tracy Ham sustained a bruised quadriceps muscle, after throwing first-quarter interceptions that stopped two Baltimore drives.

Ham could have played if needed. But Pringle, who ran over Giftopoulos several times, removed that burden by establishing himself as the early favorite for the league's Most Outstanding Player award, especially now that Calgary quarterback Doug Flutie, the reigning four-time winner, is out for the season with a tendon injury in his throwing elbow. Pringle lost to Flutie last year, despite breaking the CFL record with 1,972 rushing yards.

"Doug Flutie is pretty magical. He still might get it," quipped Pringle. "If I get 2,000 yards, so be it. My goal is to get back to the Grey Cup."

Baltimore has a rematch with Birmingham Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Stallions drilled Birmingham five weeks ago, 36-8. Since then, the Barracudas (6-4) have become the first American team to beat Calgary and have taken over second place in the Southern Division.

NOTES: Pringle and fullback Peter Tuipulotu suffered twisted ankles, and kick returner Chris Wright pulled a hamstring against Hamilton. None of the injuries is serious.

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