Edmonton Elks look to break CFL record 22 home game losing streak

Click to play video: 'Rick LeLacheur makes a comeback as Edmonton Elks interim president and CEO'
Rick LeLacheur makes a comeback as Edmonton Elks interim president and CEO
The Edmonton Elks are hoping to improve on what has been a difficult season, not only on the field but in the stands. The club is bringing back a familiar face to do so, Rick LeLacheur, as he takes over the position he held over a decade ago. Jasmine King reports. – Aug 22, 2023

It’s one long losing streak down, one more to go for Tre Ford and the Edmonton Elks.

Ford guided Edmonton to a 24-10 road win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week. The Elks’ first victory of the season snapped a 13-game losing streak dating back to last year.

Edmonton (1-9) returns home to face the Ottawa Redblacks (3-7) on Sunday night. The Elks have dropped a CFL-record 22 straight games at Commonwealth Stadium, their last win there coming in October 2019.

Ford, who captured the ’21 Hec Crighton Trophy as the top U Sports player while at Waterloo, finished 13-of-18 passing for 174 yards and two touchdowns versus Hamilton while rushing five times for 60 yards. The native of Niagara Falls, Ont., was especially effective in the first half, staking Edmonton to 21-9 halftime lead before the game was delayed 90 minutes to start the second half due to lightning.

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The Elks’ defence also contributed mightily to the win, registering seven sacks and limiting Hamilton to just one point in the second half.

Edmonton has been plagued by untimely turnovers all season but on this night there were no interceptions or lost fumbles. The only turnovers came on downs (twice).

The week before, Edmonton stormed out to a 22-0 lead against Winnipeg, which also lost starting quarterback Zach Collaros to injury. But backup Dru Brown rallied the Bombers to a 38-29 victory, coming off the bench to pass for 307 yards and four TDs.

In that contest, Ford was 12-of-16 passing for 189 yards with a TD and interception. He also ran five times for 50 yards and a TD.

Edmonton’s win over Hamilton was Ford’s second as CFL starter. His first also came at Tim Hortons Field when the Elks came back to earn a 29-25 victory over the Ticats.

Ford will make a third straight start Sunday. Edmonton will face Ottawa for a second time as the Redblacks earned a 26-7 win at TD Place on June 30.

It’s been a rough stretch for Ottawa, which has lost four straight by a combined 20 points. Take away the club’s 44-31 loss to Toronto on Aug. 13 and the remaining three defeats have been by a combined seven points.

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Last week, Montreal outscored Ottawa 22-7 in the second half to earn a 25-24 road victory. The Redblacks are 2-4 with quarterback Dustin Crum, who guided the club to wins over Calgary (43-41) and Winnipeg (31-28) in his opening starts.

Despite Crum’s record, Ottawa has been in every game he has started. The former Kent State star’s athleticism is something rival defences must gameplan for as part of their weekly preparation.

Crum has completed 127of-179 passes (70.9 per cent) for 1,421 yards with five TDs and five interceptions. He’s also the CFL top-rushing quarterback with 451 yards on 56 carries (8.1-yard average) and three TDs.

Ottawa boasts the CFL’s top ground attack (127.7 yards per game) but is also ranked last overall in passing (205.8 yards). And the Redblacks have allowed a league-high 41 sacks and are last in offensive yards per game (301.8).

Ottawa won the first meeting of the season, a 26-7 decision at TD Place on June 30 that earned the Redblacks their first win of 2023. Tyrie Adams was the quarterback of record, completing 14-of-20 passes for 185 yards and a TD before requiring season-ending knee surgery following the contest.

Edmonton’s starter was Jarret Doege, who threw three interceptions.

Much has changed for both teams since, but the biggest has to be Edmonton’s psyche with the athletic Ford under centre. He helped the Elks snap one long streak, here’s thinking Ford and Co. finally put the club’s dubious stretch of losses at home to rest.

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Pick: Edmonton.

Montreal Alouettes versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday night)

At Winnipeg, starting quarterback Zach Collaros returns for the Bombers (8-2) after missing last week’s 19-18 road win over Calgary due to a neck injury. Veteran Cody Fajardo starts for Montreal (6-3) after missing the last two games with a left shoulder injury. Both teams are on four-game win streaks. The Bombers are a solid 4-1 at IG Field but the Als counter with an impressive 3-1 road record. Winnipeg’s Demerio Houston has interceptions in five of his last six games and leads the league in picks (seven) and defensive takeaways (10).

Pick: Winnipeg.

Calgary Stampeders versus Toronto Argonauts (Friday night)

At Toronto, the only blemish on the Argos’ 7-1 record is a 20-7 road loss to Calgary (3-7) on Aug. 4. Starter Chad Kelly suffered an ankle injury late in the first half of that game and didn’t return. Fatigue shouldn’t be an issue for the home team, which is coming off its third and final bye of the season. The Stamps have lost two straight and four of their last five but look to extend their road win streak versus the Argos to nine games. Stamps quarterback Jake Maier leads the CFL in passing yards (2,398) but also interceptions (12).

Pick: Toronto.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats versus B.C. Lions (Saturday night)

At Vancouver, the Lions (7-3) return home after falling short of a comeback win in Regina. B.C. is unbeaten team at home (4-0 at B.C. Place Stadium). And that’s bad news for Hamilton (3-7), which has lost two straight and three-of-four following consecutive wins over Edmonton and Ottawa. Rookie Taylor Powell makes a fourth start for the Ticats, who are second-last in offensive points scored (16.9 per game) and last in offensive TDs (13).

Pick: B.C.

Last week: 2-2

Overall: 31-12

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