Monday, September 15, 2014
ON TINO SUNSERI'S FIRST PRO START
CC: I'm sure that's not the start he wanted. Neither of us wanted. There's things I'm sure he stayed up all night rewinding and replaying in his mind. That's a part of football. I know he'll get better and get back to the drawing board. Darian will be around this week and I'm sure that'll help him also, being able to bounce some things of him.
Tino has to get all the reps. There's nothing in practice that simulates the speed of the game and the speed of your opponent. He has to get those game reps and you could see change near the latter part of the quarters. He started to feel a bit more comfortable. He's a professional and he's growing and hopefully he's a lot more comfortable going into his next start.
ON TINO'S UNCOMFORTABILIITY IN THE POCKET
CC: Versus their defense, lately, Hamilton's been playing a lot of pressure. With pressure it doesn't matter if they're young quarterbacks or old quarterbacks, it usually pushes them to the edge. I thought he'd look a little bit better but he didn't and I'm sure he will in the upcoming weeks.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST ISSUE?
CC: Being his first start. Darian always says it's one thing when you're the back-up and correcting all the plays. It's just like coaching -- you can question coordinators all days until you actually run the plays. It's always easier to be in second than be in first.
ON THE TEAM PLAY AROUND TINO
CC: I don't think we played well enough in all three phases to win the game. It was close at one points, but I don't think we played well enough in all three areas. It wasn't solely on Tino. He has part to play, but there are two other phases as well.
We have to rebound from a loss. He can make the throws and reads, he's a smart guy, but he has to get his confidence and let his nerves settle.
We didn't play our best ball. We've been playing good ball, not great ball, and it's been declining. We've been playing hard-fought games but it showed in this one we weren't 100%. We didn't have 100% execution and we didn't have 100% energy level. But I think those things will be corrected as we move forward.
IS THERE ANY THOUGHT TO ANOTHER QUARTERBACK STARTING?
CC: No. There's no debating that. Like I said, now you're just starting down another road starting another one and he'd have to get his nerves ready. Both guys will prepare like they'll see time and we'll move forward from there. There's no point bringing a new quarterback in and I don't know where he'd come from or how long it would take to learn the system. Tino knows the system and same thing with Seth.
HAMILTON, Ont. - Zach Collaros and the Hamilton Tiger-cats created a three-way tie for first place in the CFL's East Division on Sunday.
Collaros threw two touchdown passes and the Tiger-Cats defence shut down the league's best running game en route to a 28-3 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"It was a complete football game today in all three phases, which is what you want to see,'' said Hamilton head coach Kent Austin. "Especially after a tough loss on the road (38-31 to Montreal in which the Ticats gave up a huge lead). Just tells you about the character in that locker-room and the quality of our guys.
"We've gotten better as a football team. We didn't have the lulls in this game that we've had before ... And guys are growing up a little bit.''
Hamilton (3-7) moves into a three-way tie for first in the East with Toronto and Montreal, who both lost this weekend.
And Saskatchewan, missing injured quarterback Darian Durant, saw its league-best winning streak end at seven games. With a record of 8-3, the Riders fall into a share of second spot with Edmonton in the mighty CFL West Division.
Collaros threw touchdown passes to Luke Tasker and Terrell Sinkfield scored on a 58-yard punt return for the victory in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,135 fans at Tim Hortons Field.
"It feels good to win,'' said Collaros, who completed 29 of 36 pass attempts for 287 yards, two TDs and one interception. "I thought the offensive line did a great job all day. That's a heckuva D-line over there.''
Ticat kicker Justin Medlock hit field goals from 50 and 51 yards and added a 57-yard punt single, but hit the left upright in the third quarter from 43 yards out. Saskatchewan kicker Chris Milo hit a 10-yarder on his lone attempt.
Hamilton receiver Andy Fantuz made 11 catches for 108 yards.
