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Saturday, August 20, 2016

ESKIMOS 46 ARGONAUTS 23

TORONTO - Mike Reilly threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the Edmonton Eskimos past the Toronto Argonauts 46-23 on a hot, muggy Saturday afternoon.

Reilly improved to 28-22 in his 50th regular-season start for Edmonton (4-4), which moved into a third-place tie with idle Winnipeg in the West Division standings. But the CFL passing leader and MVP of last year's Grey Cup game earned just his second career win over Toronto (4-4) in six starts.

Reilly finished 26-of-31 passing for 362 yards despite surrendering a pick-six on Edmonton's first offensive play. It was one of the few developments the generously announced BMO Field gathering of 15,157 had to celebrate on the opening weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition.

Toronto starter Logan Kilgore struggled again, completing 7-of-14 passes for 41 yards and two interceptions before being replaced by rookie Cody Fajardo in the third. Kilgore threw five interceptions in last week's 34-17 home loss to Winnipeg as the Argos dropped to 1-4 at their new home.

Fajardo rounded out the scoring with an eight-yard TD run at 10:23 of the fourth.

Fortunately for Toronto, veteran Ricky Ray could be back soon. Ray (knee) didn't dress Saturday but was removed from the six-game injured list last week and might return Aug. 31 when the Argos host the B.C. Lions.

Edmonton cemented the win by outscoring Toronto 13-0 in the third, anchored by Reilly's one-yard TD run at 3:28. Eskimos coach Jason Maas won his first head-to-head matchup with Toronto's Scott Milanovich.

Maas spent three years on Milanovich's staff (2012-14) before becoming Ottawa's offensive co-ordinator. He was hired by Edmonton after the club's 2015 Grey Cup title win.

Calvin McCarty, Nate Coehoorn, Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker scored Edmonton's other touchdowns. Sean Whyte had four converts and four field goals.

Fajardo, with two, and Keon Raymond had Toronto's touchdowns. Lirim Hajrullahu booted a convert and single with the other points coming on a safety.

Reilly staked Edmonton to its 33-14 half-time lead completing 16-of-20 passes for 280 yards and three TD strikes. This after opening the game with an interception to Raymond, who returned it 39 yards for the touchdown to five Toronto an 8-0 lead just 28 seconds in.

Yet all Toronto could muster offensively was 79 total yards - Edmonton had 365 - as Kilgore was 7-of-13 passing for 41 yards and an interception.

Edmonton wasted no time erasing its early deficit. Reilly hit Coehoorn on a 30-yard TD strike at 7:49 before McCarty scored on a two-yard run at 11:17 for a 14-8 advantage.

McCarty's touchdown was set up by Pat Watkins' interception and return to the Toronto five-yard line.

Reilly made it 21-8 with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Bowman just 16 seconds into the second before Whyte connected from 27 yards out at 5:32. Fajardo's one-yard TD run on third down cut Toronto's deficit to 24-14 and capped a 75-yard, 13-play drive 12:09.

However, Reilly countered with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Walker at 13:36 before Whyte's 38-yard field goal at 14:59.

(Canadian Press)

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