EDMONTON — John White scored both of the game’s touchdowns as the Edmonton Eskimos moved into second place in the CFL’s West Division with a rare 24-0 shutout victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.
White had been out of Edmonton’s lineup for six weeks with a hand injury. It was just the second win in the last five outings for the Eskimos (9-4), who moved into a tie for second with the Riders, both teams two points back of the first-place Calgary Stampeders.
Saskatchewan has won eight of its last 10 games and dropped to 9-4 with the loss.
The Roughriders have not been shutout since July 5, 1986, a 56-0 loss to Winnipeg.
Edmonton took an early lead four minutes into the game after a third down gamble by Saskatchewan misfired with backup quarterback Seth Doege getting stuffed on a big tackle by Eskimos linebacker Dexter McCoil at the Riders’ 36-yard-line. On the next play, White made a couple of nice moves as he blazed his way into the end zone to make it 7-0.
The Eskimos marched the ball down the field on their next possession, but had to settle for a 27-yard Hugh O’Neill field goal.
Saskatchewan had no first downs and just 11 total yards of offence in the first quarter.
The Roughriders conceded a safety early in the second quarter and the Esks added a single on a missed field goal soon afterwards to put Edmonton ahead 13-0.
Saskatchewan finally got its initial first down of the game five minutes into the second quarter, but them promptly lost the ball as quarterback Tino Sunseri, still subbing in for the injured Darian Durant, was intercepted by Ryan Hinds.
Edmonton gained another point on a punt single with three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Eskimos made it 17-0 with a 45-yard O’Neill field goal five minutes into the third frame, a score that held up into the fourth as the game hit a major lull.
Saskatchewan was finally in a scoring position after a 25-yard passing play to Weston Dressler took them to the Edmonton 35. However, on the next play Doege was picked off at the five by Eskimos defensive back Aaron Grymes.
A 31-yard passing play to Fred Stamps led to a 10-yard pass from Mike Reilly to White for the Edmonton running back’s second touchdown of the game.
Over the final three weeks of this regular season the teams will meet twice, with both games taking place in Saskatchewan.
The Riders return home to face the Calgary Stampeders next Friday, while the Eskimos hit the road for a game in Toronto next Saturday.