The Ticats won the battle for time of possession, controlling the ball for 32:13 to Saskatchewan's 27:47. They had seen that as a key battle in keeping their own defence rested. And that seemed to pay off. The Ticat defence held the Saskatchewan rushing attack to 105 yards _ an attack that averaged 150.7 yards per game coming in.
Meanwhile, the Roughrider defensive line, that had sacked Collaros 10 times in their first meeting to start the season (a Saskatchewan 31-10 win), only got to him three times.
Hamilton's defence sacked Tino Sunseri five times.
Ticats defensive co-ordinator Orlondo Steinauer said you can plan a defensive strategy, but it's up to the players to execute it.
"What I saw (today) were guys that didn't want to lose,'' he said. "To be honest with you, (I saw) a different level of intensity in their preparation starting early in the week and it just followed all the way through four quarters today.''
Sunseri, starting in place of Durant, who is expected to be out for the season after tearing a tendon in his right elbow, completed nine of 21 pass attempts for 88 yards, one interception and no touchdowns.
Saskatchewan coach Corey Chamblin said the game was a challenge. With the best running game in the league right now and a back-up quarterback running the offence, everybody expected his team to run the ball.
The Riders rush about 47 per cent of the time - more than any other team in the league. Heading into the game, they led the league with 1,507 net yards on the ground.
But when you're riding a seven-game win streak, you know it has to eventually end.
"When you've been winning so long, eventually you have to come down,'' Chamblin said. "It's part of football. There have been lots of games we won but we could have lost. This one, there was a chance when we were down by just 10 points (at the end of the half), but we lost. It's not stunning. It's a part of football.''
Hamilton mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, squandering a scoring opportunity while in Saskatchewan territory, and took a 13-3 lead into halftime.
Medlock couldn't add to the lead early in the third when his 43-yard field-goal attempt hit the left upright. But Sinkfield made it 20-3 for the Ticats soon after when he returned a 38-yard punt by Milo 58 yards for the touchdown.
Roughrider defensive lineman Derek Walker shut down another promising Hamilton drive late in the third with an interception at the Saskatchewan 12, grabbing a deflected pass from Collaros.
But with less than four minutes left to play, Hamilton finished an 85-yard drive with a 14-yard TD pass from Collaros to Tasker. Medlock's 57-yard punt single made it 28-3.
Hamilton was up 6-0 at the end of the first quarter on two Medlock field goals, from 50 and 51 yards with the wind. The Ticats followed the game plan controlling the ball for most of the quarter, keeping it away from the Roughriders' powerful running backs.
A short 20-yard punt by Milo near the end of the quarter gave the Ticats the ball at the Saskatchewan 44. Four plays later, Collaros hit Tasker for a 14-yard catch-and-run TD to open second-quarter scoring and take a 13-0 lead.
Saskatchewan finally got on the board when Milo hit a 10-yard field goal with three minutes left in the half. The Roughriders took 11 plays and 4:54 to move 55 yards, aided by three Hamilton penalties, but the Ticat defence came up big with first-and-goal at the three-yard-line, stuffing Jerome Messam at the line of scrimmage and then forcing an incomplete throw in the end zone.
The half ended 13-3 as Hamilton missed an opportunity to get at least a field goal. After driving 62 yards to the Saskatchewan 21, the Ticats ran a play from scrimmage with about seven seconds remaining but couldn't get the ball out of bounds fast enough and time expired before any attempt at a scoring play.
It is not the case that an NFL player is suspended or deactivated because of - or kept around despite - a pending criminal case each and every day. Just seems that way lately. And the futures of some players, most notably 2012 MVP Adrian Peterson, are going to be a big deal this week.
Minnesota's star running back was inactive for what became a 30-7 loss to New England on Sunday, two days after being indicted; he was charged with child abuse for striking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.
Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, meanwhile, was deactivated for Sunday's 24-7 victory over Detroit after playing in Week 1 despite being convicted in July of assaulting a woman. Panthers coach Ron Rivera explained the switch from one week to the next by saying the "climate has changed'' in the NFL.
