EDMONTON — C.J. Gable ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns as the Edmonton Eskimos came out on top with a 16-12 home victory against the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Friday night.
Gable gave the Esks an early lead by scoring a touchdown on his longest rush of the season, but a field goal from Lewis Ward brought the REDBLACKS close before Dominique Davis helped Ottawa grab the lead with a 67-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Rhymes just before the second quarter.
Both teams traded field goals after that, and a defensive battle continued until Gable’s second rushing touchdown of the game gave Edmonton a four-point lead in the fourth quarter. The REDBLACKS drove down the field with under a minute left in the game on a promising comeback attempt, but the Esks’ stingy defence held strong to seal the victory.
Edmonton’s solid defence notched a pair of interceptions against Davis, but the REDBLACKS also made a big impact on defence by forcing a fumble along with three turnovers on downs.
Trevor Harris completed an impressive 83 per cent of his passes for 327 yards in the win, surpassing the 300-yard mark for the fourth time this season.
Running back John Crockett gained 85 rushing yards on just nine carries in the first half and finished the game with 108 total yards for Ottawa.
The Esks’ defence notched a takeaway on the opening drive of the game when defensive back Arjen Colquhoun intercepted Davis. Edmonton’s offence capitalized with an impressive drive that saw Harris complete a 20-yard strike to receiver DaVaris Daniels before Gable reached the end zone on a 28-yard run, his longest rush of the season.
A solid 41-yard kickoff return from DeVonte Dedmon set the REDBLACKS up to respond, and a 35-yard rush from Crockett put the team in position to score a touchdown. But Edmonton’s defence refused to give up further ground and forced a 10-yard field goal from Ward.
The REDBLACKS’ offence aired it out to grab the lead just before the second quarter with a 67-yard touchdown bomb from Davis to Rhymes down the left side of the field. The ensuing two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving Ottawa with a 9-7 lead.
Ottawa’s defence stepped up with a takeaway later in the second quarter when linebacker Jerod Fernandez stripped the ball from Harris as the quarterback attempted to gain yards on the ground. Linebacker Avery Williams recovered the ball for the REDBLACKS.
Ward extended Ottawa’s first half lead with a 16-yard field goal, giving the team a five-point lead while extending his CFL record to 69 consecutive successful field goals. But the Esks got a momentum boost just before the half when safety Jordan Hoover picked off Davis, leading to a 44-yard field goal from kicker Sean Whyte that made it a 12-10 ball game heading into half-time.
The Esks managed to march down the field near the end of the third quarter, with Harris stepping up in the pocket to find receiver Ricky Collins Jr. down the field for a 35-yard completion. Daniels then brought the ball down to the one-yard line with an 11-yard catch, but Ottawa’s defensive front stood tall once again to force another turnover on downs by denying Harris on the quarterback sneak.
Edmonton began to get things rolling on offence in the fourth quarter with a 7-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off with a two-yard rushing touchdown from Gable. Harris completed a 25-yard strike to receiver Greg Ellingson to set up the rushing score. Gable’s attempt to break the goal line on the following two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving Edmonton with a 16-12 lead.
Ottawa managed to get the ball back with under two minutes to play, and Davis had the team driving until the fourth quarter comeback came up just short.
Week 10 will see the Edmonton Eskimos face the Toronto Argonauts in a road game next Friday, while the Ottawa REDBLACKS will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats next Saturday.
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