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Elks play final game of 2023 in Winnipeg on Saturday

The Edmonton Elks have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and results in the 2023 CFL season. The ride will end on Saturday for the green and gold as they visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from IG Field.

Elks head coach Chris Jones on his team playing on a big stage in Winnipeg against a very good team on Saturday

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The Elks started the the season 0-9, then went on a 4-4 run which included wins in four of five games and most recently a three-game losing streak.

The Elks have started Tre Ford in each of the last nine games and has seen substantial improvement to an offence who couldn’t score points in the first eight games.

Ford has thrown for 1,781 yards and has 12 touchdown passes to six interceptions. Ford has rushed for 608 yards and has scored three touchdowns.

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Ford played a limited number of games during his career in USports which included a Hec Creighton award for the league’s M.V.P. in 2022 while playing for the University of Waterloo. Ford will make his 13th CFL start and says he has learned much by playing more.

“I would say it’s actually been a little bit easier now that I’m been getting live reps because everything comes together a lot faster,” Ford said. “When you are that third or fourth string guy, you’re trying to piece things together. I do believe you learn more when you do get into live action.”

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Elks quarterback Tre Ford on his experience over the last two-and-a-half months as team starter

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Manny Arceneaux, 36 year-old receiver, has enjoyed a good three-game run for the Elks recording 93 yards on 10 catches. Arceneaux has caught at least one pass in 145 straight games dating back the 2010 season.

Arceneaux now has the fourth-longest catch streak in CFL history. He currently has 644 career catches, one more catch will tie him for 19th all-time with Travis Moore. Arceneaux is 29th on the CFL’s all-time list for receiving yards with 9,248.

After missing the last two games with a hamstring injury, Nyles Morgan will return on Saturday to occupy the middle linebacker spot in the starting defence. Morgan leads the Elks and is third in the CFL in defensive tackles with 97, he leads the team in defensive plays with 105.

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Defensive back Scott Hutter will also return after missing two games with a shoulder injury, Hutter leads the Elks in special teams tackles with 17.

Defensive lineman Daniel Ross will be activated to play his first game since August 17 in Hamilton.

Linebacker Enock Makonzo has been placed on the one-game injured list.

Defensive lineman Emeke Egbule and linebacker Eli Mencer round out the changes for this week’s roster, both players were released this week.

The Bombers clinched first place in the Western Divison on Friday night after the Calgary Stampeders 41-16 win over the B.C. Lions.

The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks:

Offence

Quarterback: Tre Ford

Running back: Kevin Brown Fulback: Tanner Green

Offensive line: Martez Ivey, David Foucault, Mark Korte, Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, Brett Boyko

Receivers: Eugene Lewis, Gavin Cobb, Manny Arceneaux, Dillon Mitchell, Kyran Moore

Defence

Defensive line: Jake Ceresna, Sam Acheampong, Daniel Ross, A.C. Leonard

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Linebackers: Tony Jones, Nyles Morgan, Loucheiz Purifoy

Defensive backs: Kai Gray, Ed Gainey, Marloshawn Franklin, Darrius Bratton, Donovan Olumba

You can hear live coverage of Saturday’s game between the Elks and Alouettes CISN Country 103.9 FM starting with Countdown to Kickoff with Brenden Escott at 3:30 p.m.

The opening kickoff from I-G Field in Winnipeg will be at 5 p.m with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Hear analysis from former Edmonton Football Team offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott.

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