Then there's Ray McDonald, the 49ers' defensive lineman who has been active for both regular-season games since his Aug. 31 arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
So among the key questions in the coming days: Will Peterson be allowed to play next Sunday against New Orleans? Will he ever play again for the Vikings? What will happen to Hardy in Week 3, when Carolina hosts Pittsburgh? And will Ray Rice, whose case put the spotlight on domestic violence in the NFL, appeal the league's increase of his punishment from a two-game suspension to an indefinite ban?
In case you missed it, here are other top topics after the NFL season's second Sunday:
'WHO CALLED TIMEOUT?': That's what Rex Ryan wanted to know after a sequence that will go down in Jets lore alongside the "butt fumble'' and the fake spike. Trailing by a touchdown with about 5 minutes left, Geno Smith appeared to throw a 37-yard TD pass Jeremy Kerley on fourth down - until it was negated by a timeout the Jets themselves had apparently asked for. Except Ryan hadn't: He could be seen telling the officials, "Who called timeout? I didn't call timeout.''
PLENTY OF PAIN: Some of the NFL's most dynamic players on offence left games with injuries, and their status will be monitored closely in the coming days: Robert Griffin III (ankle) and DeSean Jackson (shoulder) of the Redskins, A.J. Green (foot) of the Bengals, Jamaal Charles (ankle) of the Chiefs, Tavon Austin (knee) of the Rams, Knowshon Moreno (elbow) of the Dolphins, Vernon Davis (ankle) of the 49ers, and Ryan Mathews (knee) of the Chargers. RG3, for example, is expected to be out no less than a month - and perhaps the rest of the season.
'AINTS: The New Orleans Saints and their revamped secondary are 0-2. Doesn't matter how often Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham connect if their defence can't stop the likes of Brian Hoyer and the talent-shy Cleveland Browns offence, as happened in Sunday's 26-24 loss for Sean Payton and Co. At least the Saints get to face the Vikings next.
OFFICIATING ISSUES: It can be something of a bore to watch a game that's interrupted over and over and over by yellow flags, as happened Sunday night, when there were 26 combined accepted penalties in Chicago's 28-20 victory over San Francisco. What's worse, though, is when calls are wrong - or missed altogether. One example from Sunday: Seattle's Percy Harvin stepped out of bounds during a 51-yard TD run against San Diego, but the league acknowledged later the play was not reviewed - as all scores are supposed to be - and the touchdown should have been erased.
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On Friday in Wilcox, scoring for the Pat Canadians was Arthur Miller.
Scoring for the U16 team were - Brayden Pachel, Jake Hobson, Erik Gardiner and Tyson Manz.
Curtis Meger and Matt Lenz shared the goaltending duties for the Regina Pat Canadians stopping 36 or 40 shots.
On Sunday the Regina Pat Canadians travelled to Yorkton and came away with a 6-4 victory.
Scoring for Regina were Arthur Miller and Tyran Brown with two each, singles were scored by Riley Woods and Tylor Ludwar. Riley Woods chipped in with 3 assists and Arthur Miller and Mark Edmands had two assists apiece.
Scoring for Yorkton were Koal Roberts, Logan Casavant, Derrick Budz and Adam Neibrandt. Cole Keenley side chipped in with a couple of assists.
The next home game for the Regina Pat Canadians is Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm versus the Yorkton Maulers. This game will be played at the White City Communiskate Arena in White City.
(Courtesy John Smith)
Sunday, September 14, 2014
The Toronto Argonauts seemed poised to pick up their fourth victory of the season, until the second half started. The Calgary Stampeders came back from a 19-point half-time deficit to rock the Argos 40-33. Canadian running back Jon Cornish ran in one touchdown and caught another while combining for 209 total yards.
