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CFL Preview - Edmonton (1-2) at British Columbia (2-1)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, July 20, 10:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Edmonton Eskimos will get a second straight crack at British Columbia, although this time the Esks will be heading to BC Place to challenge the Lions on Saturday night.
During Week 3 action, these same two teams clashed at Commonwealth Stadium but only once showed much fight over the course of 60 minutes of action. The home team may have taken a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Grant Shaw and maintained an unusual 3-1 advantage at the break, but in the third frame BC finally woke up, scored a pair of TDs and headed off for the 17-3 victory.
Travis Lulay converted 12-of-18 passes for just 158 yards, but he did have scoring tosses of 12 and 16 yards to Emmanuel Arceneaux and Andrew Harris, respectively, to put the visitors in control in the second half. Harris, who tallied four grabs for 30 yards, also carried the ball 17 times for an additional 70 yards, second only to Lulay who generated a game-high 82 yards on nine rushing attempts.
Over on the other side, Edmonton could not get out of its own way. Quarterback Mike Reilly, who bided his time behind Lulay on the BC depth chart before jumping over to the Esks, completed a mere 13-of-23 passes for 97 yards, was picked off once and sacked three times. Reilly tried to make an impact as a runner with five totes for 37 yards, but it made little difference as the squad suffered its second loss in three tries.
Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed, who was recently rewarded with a contract extension, was quite emotional following the loss to BC, so much so that he had to bite his tongue a number of times and make it clear that changes were due.
One of the biggest issues for Reed and the Eskimos was the excessive number of penalties the squad was forced to endure, 11 in all for a loss of 103 yards. When you consider the offense generated just 178 yards on 66 snaps, it is easy to see how critical those miscues were in the disappointing performance.
After three games the Eskimos, who are all alone at the bottom of the West Division standings, have a staggering penalty total of 41, for a loss of 330 yards. Considering how inept the unit has been in the early going, it is somewhat surprising to see that the Eskimos are a respectable fifth in the league with a scoring average of 25.3 ppg.
In addition to having been plagued with enormous penalties, Edmonton hasn't done much positive in the way of turnovers either. Sure, the club has gained six takeaways, three of those coming on downs, but at the same time it has given the ball away eight times, which means the Esks are tied for second-to- last in the league in that department at minus-two.
British Columbia has broken even in the turnover department, gaining the ball twice in all three manners (interceptions, fumbles and downs), but at the same time giving up the ball two times each.
The Lions, tied with Calgary for second place in the division standings behind a perfect Saskatchewan group, have produced a pair of victories based on an aggressive defensive attack that leads the league in yards allowed (274.3 ypg), permitting a league-best 6.2 yards per pass, all of which has led to only 47 first downs for opponents.
Thanks to the win last week, BC has now taken three straight from the Esks and six of the last seven overall. Dating back to 1954 and taking into account only regular-season matchups, it is Edmonton which owns a decisive 103-74-4 advantage over the Lions.
After playing in back-to-back weeks, the teams will take a long break from each other, with their third and final meeting of the 2013 regular season coming in Week 18 right back here in British Columbia.
Coach Reed needs to get his squad turned around and headed in the right direction, but whether or not he can actually accomplish that remains to be seen. However, don't be surprised to see some major changes on both sides of the ball if players do not live up to expectations. Alterations to the depth chart might stir up some fight amongst the Esks, but probably not enough to get the team into the win column this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 30, Edmonton 20
07/17 10:33:33 ET