ESKS CLOSE OUT PRE-SEASON WITH 25-11 VICTORY OVER RIDERS
So far so good for Jason Maas and the Eskimos; at least by pre-season standards. The new Edmonton sideline boss helped guide his team to another exhibition win, a 25-11 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Saturday at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
With 122 yards and an 85-yard touchdown on the day, Joe McKnight was the story for the Eskimos as he powered the Esks ground attack. he averaged over 12 yards per carry on the afternoon.
Edmonton came out with the guns blazing with a three play 65-yard touchdown drive in which the big play was a Mike Reilly to Derel Walker 59-yard pitch and catch. Chris Getzlaf completed the drive with a five yard catch in the back of the end zone for the early 7-0 lead.
After an Eskimo punt-single made it 8-0, the Riders bent but didn’t break when an 11-play, 89-yard Eskimos drive was snuffed out on 3rd and goal by a Johnny Dixon tackle of an Adarius Bowman run at the one-yard line.
A Sean Whyte field goal pushed the Edmonton lead to 11-0 after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Riders pick up the first interception of the game when Kevin Francis picked Thomas DeMarco taking it into Eskimos territory. That drive was snuffed out when Cord Parks intercepted Darian Durant deep in Edmonton territory to snuff out the drive.
Another punt single pushed the Edmonton lead to 12-0 when the Riders offence kicked it in gear. An eight play, 75-yard drive was capped with a John Chiles 5 yard run and the Riders were in the game trailing 12-8.
The first half scoring was finished with an 80-yard Tyler Crapigna kick-off single and at the half it was Edmonton leading 12-8.
Philip Simms began the second half as the Riders quarterback, and received a little help with a Samuel Eguavoen interception taken back to his own 46-yard line. Simms drove the ball deep into Edmonton territory when the Eskimos Josh Woodman picked the CFL rookie in the end zone to kill the Rider drive.
The ensuing drive was a one and done when McKnight took the hand-off and went 85 yards for the touchdown to extend the Edmonton lead to 19-8.
Sean Whyte had himself a game, nailing a couple more field goals putting Edmonton up for good 25-8.
Rookie Rider kicker, Quinn Van Gylyswyk came in and drilled a 46-yard field goal to get the Green and White a little closer making the final 25-11 Edmonton.
The Eskimos finish the preseason undefeated at 2-0 while the Riders go winless in the preseason for the second year in a row (0-2).
After playing the first two drives, Eskimos quarterback, Mike Reilly took a seat with Thomas DeMarco and Jordan Lynch split time the rest of the game. On the Rider side of the football, Darian Durant played the full first half, and after Philip Simms played the first two series in the second half, B.J. Coleman entered the football game with Brett Smith cleaning things up late in the fourth quarter.
Edmonton will open up the 2016 CFL season at home with a Grey Cup rematch. The Ottawa REDBLACKS will pay a visit to The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton next Saturday night.
The Riders will now enjoy a rare week-one bye with their Farewell Season to Mosaic Stadium kicking off Thursday, June 30th at 8pm hosting the Toronto Argos.