The Toronto Blue Jays received an offensive outburst right when they needed it. Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie and lead the Blue Jays to a 6-3 toppling of the Tampa Bay Rays. R-A Dickey took the win for the 13th time this season, holding the Rays to three runs on four hits.
Canada had a chance to sweep Colombia at the Davis Cup but couldn't get the job done when it came to doubles action. Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil fell in straight sets to the Colombian duo in Halifax. Canada can win the best-of-five tie and advance to the elite World Group if Milos Raonic wins his singles match on Sunday.
Dwayne De Rosario scored in the 89th minute to salvage a point for Toronto FC, who drew even with Chicago 1-1. The goal was the 104th of De Rosario's career, and it helped Toronto avoid a third consecutive scoreless shutout. Elsewhere in MLS, New England beat Montreal 2-1 and FC Dallas edged Vancouver, also 2-1.
Floyd Mayweather Junior refused to allow Marcos Maidana to turn their rematch into a brawl, boxing masterfully to win a 12-round unanimous decision in their welterweight title fight. Mayweather remains unbeaten in 47 pro fights, drawing upon his 18 years of experience and frustrating Maidana the entire night.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
|9-year CFL veteran Luc Mullinder|
OPPORTUNITY: A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Synonyms include, but aren’t limited too: chance, time, occasion, moment, and opening.
There is no better word in the English language that describes the scenario currently playing out in the Saskatchewan Roughrider organization.
It’s been a hectic week for Ridernation. Many of you have your own words for the situation the defending Grey Cup Champions are in; and those words vary from person-to-person depending on how you view the makeup of this team, especially its franchise quarterback. But make no mistake about it folks …This game and all the other games that will be played after it are all about OPPORTUNITY.
Athletes relentlessly train for hours (and I’m not talking two, I’m talking four and up) every day during their offseason lifting, running, watching film, eating right, and doing anything else they believe will give them an edge during their upcoming season. Visions of championships and team success are always present during this grind … But there is another constant vision. And this vision is much more powerful. This vision literally forces one to get another sprint done before they leave the track. It questions one's work ethic, and never allows the athlete to cut corners during a training session.
For the determined mind, whether it’s a younger guy trying to crack a spot on a roster, or a vet who is trying to establish himself amongst their league's top tier…that vision is one of OPPORTUNITY.
Every scenario an athlete will run through in his mind during the offseason, in-season or during the playoffs, is based on the notion of an opportunity. Whether one sees themself making the goal line tackle on a 3rd and 1, or catching the game-winning touchdown, that mental scenario is based on a chance to be special. Some train and practise with the notion of taking a veteran's spot on the team and that one chance may only be available in a window of two or three plays during a specific drill. Again; we’re talking about opportunity.
For Tino Sunseri and the rest of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the tilt with the Hamilton Ti-Cats involves a ton of opportunities that have been played out mentally for some time now. Even if one did not approach the off-season with the aforementioned demeanour, the recent events of the past week have surely engaged the minds of everyone in the locker room.
Our primer for this week will discuss these chances. Hopefully those in Ridernation, whose adjectives regarding the current situation are negative in tone, will realize that they now have the opportunity to see what the 2014 Saskatchewan Roughriders are really about.
News of Durant's injury hit home for everyone. I personally took it rough because Doubles is one of the closest friends, on the football side of my life, that I’ll have. I’m not going to get into his journey, but some will never know of the borderline obsessive routine that he dedicated himself to, in order to be one of the greats. You’ll never know of the relationships that were sacrificed inside AND outside of the locker room.
His journey and drive to be great were probably no different than any other great QB, but it's different when you’re a witness to it. It upset me because one of the “opportunities” that Doubles envisioned, has been postponed temporarily … that was the chance to be legendary. Thankfully, there’s still PLENTY of time for that. I can’t imagine the emotions that hit him when he was told that this season is most likely done. You NEVER envision the worst case scenario when you’re training.
