Canadian Football League

Edmonton continues early run against Ottawa

Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - As one of two teams in the CFL with a record of 2-0 after two weeks of action, the Edmonton Eskimos put their unblemished mark on the line Friday night as they clash with the Ottawa RedBlacks at Commonwealth Stadium.

Tied with Winnipeg for the top spot in the Western Division standings, the Eskimos needed a 15-0 spurt to close out the meeting with Hamilton last week in order to come away with the 28-24 home victory. Kicker Grant Shaw deserves much of the credit for the victory as he knocked through four of his six field goal tries and finished with 16 points all on his own.

Quarterback Mike Reilly, who placed second on the team with 22 rushing yards on just two carries, converted 29-of-40 passing for 253 yards and a score, while being picked off once and sacked two times. Running back Tyler Thomas carried the ball 11 times for 28 yards.

While it has been just two games and the Esks are still undefeated, the fact that they have yet to register a rushing touchdown has to be a concern. The squad is tied with British Columbia for last in the league with a mere 67.5 ypg on the ground, which may have prompted them to go out and sign Noel Devine earlier this week.

Devine, who attended West Virginia like backup quarterback Pat White, had spent two seasons with Montreal but was limited as far as his production coming out of the backfield was concerned. However, Devine did show promise as a kick returner and having someone who can serve in several roles is certainly a bonus in the CFL.

Even though Edmonton could stand more production in the running attack, the good news for the time being is that the team ranks first in the league in terms of turnovers, sporting a plus-seven in that department. No other club has more than a plus-one after two games.

The newest team added to the CFL, Ottawa didn't hit the field until Week 2 and did so rather convincingly as it scored 21 points in the first quarter at Winnipeg, only to end up with a 36-28 setback in the end. Running back Chevon Walker accounted for two touchdowns, one rushing and the other receiving, coming up just shy of 100 yards from scrimmage.

Quarterback Henry Burris connected on 17-of-30 passes for 241 yards and two scores, was sacked twice, but also ran for 20 yards on two attempts which moved him into first place on the CFL's all-time rushing yards list for a quarterback. Now in his 15th season, Burris has 5,053 rushing yards which puts him eight ahead of Russ Jackson, the latter coincidentally playing for the Ottawa Roughriders.

This latest incarnation of Ottawa football appeared to be heading towards a potential win in the opener, but the defense became rather lax in the fourth quarter and gave up 16 unanswered points to the Blue Bombers on the road. Clearly the offense for the RedBlacks stalled after an exciting first frame, but it also didn't help that the squad was flagged for 16 penalties, accounting for 120 yards of lost field position.

From the judicial side of the CFL, it was announced on Monday that Ottawa defensive back Jerrell Gavins was being fined for a late and low hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Drew Willy.

Coincidentally, Edmonton defensive lineman Odell Willis was also sent a bill for what was deemed a high hit on Hamilton Tiger-Cat quarterback Zach Collaros last week, leaving little room for where and how a quarterback may be met with contact by a defender.

The Esks were also dealt blows to the depth chart when it was announced that both Thaddeus Coleman and Don Oramasionwu would miss playing time due to injuries suffered against Hamilton. Coleman will be out indefinitely after suffering a dislocated elbow, while Oramasionwu will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee.

The other meeting scheduled between the teams for later this season has Edmonton paying a visit to the RedBlacks during Week 8 action on August 15.

07/09 10:48:12 ET

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