THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO -- Edmonton Eskimos coach Kavis Reed is thrilled to be done with the Toronto Argonauts.
Kerry Joseph and Hugh Charles scored rushing touchdowns as Edmonton defeated Toronto 26-17 on Monday night. It marked the Eskimos' second win this season over the Argos and fifth straight overall against the squad.
And there's been no shortage of hype leading up to each game this year.
In December, Eskimos GM Eric Tillman received plenty of flak in Alberta for dealing veteran quarterback Ricky Ray -- a two-time Grey Cup champion and fan favourite -- to Toronto for journeyman passer Steven Jyles, Canadian kicker Grant Shaw and a 2012 first-round draft pick. And just for good measure, Edmonton hosted the Argos in the season opener for both teams, winning 19-15.
On Aug. 12, Toronto shocked the CFL by releasing league rushing leader Cory Boyd, who hours later agreed to terms with Edmonton. Boyd's return to Rogers Centre was the top storyline here leading up to kickoff.
"I'm ecstatic that this is over," Reed said. "All that hype is for you guys, it's not for us.
"This football team is built on character. We focus on a very competitive league and every game is a season for us. Two points are very difficult to come by in this league these days."
Boyd, who was the CFL's second-leading rusher in each of his two full seasons in Toronto, ran for 45 yards on nine carries and added two catches for 30 yards.
"The first thing I said when I got into the locker-room was this whole fiasco was over with," he said. "I'm glad we got the win and I won't have to see or hear you guys for a whole other year so I'm pretty blessed about it.
"I'm loving this team and I'm loving what we have in this locker-room, the character and amount of guys who will fight for one another and that's what I like about this team."
Chad Kackert replaced Boyd in Toronto's starting lineup and outperformed his former teammate, rushing for 58 yards on eight carries and added five catches for 31 yards.
"I think Cory had something to prove coming in," Kackert said. "It's tough being cut by a team but I just have to focus on what I need to do."
Jyles, too, was making his first return to Toronto since the Ray trade but left late in the first half with a right ankle injury. Enter Joseph, the CFL's top player in 2007 who struggled during his two seasons with the Argos before being released after the 2009 season.
The 38-year-old Louisiana native wasn't spectacular Monday night, completing 13-of-20 passes for 169 yards with two interceptions. But he rushed four times for 44 yards and did have a one-yard TD run. More importantly, Reed said, the 10-year CFL veteran was able to effectively manage the game.
"Kerry takes care of his body and prepares his mind exceptionally well," Reed said. "He's one of the first ones in and one of the last ones out and when a guy does that, much like (Montreal's) Anthony Calvillo, those guys are pros and when you're a pro you understand all the dynamics of preparation and Kerry does a great job of that."
Edmonton's ground attack certainly helped as the Eskimos rushed for 156 yards on 28 attempts against Toronto.
"That's the trademark of our offence right now," Reed said. "We're not a finesse team, we're going to have to be a power-running team."
Joseph said he has no problem coming in off the bench because it allows him to get a feel for what the opposition is attempting to do.
"I'm pretty comfortable with it," he said. "As the game goes on a team is going to stick to what it's doing so you're going to get comfortable knowing where guys are.
"I'm just trying to be a leader here and do my job. When it's time to step in, it's time to step in. I believe and know I can still play, I have the confidence and just go out and play football."