It’s never too early to keep pace near the top of the Canadian Football League’s Western Division.
The Edmonton Eskimos currently sit in a tie for second place and can move into a share of first place with a win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday afternoon from BMO Field in Toronto.
The Calgary Stampeders are currently on their bye week and lead the West with a 3-0 record while the Eskimos have a 2-1 record and will look for their first winning streak of the young CFL season.
READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos declaw BC Lions 41-22
Last week, the Eskimos avoided their first losing streak thanks to a 41-22 win over the B.C. Lions on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Eskimos trailed 14-2 midway through the second quarter before beginning a rally that saw the green and gold outscore the Lions by a margin of 39-8 the rest of the way. Running back C.J. Gable rushed 23 times for a career-high 165 yards and scored one touchdown. It’s the eighth 100-yard rushing game in Gable’s CFL career.
Quarterback Mike Reilly passed for 326 yards and threw three touchdown passes while also rushing for one touchdown. Receiver Duke Williams caught six passes for 126 yards and scored a touchdown. He also converted a pair of two-point convert attempts.
The defence recorded five quarterback sacks and forced two turnovers. Two of the Eskimos’ sacks came from linebacker Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga, who leads the Eskimos in defensive plays with 20 which is good for fifth in the CFL.
The Eskimos will make two lineup changes to their 46-man roster. Coming on the roster is Canadian defensive lineman Mark Mackie who was signed by the Eskimos this week after being released after training camp.
Also coming on the roster is fullback Pascal Lochard who will replace fellow fullback Christophe Normand. Normand has been placed on the six-game injured list.
Also coming off the roster is receiver Miles Shuler who moves back to the Eskimos practice roster.
Gerald Rivers is expected to make his first CFL start at defensive end. Fellow defensive lineman Kwaku Boateng missed practice this week after picking up two sacks in last week’s win over the Lions.
Below are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Matt O’Donnell-Travis Bond-Justin Sorensen-David Beard-Colin Kelly
Receivers: Derel Walker-Duke Williams-Natey Adjei-Nate Behar-Kenny Stafford
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng-Almondo Sewell-Jake Ceresna-Alex Bazzie
Linebackers: Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga-J.C. Sherritt-Chris Edwards
Defensive Backs: Nick Taylor-Aaron Grymes-Neil King-Money Hunter-Maurice McKnight
The Argonauts are coming off their bye week after a 41-7 pounding at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders, dropping the Argos’ record to 0-2. The loss proved more costly as starting quarterback Ricky Ray left the game in the third quarter with a serious neck injury which may cost him the rest of the season. That means the quarterback reigns belong to former Eskimos pivot James Franklin who was traded to the Argos last December for offensive lineman Mason Woods.
Franklin will make his fourth career start and is 2-1 as a starter. He has two 300-yard passing games under his belt and has thrown 13 touchdowns and just one interception in limited action during his three-plus years in the CFL.
Listen Below: Eskimos head coach Jason Maas says he enjoyed coaching James Franklin for two seasons in Edmonton.
The Argos have only held onto a lead once this season, leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a point for 7:08 in the opening game of the season in Regina.
You can hear live coverage of Saturday’s game between the Eskimos and Argonauts on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 2 p.m. The kickoff from BMO Field in Toronto is at 3:30 p.m. MT with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. You can also hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup Champion Blake Dermott.