One thing I will say is that he knows that there is still work to be done, and he won’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. Many of you only know the on-field persona of Darian Durant, but believe this -- there are many other qualities that he has called on in order to become the leader of this team.
The Green and White didn’t just lose their starting QB for the remainder of the season; they lost the on-field production and the face of the franchise. Every part of the process, starting from Day 1 of the practise week, all the way up to the last whistle of the season, has now entered unchartered territory.
Ridernation, you are about to see bits and pieces of what everyone in Riders locker room already knows … One day, when Darian Durant chooses to hang up his cleats, he is going to be a great coach. There is nobody better (other than Ricky Ray) to have in your corner if you are a quarterback that has been asked to shoulder the load of a talented squad, for the rest of the year.
Tino can pick the brain of a championship QB not only when it comes to the on-field aspects and crucial situations of a game, but he also has a tremendous role model at his disposal who will help him deal with the constant scrutiny and attention that come with Tino's new found “opportunity”.
Doubles will also be a welcome asset between Coach Cortez and the guys in the huddle. I’m not saying he’ll be calling plays, but what I am saying is that he’ll be crucial for gathering information or assessments from the receivers etc. and letting the Saskatchewan Offensive Coordinator know where certain spots in certain calls may be vulnerable for an opposing defence.
Nobody sees the field better or shares the communication lines more openly an actual teammate, let alone the team's unheralded star. Doubles has never been a selfish player. It’s never been solely about him. That may be the saving grace here. Whether it’s during the practise week, or game day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders haven’t lost their Franchise Player altogether.
The definition of leadership is not only defined by what one does on the field. The meaning of leadership branches into every aspect of what it takes for a team to be successful. #4 may not be throwing the passes or breaking the huddle, but you can bet your bottom dollar that his voice and influence will be stamped on every part of the process leading up too it.
If you think for one second that this kid isn’t up to the task at hand, you better check his resume AND the stock that he is from. Sunseri is a gamer, and not only that, he’s got the arm and the football IQ to match. If you analyze the film on him, you will see a very polished QB that’s going to have the benefit of an O-line that will give him some time to go through his progressions.
Young QB’s in this league, that know they have the ability to utilize their legs to get positive yards, too often resort to scrambling if protection does break down a little bit. Sunseri is more than capable of running the ball; however he’s never in a rush to do so. Instead, Tino has shown the spatial awareness, and internal clock, to take a couple of shuffle steps into an open spot that will still allow him to make a throw.
The greatest quarterbacks, whether it’s the NFL or CFL, are all pocket passers. Some have outstanding speed and athletic skill, but they’ve utilized those attributes primarily to complete passes. If the Riders do choose to use his running ability as a weapon, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they rolled Sunseri out on a couple bootlegs (faking the hand off and rolling away from the action) with Getty or Dressler coming over the top. Sunseri could have really burned Winnipeg and BC a couple of times during his short playing stints this year.
Tino is literally walking into the best-case scenario for any back-up QB in this league. He will work behind one of the league's nastiest and most efficient O-lines. He has access to speedy receivers like Smith and Dressler and crafty and smooth vets in Bagger and Getzlaf. Sunseri also has a crew of running backs that share reps at tailback and run like they’re never going to get the rock again during the game.
All this makes for a great “opportunity” to cement his mark on the 2014 season. Tino will probably be the first too admit that this is Durant’s team until Father Time says otherwise; however there are a few CFL teams that would love to get their QB position improved in the 2015 season. Again, that word, OPPORTUNITY.
I mentioned the family stock in which Tino comes from. His father is a successful coach, his brothers have, and are, enjoying success in the same game. This bodes well for Tino when we speak of his need to lead the offence. He will definitely have the blueprint for how he needs to play. The only thing we haven’t gotten a chance to see out of the new Rider QB is how he responds to adversity during the game where momentum and necessity clash.
