August 26, 2017 1:01 am
Updated: August 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Edmonton Eskimos lose their first at home to the Roughriders

The Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.

Kirby Bourne / iNews880

The Edmonton Eskimos gave up 14 first-quarter points on turnovers and never got back within shouting distance, losing 54-31 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders Friday night.

Before things were over, the Riders had scored 37 points on turnovers.

Jovon Johnson and Kacy Rodgers each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter which, to quarterback Mike Riley, was the nail in the coffin.

“Things just kind of snowballed,” he said.

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“I made one mistake after another and you can’t do that kind of stuff obviously. We’ll take it as an opportunity to learn from and get better. Use it as a motivator.”

Reilly struggled, completing 15-of-26 passes for 160 yards and those two interceptions as Edmonton (7-2) dropped its second-straight game and first at home.

“It was a perfect storm,” Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said. “The team outplayed us. You have a whole bunch of bad things happen to you and you don’t make as many plays and they do. The score is going to be exactly what I’m looking at, 54-31.”

Saskatchewan struck first seven minutes in, as Naaman Roosevelt made a diving catch to reel in a seven-yard Kevin Glenn TD pass. It was just Glenn’s second touchdown on the road this season.

The Roughriders added to their lead with two minutes left in the opening quarter after Willie Jefferson blocked an Eskimos punt and then scooped the ball up at the 22-yard line and took it into the end zone to give the visitors a 14-0 lead.

The Eskimos showed some life in the second frame as a 33-yard Reilly pass to Brandon Zylstra led to a one-yard QB keeper. However, the convert was blocked and picked up by Carter, who went the distance for a two-point return.

“I wasn’t expecting them to miss it,” a smiling Carter said. “It just sort of rolled to me and I just had to make a play. I was going to punt it. I’ve always wanted to punt it and go get it and score. It just opened up to the right. I had some great blocking and I just made a play.”

He said he’s never worked so hard for two points.

“Man, a whole lot of work and I have to re-evaluate the rest of my game. I only have so many yards in me!”

The points off turnovers kept coming for the Riders. An Eskimos lost fumble eventually led to a four-yard rushing TD by Vernon Adams Jr. Edmonton countered with a nine-yard rushing major by LaDarius Perkins and two-point convert, before Carter reeled in a 12-yard pass for a TD for Saskatchewan.

Edmonton got a late touchdown on a 20-yard pass from James Franklin to Bryant Mitchell.

Kevin Glenn was 19 of 31 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Roughriders. He said he had plenty of time, thanks to great protection.

“Edmonton prides themselves on getting pressure with their four guys up front and they do a very good job of it. They don’t necessarily have to – a lot of times – blitz with their linebackers. They can play in coverage. So they tried it tonight and our offensive line held up. I’m proud of those guys. They took on the challenge and they came out successful.”

Newcomer John Chick said playing in this atmosphere was fun, and he’s looking forward to his time with the green and gold.

“My sense is it’s a winning room, it’s a winning culture. It’s going to be brushed off, fix the corrections and get back to work.

“I know there’s a tough road ahead but I can just sense in the room what the expectation is, and tonight was a one off.”

Next up, the Eskimos travel to Calgary for the annual Labour Day Classic on Sept. 4.

-With files from the Canadian Press

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