CFL Preview - Montreal (3-3) at Edmonton (4-2)|
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, August 17, 9:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With a pair of running backs who both have at least 400 yards to
their credit after six games this season, the Edmonton Eskimos now set their
sights on taking down the Montreal Alouettes when the teams collide on Friday
night at Commonwealth Stadium.
With Hugh Charles having already proven himself this year as a viable offensive
option with his 400 yards and two touchdowns on 84 rushing attempts, the
Eskimos have one of the top running backs in the league. Late last week the
team added to its stable of backs by signing Cory Boyd after he was released by
the Toronto Argonauts. Over the course of 36 games with the Argos, Boyd had
amassed more than 3,000 yards in rushing and receiving and scored 18
A product of the University of South Carolina, Boyd has already rushed for a
league-high 447 yards and is averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Prior to this
move, Edmonton was tied for the fewest rushing TDs in the CFL with just three
and was second-to-last in total rushing yards with 524.
Edmonton, which is tied with British Columbia for first place in the West
Division with a record of 4-2, has won three of its last four outings, thanks
to a 28-20 victory over Saskatchewan last Friday. Against the Roughriders,
Edmonton ran for just 84 yards and only Charles (67 yards) was able to gain
more than 15 in the matchup.
Quarterback Steven Jyles hit on 18-of-23 passing for 282 yards and a score as
well for Edmonton. The team also picked up a defensive touchdown by Joe Burnett
who returned a fumble 44 yards for a score late in the third frame. Burnett
also leads the league in interceptions with three, one of which he returned 108
yards for a touchdown earlier in the campaign.
As for the Alouettes, they've been itching to get back onto the field since
defeating Winnipeg on the road August 3 by a final of 36-26. Snapping a two-
game slide, Montreal scored in every quarter of the meeting thanks in large
part to Sean Whyte, who knocked through all four of his field goal tries and
finished with 15 points overall, earning CFL Special Teams Player of the Week
Helping to put Whyte in scoring position was Anthony Calvillo, who converted
17-of-29 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns. While the aging signal-caller
was sacked three times, he didn't throw an interception. On the other end of
six of those completions was Brandon Whitaker, who turned them into 64 yards,
giving him a total of 179 yards from scrimmage after gaining 115 yards on 18
rushing attempts. Even though Calvillo had yet another strong effort and
receiver Jamel Richardson caught four balls for 91 yards and two majors, it was
Whitaker who was named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week.
Whitaker has now carried the ball 71 times for 366 yards, seventh-most in the
CFL, but he hasn't broken any runs of major significance as of yet.
While Whitaker has proven that he can help shoulder some of the load coming out
of the backfield for the Als, the leader on the field in every way imaginable
remains Calvillo. The first quarterback in the league to eclipse the 2,000
yards plateau in passing yards, Calvillo hasn't been quite as sharp with his
throws, yet he is still second in passing scores (13) and efficiency rating
Calvillo has managed to keep plenty of his receivers happy, spreading the
wealth to as many as six players who have double-digit receptions to this point
in the season. S.J. Green leads the team in receiving yards with 433, Whitaker
has the most receptions with 31 and is tied with Patrick Lavoie (11 catches,
134 yards) in receiving scores with three apiece.
Mixed in on that list of outlets for Calvillo is Richardson who is working
towards his fifth straight 1,000 yards season, showing 25 grabs for 386 yards
and two TDs thus far.
Last season Montreal won both meetings against the Esks, first taking a 27-4
final at home in August and then posting a 34-21 victory on the road six weeks
later. Overall the Als have won four in a row and five of the last six versus
Edmonton and yet it is the Eskimos who maintain a 37-25-2 advantage in the all-
time, regular-season series dating back to 1949.
The teams are set to play each other once more during the regular season,
meeting up in Montreal on October 28.
Even though Jyles doesn't make many mistakes throwing the football, he doesn't
exactly instill confidence in the offense either. Still in the testing phase,
Jyles needs a signature game to hang his hat on and this could be that one
shining moment for the quarterback if he can get his team into the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Edmonton 31, Montreal 23
08/15 11:08:15 ET