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Charleston Hughes doesn’t have an axe to grind with the Calgary Stampeders.

Hughes will face his former team for the first time since being dealt – twice – this off-season when the Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-2) host Calgary (5-0) before a Mosaic Stadium sellout Saturday night. Hughes spent 10 seasons with the Stampeders before being traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who promptly flipped the veteran defensive lineman to the Riders.

“My thoughts are the same as when I go up against any other team,” Hughes said. “First is to play the best game I can play and (No. 2) is get the win.

“Nothing more. All I care about is winning games and playing the best I can every down.”

Hughes, 34, appeared in 147 regular-season games and 15 playoff contests with Calgary from 2008-17. The 6-foot-1, 246-pound lineman registered 412 tackles, 99 sacks, 38 special-teams tackles, 23 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and three interceptions.

The four-time CFL all-star also appeared in 11 career playoff contests and four Grey Cups, winning twice. Hughes led the league in sacks in 2016 (16) and 2017 (11) and left Calgary tied with Will Johnson for the franchise lead in all-time sacks.

Hughes hasn’t skipped a beat with Saskatchewan, having registered a CFL-best six sacks this season. But getting to Calgary starter Bo Levi Mitchell won’t come easily as Calgary has allowed just six sacks, second only to Edmonton (four).

Hughes has never been afraid to engage in a little on-field trash talk but said that won’t be the case Saturday night.

“I don’t even wear a mouthpiece when I play but I’m going to wear one this game,” Hughes said. “I’ve been going against Bo in practice for years so he knows my style of play and I know his.

“When it’s all said and done we’re very acquainted with each other so all I can do is play my game and just keep going.”

The contest begins an important stretch for both teams, who’ll play six straight games against West Division rivals.

Mitchell leads a Calgary offence that’s ranked first in fewest turnovers (six) and interceptions (three), second in scoring (29 points per game), net yards (408.4) and rushing (128.8 yards per game), and third in passing (289.8 yards).

But those numbers pale in comparison to those being posted this season by Calgary’s defence. The unit leads the CFL in fewest points allowed (9.2 per game), TDs (four), net yards (243.2 per game), rushing yards (70.4), passing yards (190.4) and sacks recorded (16).

Hughes won’t be the only Rider facing his former team. Running back Jerome Messam spent parts of three seasons with Calgary before being allowed to return to Saskatchewan this off-season as a free agent.

“You talk to them before the game but, honestly, once it gets really going sometimes you don’t even notice the person in the helmet,” Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton said. “(You know) the tendencies of how a team is playing, not so much a single person.”

Calgary is the CFL’s only unbeaten team while Saskatchewan comes off a home-and-home sweep of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Prediction: Calgary

Edmonton Eskimos versus Montreal Alouettes (Thursday night)

At Montreal, Vernon Adams Jr. starts for the Alouettes (1-4) but newcomer Johnny Manziel is expected to play after being acquired Sunday from Hamilton with offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice for rush end Jamaal Westerman, receiver Chris Williams and two first-round picks. Edmonton (3-2) comes off the bye week boasting the league’s top passer in Mike Reilly (1,648 yards, nine TDs) and receiver in D’haquille Williams (31 catches, 556 yards, three TDs).

Prediction: Edmonton.

Toronto Argonauts versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Friday night)

At Winnipeg, the Bombers (3-3) look for the home-and-home sweep following last weekend’s 38-20 road win. Andrew Harris ran for a career-best 161 yards and scored two TDs. The bad news for Toronto (1-4) is that 19 of its points came off turnovers and the Argos haven’t scored more than 20 points in a contest this season. Running backs James Wilder Jr. and Dexter McCluster both left Wednesday’s practice with leg injuries and their playing status remains uncertain.

Prediction: Winnipeg.

Ottawa Redblacks versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday afternoon)

At Hamilton, the Ticats (2-3) face a conference rival after opening with five straight games against West Division teams. After nine straight 300-yard passing games, Jeremiah Masoli threw for just 184 in last week’s 31-20 home loss to Saskatchewan. Trevor Harris threw for 363 yards and a TD as Ottawa (3-2) rallied for a 29-25 victory over B.C. Westerman is expected to see action for the Ticats while Williams is coming off a hamstring injury.

Prediction: Hamilton.

Last week: 3-1

Overall: 15-8

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