REGINA — Second-string quarterback Matt Nichols threw for 155 yards and a touchdown to help upset the Saskatchewan Roughriders 19-14 Friday in the final pre-season game for both teams.
Rookie running back Tyler Thomas paced the Eskimos with 95 yards rushing on 12 carries, while John White, another rookie running back pushing for Hugh Charles’ starting job, ran for a total of 57 yards on four rushes and a touchdown.
White’s 41-yard touchdown burst gave the Eskimos a 16-14 lead midway through the third quarter. White also had one catch for 22 yards.
Charles started and had two catches for 13 yards.
Nichols ignited the Edmonton offence in the second half. Battling Jonathan Crompton for a backup spot behind starter Mike Reilly, Nichols found veteran slotback Adarius Bowman on a 20-yard flag pattern in the back of the end zone for Edmonton’s first touchdown of the third quarter.
Nichols completed eight of 11 passes and Reilly added 60 yards on nine of 11 pass attempts.
Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
Durant found wideout Taj Smith in the end zone twice in the first half, on scoring plays that covered 25 yards and 39 yards. The veteran QB was seven for 11 passing.
Keith Toston led the defending Grey Cup champion Roughriders in rushing with 67 yards on seven carries.
The Riders’ offence is looking to fill the vacancies left by running back Kory Sheets, and receivers Weston Dressler and Geroy Simon.
Edmonton opens the regular season in B.C. on June 28 while Saskatchewan hosts Hamilton on June 29.