Harris, Red­blacks get sec­ond shot at hand­ing Eski­mos their first loss

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - CFL PICKS BY DAN RALPH

Trevor Harris and the Ottawa Red­blacks will get a sec­ond shot at do­ing what no other team in the CFL has this sea­son: beat the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos.

Ed­mon­ton (6-0) vis­its Ottawa (1-5-1) tonight, com­ing off a 33-28 home win over the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats. The hard-luck Red­blacks lost a 33-30 home de­ci­sion to the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers on Justin Med­lock’s 38-yard field goal on the game’s fi­nal play.

That’s been the story this sea­son for the de­fend­ing Grey Cup cham­pi­ons, whose five losses have been by a com­bined 13 points. That in­cludes a 23-21 set­back in Ed­mon­ton on July 14.

In that game, Harris found Joshua Stangby with a touch­down strike with un­der 30 sec­onds re­main­ing to cut Ed­mon­ton’s lead to 23-21. But the Red­blacks couldn’t se­cure the two-point con­vert to force over­time.

Harris fin­ished 27-of-39 pass­ing for 263 yards and two TDs ver­sus Win­nipeg. But quar­ter­back Matt Ni­chols drove the Bombers’ of­fence 33 yards in three plays to set up Med­lock’s game-win­ning boot.

Harris is the CFL’s sec­ondlead­ing passer with 2,202 yards and is tops with 14 TD strikes. Ottawa’s Greg Elling­son re­mains the CFL’s top re­ceiver with 702 yards on 44 catches with four TDs while Cana­dian Brad Si­nop­oli has stands fourth with 47 re­cep­tions for 538 yards and three touch­downs.

Ed­mon­ton is 6-0 to start a sea­son for the first time since 1961 and is do­ing it with a de­pleted ros­ter. The Eski­mos’ six-game in­jured list in­cludes all-star re­ceiver Adar­ius Bow­man, Cana­dian line­backer Cory Green­wood, of­fen­sive line­men Simeon Rot­tier and Colin Kelly, kicker Sean Whyte and line­backer J.C. Sher­rit.

And against Hamil­ton, lead­ing re­ceiver Bran­don Zyl­stra and cen­tre Justin Sorensen were both in­jured.

But a con­stant is quar­ter­back Mike Reilly, who stands fourth over­all in pass­ing yards (1,945) and third in touch­downs (11). He’s the glue keep­ing Ed­mon­ton’s of­fence to­gether.

De­fen­sively, line­backer Kenny Ladler has a team-high 33 tack­les with three in­ter­cep­tions while speedy end Odell Wil­lis is tied for third over­all in sacks with five.

Ed­mon­ton has turned win­ning close games into an art form this year. The Eski­mos’ six vic­to­ries have been by a com­bined 28 points, and that in­cludes a 12-point vic­tory over the B.C. Lions.

But given their mount­ing in­jured list, the Eski­mos could be primed for their first loss of the year.

Pre­dic­tion: Ottawa.

Toronto Arg­onauts ver­sus Mon­treal Alou­ettes (Fri­day night)

Toronto (3-4) is com­ing off a 41-24 home loss to Cal­gary, a game starter Ricky Ray left in the sec­ond half with a shoul­der in­jury. Ray is listed as dayto-day and could play. If not, mo­bile backup Cody Fa­jardo would get the start. Ar­gos coach Marc Trest­man and re­ceiver S.J. Green will face their former team for the first time. Mon­treal (2-4) is com­ing off the bye, hav­ing not played since blow­ing a late 12-point lead in a 41-40 loss to Win­nipeg.

Pre­dic­tion: Mon­treal.

Win­nipeg Blue Bombers ver­sus Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats (Satur­day night)

Win­nipeg (4-2) has mounted late come­backs to win its last two games ver­sus Mon­treal and Ottawa, re­spec­tively. Ni­chols threw for 319 yards and a TD last week against the Red­blacks but the Bombers needed six field goals from Med­lock to cap­ture the vic­tory. Hamil­ton (0-6) re­mains the CFL’s lone win­less team but played Ed­mon­ton tough fol­low­ing an em­bar­rass­ing 60-1 loss to Cal­gary the week be­fore. As­sis­tant head coach June Jones will have the week to pro­vide his thoughts on how to help the Ti­cats.

Pre­dic­tion: Win­nipeg.

B.C. Lions ver­sus Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers (Satur­day night)

B.C. (5-2) looks to sweep the home-and-home se­ries af­ter last week’s 30-15 home vic­tory. Travis Lu­lay threw for 338 yards and a TD while Bryan Burn­ham posted five re­cep­tions for 131 yards and a touch­down. Chris Wil­liams had three catches for 75 yards in his Lions de­but. Kevin Glenn was 19-of-27 pass­ing for 186 yards and two touch­downs but it was Cana­dian Bran­don Bridge who threw two TD passes for the Rid­ers (2-4). Saskatchewan is 2-1 at home but 0-3 ver­sus West Di­vi­sion teams.

Pre­dic­tion: B.C. Last week: 3-1. Over­all: 22-6-1.

The cana­dIan press/JusTIn Tang

Ottawa Red­blacks’ Trevor Harris throws dur­ing a re­cent CFL game in Ottawa.

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