Quarterback Trevor Harris to face Redblacks for first time since departure

For the first time since leaving Ottawa, Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris will face his old team this week.

The 33-year-old spent three seasons with the Redblacks, winning a Grey Cup in 2016 and appearing in last year’s title game before heading to Edmonton as a free agent. On Friday, the Eskimos (4-3) will host the Redblacks (3-4).

Greg Ellingson — a four-time 1,000-yard receiver — SirVincent Rogers, the CFL’s top offensive lineman in 2015, and defensive lineman Andrew Marshall are also former Redblacks who went to Edmonton in free agency. But Ellingson missed last week’s 24-18 loss to Calgary due to injury while Rogers and Marshall are both on the six-game injured list.

Harris hasn’t missed a beat with Edmonton. After throwing for a career-best 5,116 yards last season, the eight-year veteran leads the CFL in completions (199), attempts (280) and yards (2,304) and sports an impressive 71.1 per-cent completion percentage with 10 TDs and just two interceptions.

Edmonton also leads the CFL in net offence (421.7 yards per game), passing yards (329.1) and fewest sacks allowed (two). The Eskimos defence has a league-best 26 sacks while allowing a league-low 18 points per game.

Harris was 29-of-42 passing for 373 yards and two TDs last week in a loss against Calgary. The Stampeders were anchored by Terry Williams’ 103-yard kickoff return touchdown, a CFL-record eighth this season.

Special teams figured prominently in Ottawa’s 30-27 overtime win over Montreal last week, which halted the Redblacks’ four-game losing streak. Rookie DeVonte Dedmon had kickoff and punt-return TDs, amassing a club-record 382 combined return yards.

That’s the second-highest total in CFL history behind Calgary’s Larry Taylor, who had 428 return yards versus Toronto in 2012.

Sophomore kicker Lewis Ward made all three field goals he tried, including the eventual winner in overtime from 14 yards out. With that, Ward extended his pro football-record streak of consecutive field goals made to 67.

Ottawa needed the special-teams excellence and solid defence to defeat Montreal with the offence accumulating just 244 yards. Quarterback Dominique Davis was 20-of-34 passing for 164 yards with a TD strike against two interceptions in his return from injury.

Defensive lineman Michael Wakefield also had a key interception that Ottawa was able to convert into a Brad Sinopoli touchdown catch for a third-quarter 21-17 lead.

Pick: Edmonton.

Calgary Stampeders versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday night)

At Winnipeg, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has resumed practising with Calgary (5-2), but won’t play against the Bombers. He hasn’t played since suffering a pectoral muscle injury in June. The Stamps have won three straight and are 4-1 with Nick Arbuckle at the helm. The Bombers (5-2) have suffered two consecutive losses but would regain sole possession of first in the West Division with a victory. Winnipeg’s Andrew Harris has moved atop the league’s rushing race with 646 yards.

Pick: Winnipeg.

Saskatchewan Roughriders versus Montreal Alouettes (Friday night)

At Montreal, Antonio Pipkin is expected to start for Montreal (3-3) with Vernon Adams Jr. (concussion) out. Running back William Stanback (lower body), the CFL’s second-leading rusher, could suit up for the Als. Saskatchewan (4-3) has reeled off three straight wins, including last week’s 24-19 victory over Hamilton as Cody Fajardo ran in for the winning touchdown for the Riders.

Pick: Saskatchewan.

B.C. Lions versus Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday night)

At Hamilton, Dane Evans makes a second straight start for the Tiger-Cats (5-2) after passing for 196 yards with a TD and interception in last week’s 24-19 loss in Regina. Receiver Brandon Banks, offensive lineman Darius Ciraco and defensive lineman Adrian Tracy were all on the one-game injured list but could return. Linebacker Simoni Lawrence is back after his two-game suspension. B.C. (1-6) comes off the bye after a 45-18 loss to Saskatchewan.

Pick: Hamilton.

Last week: 1-3.

Overall: 19-12.

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