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CFL Preview - Edmonton (3-14) at Saskatchewan (11-6)



From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 2, 5 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: In their final game of the 2013 season, the Edmonton Eskimos try to finish on a high note as they contend with the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday.

Edmonton has been simply dreadful this season, winning a total of three games in 17 opportunities. Making it even worse is the fact that two of those victories came against Winnipeg, the other team in the league that is a mere 3-14 this year.

Edmonton had the Lions clutching at straws through the first quarter of action last week, but then the Eskimos got a full dose of BC backup quarterback Buck Pierce and the visitors ended up on the wrong side of a 43-29 final. The Esks held the Lions to just a single point until the second frame, and after that Edmonton surrendered 14 points in each remaining period.

Quarterback Mike Reilly tried to hold it together for Edmonton, converting 20- of-34 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns, but at the same time he tossed a couple of interceptions and was sacked four times. Backup quarterback Jonathan Crompton stepped in and connected on four of his six pass attempts for another 67 yards and also scored once on the ground in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too little, too late.

Adarius Bowman did all he could to support the cause by turning his six receptions into 199 yards and two majors, but turnovers and penalties were simply too much to overcome.

The loss for Edmonton was the team's fifth straight after capturing back-to- back wins over the Blue Bombers in September.

While the Eskimos will be heading off into the sunset once the weekend draws to a close, the story is quite different for the Roughriders who already know that, regardless of the outcome on Saturday, they'll be matching up against British Columbia in the playoffs on Nov. 10.

Last week, Saskatchewan scored just three points in both the first and third quarters, making it that much more difficult to keep up with Calgary on the road in a meeting that eventually went in favor of the Stampeders, 29-25.

In spite of falling by just four points, the Riders were dreadful on offense as they generated a mere 256 yards on 71 snaps, compared to 426 yards for the hosts. Quarterback Darian Durant went the distance for Saskatchewan, converting 17-of-31 passes for 202 yards and a score, but not only was he intercepted once, he was also sacked seven times as the team lost a chance to possibly grab first place in the division standings as they had a three-game win streak draw to a close.

Durant, who had a one-yard TD run in the second quarter to give the visitors a 15-10 advantage at the break, also tossed a 28-yard TD to Taj Smith in the fourth frame to make things interesting.

Running back Kory Sheets, who engaged in a verbal feud with Calgary's Jon Cornish throughout the week, carried the ball only 11 times and finished with 42 yards, a far cry from the 109 yards and a score put up by his counterpart in what was being billed as the showdown of the week in the CFL.

Kicker Chris Milo helped to keep things interesting for the Riders as he knocked through all four of his field goal chances and finished with 13 points overall in the setback.

Saskatchewan's Weston Dressler went over 1,000 yards receiving on the season, the fifth time he's done that in his career, as he caught five balls for 48 yards. Unfortunately for the Riders, fellow receiver Chris Getzlaf finished the game on the sidelines due to injury, but not before he caught three balls for 49 yards, en route to his second career 1,000-yard campaign.

Defensively, Tearrius George was a terror for the Riders as he came up with four tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and a couple of recoveries. Because of efforts like that, Saskatchewan ranks first in the league in points allowed, permitting a mere 21.6 ppg. It also doesn't hurt that the team is second in scoring with 29.0 ppg.

With respect to the all-time series, one that takes into account regular- season battles dating back to 1949, the Eskimos own a 113-85-2 edge over the Riders. However, Saskatchewan won not only the most recent matchup a few weeks back, 14-9, but has taken three in a row and five of the last six encounters overall.

Edmonton should make things interesting this week, if for no other reason than the Eskimos would like to cause some measure of discomfort for a team heading to the playoffs before they head home and start planning for 2014.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saskatchewan 27, Edmonton 23

10/30 10:51:21 ET

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