Eskimos face the Redblacks on Saturday looking to reverse their fortunes
On Saturday, September 22, at the 9:45 mark of the third quarter in a game in Ottawa against the Redblacks, quarterback Mike Reilly found receiver Duke Williams for a 23-yard touchdown. That was the last touchdown the Eskimos have scored in a game, a streak that has lasted over nine quarters which works out to just under 140 minutes of playing time.
On Saturday afternoon the Eskimos will look to break that streak and more importantly break a three-game losing streak when they host the Redblacks on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. The Eskimos current touchdown drought is the longest streak in seven years dating back to August of the 2011 season. The Eskimos haven’t gone 12 full quarters without scoring a touchdown since the 1967 season.
The Eskimos come into this week on a three-game losing streak after falling to the Saskatchewan Roughriders 19-12 on Thanksgiving Day. That loss dropped the Eskimos to a 7-8 record and out of the playoff picture with three games left to play.
Quarterback Mike Reilly didn’t take part in the Eskimos walkthrough practice on Friday morning because of the flu. Backup Kevin Glenn ran the first-team offence and is available if needed but head coach Jason Maas is confident his starter pivot will be ready come game-time.
“Doctors thought it was best that he stay home which is good because he needs rest anyway,” Maas said. “He’ll be ready to play; he’s always locked in mentally. Physically, as long as he can walk he’s going to give us everything he’s got.”
Reilly will be eager to help turn around the fortunes of the Eskimos offence who have turned the ball over 15 times during their touchdown drought. Reilly himself over the last three games has thrown just one touchdown pass compared to six interceptions. He has been sacked 11 times.
The Eskimos will flip their ratio along the offensive line and in the secondary. American Tommie Draheim will return to start at left tackle and will play his first game since suffering a broken thumb in Week One against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. That move will shift Matt O’Donnell over to right guard. Canadian defensive back Arjen Colquhoun will make his first start of the season after spending most of the season on the injured list; he’s played just two games this season.
Listen below: Head coach Jason Maas talks about the impact the additions of left tackle Tommie Draheim and defensive back Arjen Colquhoun will hopefully have on his lineup Saturday
Defensive back Nick Taylor and offensive lineman J.S. Roy will come off the 46-man roster, both have been placed on the one-game injured list.
The following is the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos:
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Tommie Draheim-Travis Bond-David Beard-Matt O’Donnell-Colin Kelly
Receivers: Bryant Mitchell-Duke Williams-Natay Adjei-Vidal Hazelton-Kenny Stafford
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng-Almondo Sewell-Jake Ceresna-Alex Bazzie
Linebackers: Adam Konar-J.C. Sherritt-Chris Edwards
Defensive Backs: Mercy Maston-Aaron Grymes-Neil King-Forrest Hightower-Arjen Colquhoun
The Redblacks at 8-6 are tied for first place in the Eastern Division with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and are coming off a 40-32 loss in overtime to the Bombers last week in Ottawa. The Redblacks are led offensively by running back William Powell who leads the CFL in rushing with 1,235 yards and has the most 100-yard rushing games with six. Receiver Brad Sinopoli leads the CFL in catches with 95 and is third in the league in receiving with 1,157 yards.
The Redblacks won the first meeting with the Eskimos 28-15 back on September 22 in Ottawa.
You can hear live coverage of Saturday’s game on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 2:30 p.m. following coverage of the Oilers-Rangers game. The opening kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 3 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott. Brenden Ullrich will be reporting from the Eskimos sidelines.
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