After losing 26-23 in overtime to the Saskatchewan Roughriders three weeks ago the Eskimos made the decision to put the first 12 games behind them and to focus on what they called a six-game season. The approach appears to be working as the Eskimos have won two straight games and will look to extend that streak to three games when they visit the Montreal Alouettes at Molson Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.
The Eskimos are playing their best football at the right time of the season. Offensive lineman D’Anthony Batiste says now that the team is comfortable with the new coaching staff and the confidence level of the team is high.
The Eskimos at 7-7 are still in the crossover position in the Eastern Division four points up on the Toronto Argonauts for third place. A win over the Alouettes would put the Eskimos two points back of the B.C. Lions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who both have nine wins.
The Eskimos won their second straight game with a 40-26 win over the Bombers back on September 30 at Investors Group Field. Quarterback Mike Reilly went 32 of 38 for 355 yards passing and throwing for two touchdowns. Running back John White recorded 104 rushing yards on 19 carries scoring two touchdowns and adding seven catches for 64 yards. Both Reilly and White were named a Shaw CFL Top Performer of the Week. Reilly leads the CFL in passing yards with 4,708 yards and is 292 yards away from his first 5,000 yard season. Reilly is still on pace for 6,000 yards passing this season. Receivers Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker each caught touchdown passes. Both have a combined 2,865 yards this season and are on pace to become the most productive duo in CFL history in one season. Linebacker J.C. Sherritt recorded a season-high nine defensive tackles and recorded his CFL leading fifth forced fumble of the season.
The Eskimos will make a change to their return game as receiver Troy Stoudermire will play his first game since being signed by the team back on September 13. Stoudermire spent the previous two seasons with the Bombers where he recorded 1,151 punt return yards and 1,652 kick-off return yards scoring two touchdowns on punt return. Receiver Kenzel Doe comes out of the lineup and has been placed on the practice roster. Linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis returns to the lineup after missing 12 games with a torn bicep. Linebacker Donnie Baggs will come out and has been moved to the practice roster. The final lineup change sees defensive back Josh Woodman come out of the lineup and on to the practice roster. Defensive back Mike Dubiusson will return after a one-game absence.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running back: John White (Fullback: Mike Miller)
Offensive Line: Tony Washington-Simeon Rottier-Justin Sorensen-Matt O’Donnell-D’Anthony Batiste
Receivers: Derel Walker-Adarius Bowman-Brandon Zylstra-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 Alouettes responded well to their coaching change by breaking a four-game losing streak and giving interim head coach Jacques Chapdelaine his first win. The Alouettes beat the Toronto Argonauts 38-11 at Molson Stadium last Sunday to improve their record to 4-10. Quarterback Rakeem Cato threw four touchdown passes on 210 yards passing. Cato has completed 70 per cent of his passes or more in each of his last three starts. Former Eskimos receiver Kenny Stafford enjoyed his best game of the season catching three passes for 60 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
On the downside the Alouettes allowed six quarterback sacks and are last in that category allowing 45 sacks so far this season. On defense the Alouettes have allowed an average of 23.5 points per game which is second best in the CFL. The defense is led by middle linebacker Bear Woods who is second in the league in defensive tackles with 97.
The Eskimos won the first meeting 23-12 back on August 11 in Edmonton.
You can hear the Thanksgiving Day game between the Eskimos and the Alouettes on 630 CHED starting with the pre-game show at 9:30am. The kick-off from Molson Stadium in Montreal is 11am 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.