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CFL Preview - Montreal (5-8) at Edmonton (3-10)



From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 3:30 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: A couple of historic franchises that have certainly seen better days get together at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as the Montreal Alouettes pay a visit to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Edmonton, which had won only once through the first 10 games, had actually put together a two-game win streak with victories over Winnipeg in a span of just six days and appeared to be well on its way to extending that minor run last weekend as well. However, after allowing just a single point to Toronto in the first half and leading by three touchdowns in the third quarter, the Esks completely fell apart, surrendering 33 unanswered points in a 34-22 setback at home.

The Eskimos saw starting quarterback Mike Reilly exit in the second quarter with concussion-like symptoms. Reilly did have one passing score before exiting.

Backup signal caller Kerry Joseph completed 13-of-26 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown to Fred Stamps, adding a three-yard rushing score in the third period as well. Stamps, playing in his 100th career game, registered his 10th receiving TD of the season and also crossed the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth straight year.

Marcus Howard logged three sacks for the Eskimos and now has nine sacks on the campaign, placing him fourth in the league in that department.

As for the Alouettes, their season has been one disappointment after another. For a team that fired first-year head coach Dan Hawkins just weeks into the campaign, perhaps the biggest issue for the squad has been the loss of quarterback Anthony Calvillo. The league's all-time leader in countless categories, Calvillo was placed on the nine-game injured list for precautionary reasons in early September, forcing the team to go in a different direction.

Unfortunately, with Calvillo unavailable, the quarterback position has been handled similar to fantasy football, with changes made almost on a weekly basis. In addition to Calvillo, the Als have also positioned Tanner Marsh, Josh Neiswander and even Troy Smith under center, with results being marginal at best. Like Calvillo, Marsh is also on the injured list now as well.

Last week versus visiting Saskatchewan, a team which was the most dominant in the league through the first half of the season, Montreal and Neiswander played just well enough to notch their fifth win of the campaign, a 17-12 decision. The signal caller converted 21-of-36 passes for 264 yards and a score, while Smith added a 54-yard toss to Jerome Messam for good measure.

Duron Carter scored the only major of the game for the Als on a 45-yard reception, finishing the contest with six catches for a game-high 152 yards.

Defensively, Montreal picked off three Darian Durant passes and recovered a fumble to keep the Roughriders from coming out on the winning side.

Not surprisingly, the once prolific passing attack for the Alouettes has slowed considerably in 2013. Ahead of only Winnipeg when it comes to passing yards, Montreal has thrown for a collective 3,209 yards and 14 touchdowns, and at the same time watched 19 attempts get picked off.

With the passing attack struggling, Montreal needs to find a way to kick the running game into gear, but that's simply not happening. In fact, in addition to tying for the fewest rushing touchdowns in the league with eight, the Als are at the bottom with regard to first downs produced running the ball (70), and are second-to-last in both yards per game (306.2) and scoring (23.2 ppg).

While the Als had just two quarterbacks on their active roster as of Wednesday morning, Edmonton discovered that Reilly had indeed suffered a concussion versus Toronto, even though he did not experience any concussion-like symptoms immediately following the hit. Edmonton has continued to monitor and evaluate the progress of Reilly in order to determine his availability for this week, but a final decision is still pending.

Edmonton leads the all-time series with the Als by a count of 37-28-2, dating back to 1961 and taking into consideration only regular-season matchups. However, Montreal won the most recent battle back in July by a 32-27 margin and has taken seven straight from the Eskimos.

Unlike Montreal, which is having to assemble a passing attack almost every week with different pieces to the puzzle, at least the Eskimos have the luxury of falling back on an experienced passer like Joseph and that, more than anything else, should be enough to carry the home team to victory this time around.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Edmonton 27, Montreal 23

10/02 10:45:17 ET

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