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(Saturday, August 28th)
Final Score: Edmonton 17, Saskatchewan 14
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Noel Prefontaine's 37-yard field goal in the final minute of play proved to be the difference, as the Edmonton Eskimos stunned the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 17-14, at Commonwealth Stadium.
Prefontaine was responsible for all of the points scored in the second half and a total of 11 overall as the Eskimos (2-6) snapped a two-game slide by posting 17 unanswered points to capture the victory.
"It wasn't a pretty game by any means," Prefontaine admitted after the comeback win. "We took advantage of some opportunities we got late...we've still got a lot of work cut out for us, hopefully this kind of catapults us (in the right direction)."
Edmonton starting quarterback Ricky Ray was pulled early in the game, but came back to move the ball down the field late and finished the outing 6-of-11 passing for 63 yards. Backup Jared Zabransky tossed one touchdown to Arkee Whitlock, but was also picked off twice as he converted 8-of-17 for 109 yards in the victory.
The Roughriders (5-3), now just 1-3 on the road in 2010, were led by Darian Durant, who converted 19-of-39 for 211 yards, but he was also picked off three times in the setback. Running back Wes Cates scored his league-leading 10th major of the campaign, while James Patrick logged three interceptions and now leads the CFL with a total of six through nine games.
The first points of the outing came courtesy of the Saskatchewan defense, as Patrick picked off a Ray pass six minutes into the opening frame and returned it 35 yards for the major.
Wes Cates, one of the leading rushers in the league thus far, registered his eighth rushing touchdown of the campaign later in the period when he hit the end zone from 10 yards out to raise the advantage to 14-0 for the Roughriders.
Early in the second quarter, Zabransky stepped in at quarterback for the Esks and immediately made an impact. He completed an inside shovel pass to Arkee Whitlock, who took the ball eight yards for the score to cut the deficit to 14-7.
Zabransky had Edmonton on the move again later in the period, running the ball himself on a number of plays, but down deep in Saskatchewan territory he floated a pass into the end zone and it was picked off by Patrick.
"I wanted to come in and provide a spark," Zabransky said of his appearance in the contest. "I felt like I did an okay job, I really just wanted to ignite our guys."
The Roughriders took control and started to move in the other direction, but under heavy pressure Durant was taken down in the backfield and lost control of the ball, with Edmonton's Dario Romero recovering and returning it to the six-yard line. Whitlock, though, was kept out of the end zone on his two runs, and on third down Zabransky threw incomplete, returning possession to the Roughriders. Saskatchewan allowed the game clock for the first half to expire during its possession, leaving the visitors with a seven-point lead at the break.
The only scoring in the third quarter took place in the final minute of the period when Prefontaine knocked through a 14-yard field goal for the Eskimos, cutting the deficit to just four points at 14-10 entering the fourth frame.
Prefontaine drew the Eskimos closer in the opening moments of the fourth when he added a single on a 64-yard punt into the end zone.
With 4:24 remaining in the fourth, Durant was picked off by T.J. Hill, and the change of possession brought Ray back in for the Eskimos. The starting signal- caller could not move the ball, putting the pressure on Prefontaine yet again to tie the game at 14-14 with a successful 52-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in regulation.
With 37 seconds to play, it was again Prefontaine who was called upon to make the big play, converting a 37-yard field goal to give Edmonton a 17-14 edge.
The Roughriders had one more chance to regain the lead, but Durant failed to convert, and the visitors turned the ball over on downs.
Patrick had three interceptions on the season entering the contest and seven for his career...Mark Nelson, brought in to handle the Edmonton linebackers, and Tim Prinsen, now in charge of the offensive line for the Eskimos, were making their debuts for the home team today...Saskatchewan, which was held to a season low in points, won the first meeting of the season between the clubs by a score of 24-20 back on July 17...Edmonton now has a record of 35-9-0 against the Roughriders at Commonwealth Stadium during the regular season...The Eskimos are now 11-2 in their last 13 regular season games at home versus Saskatchewan.
08/29 00:16:55 ET
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