*Gee…If only there was someone…Oh wait...#DoublesHasThatCovered
All Tino Sunseri has to do now is play within his abilities, and within the parameters of what the Riders need him to do. He doesn’t need to be Joe Namath, but he also shouldn’t aim at being Trent Dilfer either. I think you guys will be pleasantly surprised with the former Pittsburgh Panther.
Rally The Troops
The final opportunity that we’ll get into here Ridernation, is the chance that the entire Saskatchewan Roughriders organization has now that #4 won’t take the field. A lot of the guys in that locker room today are the same guys that were in that locker room last year, when the team dipped into a 4-game losing streak and the pressure seemed like it was beginning to break down the walls.
Back then, that team “circled the wagons” and came together highlighted by a couple of season altering team discussions. It seemed to work, because we all know the historical implications that followed.
This edition of the Green and White needs to pull from that same experience and rally around Durant, Sunseri, and especially those who will now be called on to “do more.”
Those guys won’t be hard to find either, because it’s all of them. Everybody! The practice roster, the 46-man roster, and the guys on the injured list; everyone needs to increase their workload. The focus needs to be even more intense than it already has been. Vets need to bring the newer guys along faster than the new guy may have thought. Coaches need to find ways to extract every ounce of talent out of the guys they are including in the game plan.
Yes; losing Doubles’ presence between the white lines on game day and during the practice week was a huge blow. But it’s also a chance to really underline what this production based business is about…
One can only focus on the variables that they can control. There isn’t a team in the country that feels sorry for the Riders right now; they too see opportunity in the team’s misfortune. Opponents will be watching with eagle eyes for any sign of weakness, and will move quickly to pounce on it and expose it.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have arguably the best defence in the country and they have proven they can score and create turnovers. The special teams units have also proven they can score, however they have been inconsistent in coverage. The offence is a built like a black rhino and used to violently to maintain control over an opponent. Every ingredient that made this team a potential threat for a championship is still here. It’s up to the coaching staff and the will of the players to figure out the right balance, now that one of the key ingredients will not be able utilized too its full potential.
Sometimes, all someone needs is one opportunity; that one opening that propels an individual to heights that he has only experienced in his mind's eye. For the entire organization, the first opportunity will present itself on Sunday in front of a great crowd and against a Ti-Cat team desperately hoping for their chance to get rolling.
From that point on, it will be a battle to see who’ll be the first to capitalize on those opportunities. Here’s to hoping that under the watchful eyes of our Franchise QB and the passionate fans that exist in Ridernation, this opportunity is not squandered.
I, for one, can’t wait to see the boys compete…
Cups up to the fellas, as they look too go 1-0 this week.
|Ticats QB Zach Collaros|
11 am Sask time Sunday, Tim Hortons Field
TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network, ESPN3
RIDERS: Road 4-1, Versus East 4-1
TICATS: Home 2-2, Versus West 0-6
RIDER OFFENSE: RUSH 1ST, PASS 9TH, OVERALL 6TH
Tino Sunseri makes his first pro start at QB (52%, 152 yds, 1 TD) ... RB Anthony Allen is 3rd in CFL rushing (477 yds, 4 TDs) ... WR Rob Bagg is 7th in CFL receiving (472 yds, 1 TD) ... Riders are 4th in points scored and 2nd in sacks allowed
TICAT OFFENSE: RUSH 6TH, PASS 2ND, OVERALL 4TH
Zach Collaros starts at QB (66%, 867 yds, 4 TDs, 3 INTs) ... RB Mossis Madu is their top active rusher (148 yds, 0 TDs) ... WR Luke Tasker leads the club in receiving (355 yds, 1 TD) ... Ticats are #7 in points scored and #8 in sacks allowed
RIDER DEFENSE: RUSH 3RD, PASS 6TH, OVERALL 4TH
