Esks play like it’s 1989
seethed Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich. “You can’t do that against a good team. You have to come out of the tunnel ready to go. You have to have the guys cranked up. “I was not pleased.” Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray agreed that his team did a lot of damage to themselves.
“We just had too many bad plays there and kind of dug ourselves a hole,” he said. “Our defence got us a couple of early turnovers and we just didn’t capitalize on that. Then we turned the ball over and they had some big plays. We dug a hole that was hard to fight back out of. It’s tough to do against a good team like them, to give them that much.
“They are a good defence and when you play a good team like that, you can’t spot them a lot of plays early on and expect to come back and win.”
Ray fell short of his goal of becoming the youngest quarterback in CFL history to hit the 50,000 yards passing mark, only getting 277 of the 369 yards he needed to reach the milestone.
Both teams’ defences looked sharp in the early running, with Toronto catching the first big break when Nichols had the ball knocked loose into the arms of defensive lineman Tristan Okpalaugo, although the Argos couldn’t make any headway after the play. Nichols came in early after Reilly left the field to have his throwing hand looked at, eventually going for X-rays in the second quarter and not returning to the game.
Edmonton coughed the ball up again in their own territory with six-and-a-half minutes to play in the opening quarter as Devon Bailey reeled in a Nichols pass but then fumbled on his own 41, with Argo Brandon Underwood recovering the ball.
This time Toronto took advantage, as the turnover eventually led to a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ray to Jason Barnes for a 7- 0 Argos lead with three minutes to play in the first.
The Eskimos pulled even less than two minutes later, though, as Kendial Lawrence took a handoff and slipped off a tackle before turning on the jets and burning 61 yards into the end zone. It was Edmonton’s longest offensive play of the season to date.
The Eskimos got the ball back at the Toronto 48 early in the second quarter on an interception by McCoil. On the next play Nichols hit A. J. Guyton with a hitch pass and Guyton sped across the goal-line to put Edmonton up 14-7.
The Eskimos defence got in on the scoring with a highlight reel play with six minutes to go in the second. Odell Willis blocked a Ray pass and then plucked the ball out of the air and headed 18 yards towards the end zone before pitching it back to McCoil, who took it the remaining 28 yards to give the Green and Gold a 24-7 lead.
Edmonton padded its lead with a minute left in the first half as thirdstring QB Pat White came in and called his own number for a fiveyard TD run. Edmonton put the game away for good as McCoil picked off Ray and ran the ball back for a 19yard touchdown with 12 seconds left.
Both teams return to action on Labour Day Monday.
— The Canadian Press