On September 17, 1949 the Eskimos played their first game at Taylor Field falling 13-1 to the Riders. On September 18, 2016 the Eskimos will make their final appearance at what is now known as Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field as they take on the Riders for the final time this season.
The Eskimos have lost two straight games as they dropped both ends of the Labour Day series against the Calgary Stampeders which dropped their record to 5-6. The Eskimos will be in tough to clinch a playoff spot in the West as they are six points back of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for third place in the Western Division. The Eskimos with a win today will move back into the crossover playoff position in the Eastern Division.
The Eskimos managed to race out to a 17-3 lead in the first half against the Stampeders but were outscored 31-11 the rest of the way as the Eskimos lost 34-28 in overtime. The Eskimos recorded 478 yards of net offense and quarterback Mike Reilly recorded 432 passing yards and threw two touchdown passes. Receiver Derel Walker caught seven passes for 164 yards and a touchdown while Adarius Bowman caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Bowman leads the CFL in receiving yards (1,127) while Walker is second in the league (1,124). The last time a team had the league’s top two receivers was the Eskimos in 2001 with Terry Vaughn and Ed Hervey. Mike Reilly scored a touchdown for the fifth straight game becoming the first quarterback to do so since Kerry Joseph back in the 2007 season. Defensive end Philip Hunt recorded two sacks in his Eskimos debut.
The Eskimos continue to put up good number offensively ranking second in the CFL in average net yards per game (413) but continue to struggle defensively sitting seventh in the league in average yards allowed per game (393).
The Eskimos will have a change at running back as Shakir Bell will start in place of John White who suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of last week’s rematch game. White will remain on the 46-man roster but will be a scratch. Bell will start his second game of the season and second against the Riders. Bell recorded 138 yards rushing and 170 yards from scrimmage and scored one touchdown in the Eskimos 33-25 win over the Riders back on August 26 in Edmonton. Bell was named a CFL Top Performer of the Week. Fullback Calvin McCarty was placed on the six-game injured list this week with a broken fibula suffered in last week’s game against the Stampeders. Mike Miller will start at fullback; he caught two passes for 17 yards last week. Miller leads the Eskimos in special teams tackles with 17 which good for second in the CFL. Aaron Milton will play his first game of the season and will serve as the backup to Miller.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running back: Shakir Bell (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Tony Washington-Simeon Rottier-Justin Sorensen-Matt O’Donnell-D’Anthony Batiste
Receivers: Derel Walker-Adarius Bowman-Cory Watson-Chris Getzlaf-Nate Coehoorn
Defensive Line: Philip Hunt-Eddie Steele-Almondo Sewell-Odell Willis
Linebackers: Deon Lacey-J.C. Sherritt-Kenny Ladler
Defensive Backs: Pat Watkins-Marcell Young-Neil King-Brandyn Thompson-Cords Parks
The Riders are 1-10 on the season and have lost seven straight games after losing 17-10 to the Bombers last week in the Banjo Bowl. It was the best defensive performance of the season by the Riders allowing just 17 points and 317 yards of offense. The Riders continue to struggle offensively even though quarterback Darian Durant put up 283 passing yards and receiver Namaan Roosevelt recorded 121 yards passing scoring a touchdown. The Riders have scored just 13 touchdowns in 113 drives this season. Durant is 0-10 as a starter since the 2014 season. Roosevelt won’t play Sunday as he’s been placed on the six-game injured list. Roosevelt is third in the CFL in receiving yards (1,095). Roosevelt is averaging 99 yards per game and has five 100 yard receiving games and is the second most targeted receiver in the CFL with 111. The Riders will have their top running back Curtis Steele in their lineup; he will play their first game since July 22. Steele is the only Riders running back to record over 50 yards rushing in a game registering 61 yards against the Argos back on June 30. The Riders running game is averaging only 28.6 yards per game. During the Riders seven game losing streak, four games have been decided by nine points or less and inside the final three minutes of the game.
The Eskimos have won seven of their last eight games against the Riders; quarterback Mike Reilly has a 6-0 record lifetime against the Riders.
You can hear Sunday’s between the Eskimos and the Roughriders on 630 CHED starting with the pre-game show at 1pm. The kick-off from Mosaic Stadium is at 2:30pm with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action, with analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup Champion Blake Dermott.