CFL Preview - Edmonton (5-7) at Calgary (7-5)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, September 28, 10:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Edmonton Eskimos try to figure out how to get back into the win column for the first time in a month as they challenge the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Eskimos, the team is at a crucial point in the season and isn't even sure who the starting quarterback will be for this outing. Both regular starter Steven Jyles and backup Kerry Joseph have dealt with injuries and because of that, as well as inconsistent play, third-stringer Matt Nichols was the one getting the majority of the practice time at quarterback.
Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed has been forced to juggle quarterbacks, depending on their health and level of success, which is why seeing Nichols this week may not be that much of a stretch.
Against British Columbia last week, the Esks nearly upset the top team in the league, but ended up suffering a 19-18 home loss nonetheless when the offense became stagnant in the second half. Jyles, who went the distance for the Eskimos, converted 17-of-27 passes for 222 yards and a score of Cary Koch of 27 yards in the second quarter, but the signal-caller was picked off once and sacked four times in the setback as well.
Hugh Charles accounted for one rushing score as he finished with 33 yards on six attempts for a so-called rushing attack that managed just 85 yards on 16 attempts as Edmonton lost for the fourth straight time and the fifth in the last six outings.
As for the Stampeders, they had their four-game win streak snapped by Saskatchewan on the road, 30-25, in week 13 action. Kevin Glenn converted 24- of-38 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, both to Marquay McDaniel, but he too was picked off once and buried on four sacks in the decision.
Nik Lewis, who now needs just five more receiving yards to move into 14th place on the all-time CFL list, responded with five catches for 61 yards for Calgary last week. Jon Cornish responded with a game-high 67 rushing yards on 12 attempts, but not all the news recently has been positive for the league's top running back who has compiled 947 yards and seven touchdowns on 164 carries.
On Monday, the league announced it had fined Cornish an undisclosed amount for his inappropriate conduct towards CFL fans during the meeting with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Head coach and Stampeders GM John Hufnagel expressed his disappointment in the behavior of Cornish and has said that he too will discipline the running back. Whether that action has any bearing on this week's outing remains to be seen.
With 1,118 yards from scrimmage this season, Cornish has become a mainstay on an offense that needs to be on the field for the Stamps to succeed. Sure, the team can probably get along without him for a spell, but they'd rather have him at their disposal rather than have to plan for someone else to carry the load coming out of the backfield.
Certainly Glenn would prefer to have Cornish ready and available whenever he needs him, even though the signal-caller is having a decent season with an efficiency rating of 96.7 and is already within three passing touchdowns of his entire total from last season. Glenn's last four games against Edmonton have been met with mixed results, throwing for no more than 273 yards in any one of those contests and having six interceptions, against just four majors through the air.
While Calgary knows full well who will be starting at quarterback this time around, the Eskimos have to hope that whomever is under center for them will be ready to get the ball moving, unlike previous games against the Stamps this season. Stats don't always paint a clear picture of a team's level of success or failure, but seeing that Edmonton has scored a combined three points in the first and third quarters against the Stamps this season is by no means a good sign for the visitors this time around.
Edmonton, which is due to host Calgary in the final regular-season game of 2012 in early November, owns a 123-84-3 record in the all-time, regular-season between the clubs. However, the Esks came up short in the most recent matchup back on Sept. 7 by a score of 20-18 which means Calgary has taken three in a row and nine of the last 11 meetings.
The dysfunction at quarterback has taken a toll on the Eskimos this season and it doesn't appear as though anything will be cleared up this week in that department, so expect Calgary to put another tally in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Calgary 31, Edmonton 17
09/26 11:19:26 ET