DE John Chick leads the CFL in sacks (13) ... DB Mark Legree leads in INTs (4) but is inactive ... S Tyron Brackenridge and LB Brian Peters lead in tackles (38) ... Riders are #3 in points allowed and #1 in sacks
TICAT DEFENSE: RUSH 2ND, PASS 7TH, OVERALL 6TH
LB Taylor Reed leads in sacks (4) ... DB Rico Murray leads in INTs (3) ... LB Simoni Lawrence leads in tackles (43) ... Ticats are #5 in points allowed and #9 in sacks
RIDER SPEC TEAMS: K/P Chris Milo is 22/30 on FGs (73%) and had a 46.5-yard punting average in Week 11 at Winnipeg ... Tristan Jackson leads in PR and KR yards ... LB Brian Peters leads in ST tackles (13)
TICAT SPEC TEAMS: K/P Justin Medlock is 20/23 on FGs (82%) and has a 42.5-yard punting average ... Brandon Banks leads in KR and PR yards but is inactive ... LB Eric Harris leads in ST tackles (13)
INTANGIBLES: Saskatchewan is a CFL-best +15 in turnover ratio while Hamilton is 5th (-5) ... Saskatchewan beat Hamilton 31-10 in Week 10 and 45-23 in the 2013 Grey Cup ... Saskatchewan is the 2nd-least penalized team in the CFL while Hamilton is the most-penalized ... Hamilton coach Kent Austin's first pro start at QB was Sunday, Oct 11, 1987 as he led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 23-20 win at Hamilton ... Hamilton is favoured by 1-point in Sunday's game ... The forecast calls for a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 16 degrees Celsius.
EDMONTON (CP) - It took until the fourth quarter for the Edmonton Eskimos to wake up, but when they did, the Montreal Alouettes had no answer.
Mike Reilly scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in his return as quarterback to help the Eskimos to a 33-16 victory over Montreal on Friday, ending Edmonton's two-game skid.
Reilly said the team was not happy with the first half of the game, which was tied 6-6 at halftime.
"We were trying to kind of build the intensity the whole game, we came in and we had a big talk at halftime just amongst us as players and I was pretty fired up,'' said Reilly, who completed 22 of 32 passing attempts for 271 yards. "I just felt like we were capable of doing that the entire game and we were just killing ourselves with mental lapses.
"And you don't want to let a team like Montreal hang around. You want to put points on the board and not make it tough on your defence. When they scored to go ahead, the urgency switch got flipped.''
The Eskimos improved to 8-3 and moved into a tie for second place in the CFL's West Division with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All three of Edmonton's losses this season have come against Calgary.
Eskimos head coach Chris Jones said he has come to expect that kind of drive from his starting QB.
"He's a competitor and we expect Mike to do the things he did tonight, extend drives with his legs and make the throws necessary,'' he said. "We had a few drops here and there or his night would have been even better.''
Montreal had a two-game winning streak snapped to fall to 3-8, however the Alouettes still have a share of the lead in the struggling CFL East, tied for first with Toronto.
"It was a game where we just couldn't get the offence that we would have liked to have had, but that's what happens when you play against a pretty good defence,'' said Montreal head coach Tom Higgins. "We hung in there defensively, and all of a sudden it started to break and it opened up out there. Edmonton ends up winning and we have to re-evaluate. We faded a bit in the fourth quarter and couldn't finish.''
Jonathan Crompton made his third consecutive start, but admitted he had trouble getting going in the early running on Friday.
"It was a hard-fought game. It was two hard-nosed teams coming out there and battling,'' he said. "Obviously we would have like to have made a couple of more plays than we did. I have to take ownership and make sure we execute better early in the game. That's on me. If I had made a couple of more plays early and we move the ball early, things would probably be different.''
Montreal has failed to capture a road win this season in five attempts.
"Wins are getting tough to come by, and winning against the West is tough to come by,'' Higgins said. "All of our wins are at home and thank goodness we will be playing at home again real soon.''
