CFL: Saskatchewan Roughriders dominate Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium for first road win

CFL.CA STAFF
EDMONTON — The Saskatchewan Roughriders snapped their winless record on the road with a 54-31 victory at Commonwealth Stadium over the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday night.

The win improved the Riders to 1-3 away from Mosaic Stadium and handed the Eskimos their first loss at home as Saskatchewan dominated in all three phases of the game.

The Roughriders defense continued their dominance from their Week 8 contest against the BC Lions, collecting two pick six’s in the win. The offense also scored four times – thanks to Naaman Roosevelt, Cameron Marshall, Duron Carter and Vernon Adams Jr. – and special teams got in on the scoring action as well with Willie Jefferson scooping and scoring his own blocked punt.

Kevin Glenn connected on 19 of 31 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Mike Reilly finished connecting on 15 of 26 passes for 160 yards and two interceptions while also adding in a touchdown on the ground.

Duke Williams led all receivers with 101 yards on six catches and Roosevelt was just behind with 81 yards on seven catches to go along with his major score.

Both teams exchanged two and outs on their first possessions of the ball game as they started to feel each other out.

Duke Williams got into the game early on the Eskimos second drive as Mike Reilly found him for a 34-yard gain. Shamawd Chambers, in his first start of the season, was the Esks pivot’s next target to get within inches of the first down.

Reilly fumbled his quarterback sneak looking for that first down and Ese Mrabure recovered the ball, bringing the Riders offense back to the field.

Roughriders QB Kevin Glenn escaping trouble Photo: Walter Tychnowicz/CFL.ca

That turnover led to a major for the Riders as Roosevelt caught a Kevin Glenn pass deep in the end zone with one hand for the score. The touchdown was Glenn’s 15th touchdown pass of the year and just his second on the road.

The drive started with a Rob Bagg catch to bring Saskatchewan into Edmonton territory. Glenn then aired it out to Roosevelt bringing the Riders inside the 30-yard line.

Marshall then made a 20-yard gain, running out of bounds at the eight-yard line. The first attempt for the Riders pivot looking for the end zone was to Nic Demski, who had the pass go off his fingers. But Glenn’s second attempt was successful to Roosevelt for six.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders were worried about their 0-3 record on the road, they didn’t show it as they took an early 7-0 lead.

The Riders defense also took the momentum from their impressive outing in Week 8 early in the contest, forcing the Eskimos to two punts and a fumble in their first three drives.

Edmonton’s defense pushed back, however, forcing the Riders to punt on their next possession.

Jamill Smith made his mark in his first game with the Eskimos, returning Josh Bartel’s punt 35 yards giving the Esks good field position. But the Esks’ offense couldn’t make anything happen and the Riders defense forced them to punt once again.

Jefferson blocked Hugh O’Neill’s punt, recovered it and brought it to the house himself for the Riders’ second touchdown of the night off a turnover. With Tyler Crapigna’s convert kick, Saskatchewan took a 14-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.

Edmonton started driving down the field as the opening quarter expired and Brandon Zylstra, in his return after missing two games to injury, caught a 33-yard pass to bring the Esks to the one-yard line. Reilly then plunged in for the home team’s first score of the ball game.

But the Eskimos momentum was taken right away after O’Niell’s convert kick was blocked and Carter took it out of the end zone and all the way down the field adding two points to the Riders’ score and extending their lead to 16-6.

On Saskatchewan’s next drive, Adams Jr. made his Riders debut that led to Crapigna adding three more points to his team’s lead with a 20-yard field goal.

When the Riders seemed to be rolling once again, Johnny Adams notched an interception after Glenn’s pass went off Roosevelt’s hands inside the red zone.

With just 15 seconds left in the half, the Riders weren’t done scoring just yet.

Photo: Walter-Tychnowicz-CFL.ca

Under pressure and as he was falling, Glenn flipped the ball to Marshall who dodged himself into the end zone for the Riders third major of the night and extended their lead to 26-6 as the first half concluded.

Kenny Ladler blocked Crapigna’s 43-yard field goal attempt to start the third quarter and Alex Hoffman-Ellis recovered it for Edmonton.

Both team’s traded offensive possessions for most of the third frame as their defenses stood tall.

The next score came late in the quarter, after Jovon Johnson picked off Reilly and took it 40 yards for another Riders touchdown. The 11-year CFL veteran’s score extended Saskatchewan’s lead to 33-6.

Things didn’t get better for the Eskimos pivot, as Kacy Rodgers also intercepted Reilly on the Eskimos next drive and ran it into the end zone. The second pick-six of the game extended the lead to 40-7.

Edmonton scored on their next possession. O’Neill punted the ball away and Cauchy Muamba scored the touchdown on a misplayed punt return by Demiski. The Esks then went for two as Reilly found Williams, cutting the Riders lead to 40-15 early in the final frame as the home team looked for a spark.

The Riders defense added to their takeaways on the night after recovering a Reilly fumble bringing Saskatchewan’s offense back onto the field.

Adams Jr. scored his first touchdown as member of the Roughriders late in the fourth, as he scurried around the line of scrimmage to run untouched into the end zone. That score extended the Riders lead to 47-15.

James Franklin made his season debut on the Esks next drive that led to a LaDarius Perkins touchdown with just over three minutes left in the contest. The Esks two-point convert was successful to Kenny Stafford to cut the Riders lead to 47-23.

The Riders still weren’t done scoring. Carter scored another major for the visiting team with just over one minute left in the contest as he stretched into the end zone.

Franklin passed to Bryant Mitchell with just 16 seconds left to add a touchdown to the Eskimos point total but it wasn’t enough and Edmonton was handed their second loss of 2017.

Saskatchewan heads home next week to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers while the Eskimos take a trip to Calgary for a tussle with the Stampeders.

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