CFL: Edmonton Eskimos push past Saskatchewan Roughriders for Win #5

EDMONTON — Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos closed out an exciting Thursday night double header with a 26-19 victory against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Esks grabbed their fifth win of the season in a back-and-forth game that saw four lead changes in the second half.

Reilly came through once again for Edmonton to lock up his 50th career win. The league’s leading passer threw for 257 yards and a touchdown and added the game-winning rushing touchdown in the final minutes.

Derel Walker showcased his phenomenal playmaking ability all night for the Esks, hauling in six catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Zach Collaros looked solid in his return to action after being sidelined since Week 2, finishing 22 of 34 for 261 yards and a touchdown.

The Riders’ defence did their part with a fumble recovery and four sacks, including Charleston Hughes‘ ninth of the season.

The Esks’ offence began firing on all cylinders right away in this one, with Reilly leading a six-play, 85-yard touchdown drive on the team’s second possession. Reilly connected with Walker for a 61-yard catch and run that put the offence in position to score. C.J. Gable capped off the drive with a physical three-yard touchdown run to give Edmonton the early lead. Gable finished the night with 81 yards on 14 carries.

The Riders answered with a scoring drive of their own to close out the opening quarter. Collaros injected life into Saskatchewan’s offence and found receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert on back-to-back plays for gains of 29 and 13 yards. Marcus Thigpen took the ball into the end zone from one yard out to even things up.

Edmonton retook the lead on the following drive with a 49-yard field goal from Sean Whyte.

Edmonton WR Derel Walker caught 6 passes for 154 yards and 1 TD Photo Walter Tychnowicz/

Both defensive units looked strong in the opening half, keeping the big plays few and far between while also generating heavy pressure.

The Riders put together a big drive to start the second half, and Collaros continued to show how much of a difference he can make. Collaros hit Duron Carter for a 41-yard touchdown to put Saskatchewan ahead, utilizing perfect touch to place the ball where only Carter could get it.

But it was a short-lived lead, as Reilly answered the Riders’ passing touchdown with one of his own. The veteran passer found Walker in double coverage for a 36-yard touchdown to retake the lead, his fifth score of the season. Walker consistently created separation to make big-play receptions against the Riders’ secondary.

Riders running back Tre Mason showed off his own playmaking ability on the next drive, using his speed and vision to break free for a 42-yard run. Esks’ defensive back Nicholas Taylor came through with the touchdown-saving tackle. Saskatchewan appeared to score a few plays later with a one-yard quarterback sneak from David Watford, but the quarterback was ruled down after the play was reviewed, resulting in a turnover on downs.

The Riders added two points when the Esks conceded a safety after being pinned back in their own territory, making it 17-16 for Edmonton heading into the fourth quarter.

Duke Williams got the Edmonton crowd excited when he reeled in a Reilly pass and took it 98 yards to the end zone, but it was ruled that the receiver was touched down with just a 17-yard catch. The Esks’ drive ended abruptly when defensive back Jovon Johnson stripped the ball from Nate Behar. Defensive lineman Tobi Antigha recovered the fumble to set up a 33-yard field goal from kicker Brett Lauther, putting the Riders up 19-17.

But Reilly and the Esks found a way to move the ball down the field once again, and receiver Kenny Stafford came up with a huge 46-yard catch by going up high over the opposing defender. Reilly finished the drive off by keeping the ball himself for a one-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone.

Riders defensive back Crezdon Butler broke up the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, making it 23-19 for Edmonton with just over two minutes to play.

Whyte added a 46-yard field goal in the final minute to seal the 26-19 victory for Edmonton.

The Eskimos will travel to face the BC Lions in Week 9 action next Thursday, while the Roughriders will be off until they host the Calgary Stampeders in Week 10.

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