Notes: Reilly returned to the lineup after being replaced by Matt Nichols for his team's back-to-back losses to Calgary after suffering a thumb injury early in the Eskimos victory over Toronto on Aug. 23 ... With Edmonton kicker Grant Shaw lost for the season with an upper body injury, Hugh O'Neill took his place for the second straight game. Veteran kicker Luca Congi was signed earlier in the week by the Eskimos, but did not suit up against Montreal ... Alouettes quarterback Jonathan Crompton started the season with the Eskimos, but found himself as the fourth-stringer and was released on July 9. Crompton earned wins in his first two starts with Montreal, helping his team defeat Ottawa and Hamilton before returning to face his former club on Friday ... The Alouettes are still in search of their first road win, the deepest they have gone into a season without getting one since 1983. No Montreal team has had fewer than three road wins in a season since the franchise rejoined the league in 1996.
The Riders will face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday without veteran Darian Durant under centre. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury in last weekend's 30-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, meaning backup Tino Sunseri will start at Tim Hortons Field (11 am, TSN, 620 CKRM).
The loss of a starting quarterback can be catastrophic to an offence but Saskatchewan boasts the CFL's top rushing attack (150.6 yards per game). And that's exactly what Steinauer, Hamilton's defensive co-ordinator, is preparing his unit to face.
"They're going to be who they are,'' he said. "They're going to come out and establish the run.
"They're going to take their shots to the end zone. They're not a conservative passing-game team. They're going to attack us and they're going to do what they do. What they have going for them is they're (the defending Grey Cup) champions, right? They have enough people in that locker room that have won where I'm sure they're just looking at this as a small obstacle.''
Sunseri has seen limited action this year, completing 13-of-25 passes for 152 yards and a TD. Durant led the Riders to their season-opening 31-10 win over Hamilton in a rematch of the 2013 Grey Cup game, which saw the Riders beat the Ticats 45-23 at Mosaic Stadium on Nov. 24.
But Hamilton has more to worry about than the absence of Durant. Ticats starter Zach Collaros was sacked 10 times in the season opener while Saskatchewan running back Anthony Allen ran for 158 yards and scored two TDs (one rush, one catch) in that game.
"We made a lot of changes up front (offensively) and we're playing pretty well up front,'' Hamilton head coach Kent Austin said when asked about the season opener. "I think for the most part we've shored that situation up.''
Collaros suffered a concussion in Hamilton's second game of the season, a 28-24 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos on July 4 that forced him to miss five contests. But Collaros feels he's come a long way since the first meeting with Saskatchewan.
"I think overall I've got a better understanding (of the offence) and I know for myself I feel more comfortable,'' said Collaros, who will play just his third game since his return. "I'm able to react a little more because I'm not thinking as much ... I think we've gotten better as a unit.''
Saskatchewan (8-2) has won seven straight to stand second in the West Division behind the Calgary Stampeders (9-1). Hamilton (2-7) is third in the East Division, just two points behind the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes.
A second-place finish is imperative in the East as it's very likely the fourth-place finisher in the West will cross over and secure the third and final Eastern playoff spot. Hamilton surrendered 31 second-half points last weekend en route to a 38-31 road loss in Montreal.
Austin said time of possession will be key against the Roughriders.
"They're going to try to control the line of scrimmage,'' said Austin. "Get our offence off the field and then try to wear you down with their offence ... It's not just their offence running the football effectively (that wears down a team).
"It's their defence getting offences off the field so there's fewer possessions. What happens is your defence gets worn out over the course of the game and it starts to show up later in the game. So we've got to do a good job offensively of staying on the football field.''
With Durant injured the Riders signed Keith Price, a former University of Washington star who was released by the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
The football community in Hamilton is mourning the loss of Paul Weiler, who served as Pigskin Pete from 1976 to 2006. He died Wednesday at the age of 80. Weiler never got to see the Ticats play at their new stadium but missed only one game during his tenure leading the Ticats faithful into their traditional "Oskee-Wee-Wee'' chant.