Three Stars: 102nd Grey Cup sees Bo Levi Mitchell, Freddie Bishop III and Rene Paredes shine

55 Yard Line
Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell led his team to a win Sunday, and earned our First Star nod in the process.
Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell led his team to a win Sunday, and earned our First Star nod in the process.

Here's the final edition of our Three Stars series for 2014, looking at the top performers of Sunday's Grey Cup

First star/offensive player of the week: Bo Levi Mitchell, quarterback, Calgary Stampeders: Mitchell was remarkable in Calgary's win, especially early on. He was able to evade Hamilton's pass rush for most of the night, using his mobility to escape. He only finished with 19 rushing yards on four carries, but regularly used his legs to set up the pass, and he was great there, completing 25 of 34 passes (73.5 per cent) for 334 yards and setting up two short Drew Tate rushing touchdowns. Mitchell's performance was even more impressive considering how the Ticats effectively took away the Stampeders' vaunted ground game; Jon Cornish finished with just nine carries for 25 yards. They dared Mitchell, an Eastern Washington product, to beat them with his arm, and he did. Most of his production came in the first half, but Mitchell still was Calgary's most important player on the day, and he did enough to give the Stampeders the victory. He was named the Most Outstanding Player by the voters in attendance, and deservedly so.

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(Honourable mentions: Zach Collaros, QB, Hamilton; Eric Rogers, WR, Calgary; Andy Fantuz, WR, Hamilton.)

Second star/defensive player of the week: Freddie Bishop III, defensive end, Calgary Stampeders: Bishop didn't see a lot of regular-season action this year and was mostly playing Sunday thanks to last week's injury to Charleston Hughes, but he filled the void in most excellent fashion. The Western Michigan alum had five tackles and a critical sack on the night, and he was a big part of the great pressure Calgary put Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros under. The Stampeders' defence bent a bit towards the end of the evening, but they didn't break, holding the Tiger-Cats to several field goals. Bishop was a big part of that, and a big part of Calgary's victory.

(Honourable mentions; Deron Mayo, LB, Calgary; Corey Mace, DT, Calgary; Delvin Breaux, CB, Hamilton.)

Third star/special teams player of the week: Rene Paredes, kicker, Calgary Stampeders: Paredes had his struggles this year, but was perfect on field goals Sunday night, making both of his attempts. The Concordia product also did a terrific job of filling in at punter once Rob Maver got hurt; Paredes hasn't done much punting in his professional career, not recording a single punt during his four seasons with the Stamps, but he did a fantastic job in tough circumstances Sunday, averaging 42.3 yards on his three attempts and generally doing well at containing star Hamilton return man Brandon Banks. 

(Honourable mentions: Brandon Banks, PR/KR, Hamilton; Justin Medlock, P/K, Hamilton; Karl McCartney, LB, Calgary.)

Bonus star/Canadian player of the week: Andy Fantuz, wide receiver, Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Fantuz had a great performance in a losing cause Sunday, catching a team-high six passes for 81 yards (tied for the Ticats' lead with Banks, who had just two receptions). Western alum Fantuz showed off his usual terrific hands, making some tough catches and proving a reliable outlet for Collaros when he was under pressure. This is a tough loss for Fantuz, and his fourth Grey Cup loss (with Saskatchewan in 2009 and 2010, with Hamilton last year), but he deserves a lot of credit for what he did despite the final score going Calgary's way.

(Honourable mentions: Rene Paredes, K, Calgary; Corey Mace, DT, Calgary; Brett Jones, C, Calgary.)

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