Edmonton 20 Saskatchewan 20
EDMONTON — Joe Burnett returned a fumble 44 yards for a third-quarter touchdown Friday as the Edmonton Eskimos returned from a bye week with a 28-20 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Eskimos improve to 4-2 with the win and move into a first-place tie with the B.C. Lions in the CFL’s West Division.
Edmonton also knotted the season series with the Riders, getting some revenge for a 17-1 loss in Regina in July.
The Roughriders lost their third straight game to drop to 3-3 and a share of third in the West with Calgary.
There was a long delay early in the third quarter after a collision between Edmonton defensive back Ronnie Prude and Saskatchewan receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris. Prude was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering what appeared to be a neck injury on the play.
When the game resumed, the Roughriders took a 17-10 lead after quarterback Darian Durant went up the middle on a quarterback, running 27 yards into the endzone.
Edmonton responded with a field goal on the heels of a 41-yard pass to Matt Carter to make it 17-13.
Two plays later the Eskimos were back in front as Chris Thompson plowed into Dressler and forced a fumble. Joe Burnett picked up the ball and blazed 44 yards for the touchdown and a 20-17 Edmonton advantage heading into the final frame.
The Eskimos started the fourth with a punt single and then increased their lead to 28-17 as a 32-yard pass to Fred Stamps set up a six-yard TD run by Calvin McCarty.
Saskatchewan wasn’t done yet, however, as Kory Sheets took a short screen pass and blazed 76 yards to the Edmonton five. Unfortunately all they would get out of it was a field goal.
Durant was picked off by J.C. Sherritt at the Saskatchewan 38 with under two minutes to play but Edmonton didn’t get any points out of it.
The Riders marched back and tried a late Hail Mary into the endzone but Thompson picked off the final pass to end the game.
In the first quarter, the Roughriders had a strong opening drive, but stalled out in the red zone and had to accept a 25-yard field goal from newly-signed veteran kicker Sandro DeAngelis.
Edmonton was also able to move well down the field to start, but also came up short for a 23-yard field goal from Grant Shaw.
Edmonton took a 10-3 lead early in the second after a couple of long passing plays. QB Steven Jyles was able to find Nate Coehoorn for a 49-yard gain, setting up a 30-yard TD pass on a nice sideline catch by Cary Koch.
Saskatchewan tied the game just before the half after a bizarre highlight reel play. Durant passed to Weston Dressler who was leveled by Weldon Brown. However, the ball remained in the air and bounced off Brown and another Eskimo and into the arms of Taj Smith who took of for a 57-yard gain during the confusion. Riders backup QB Drew Willy came in for a one-yard plunge with 16 seconds left in the opening half.
The Eskimos remain at home to face the Montreal Alouettes next Friday. The Riders next travel to Vancouver to face the B.C. Lions next Sunday.
Notes: The Eskimos are the only team in the CFL to remain perfect on their home field this season. Edmonton has now won five games in a row at home against the Riders and 15 of its last 17 over Saskatchewan at Commonwealth Stadium. …The Eskimos are a badly banged-up team with 17 players officially listed as injured and several others also on the limp… The Riders added DeAngelis to their lineup for the game to share kicking duties with Chris Milo. …The Eskimos also had a new face in the lineup as they signed former Toronto Argonaut defensive tackle Claude Wroten earlier in the week in time to play in Friday’s game. …The Eskimos reached 11 million fans who have attended a game at Commonwealth Stadium for the match.