Quarterback Mike Reilly and receiver Chris Getzlaf showed why the Edmonton Eskimos are the only undefeated team in the CFL this season with a pair of plays in the fourth quarter.
Reilly found Getzlaf in the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass and then ran in the two-point conversion himself for the final score in a 27-20 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday. Ottawa was never able to regain decent field position after that as Edmonton improved to 7-0.
“You’ve got to make the plays at the end when you need to make them and we did that,” said Reilly. “Getzlaf came up with a huge play with a touchdown in the end zone. That was the biggest play of the game for us was Getzlaf running a great run and coming down with that ball.”
Reilly was 27-for-38 passing for 384 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as Edmonton expanded its lead in the CFL West. It now leads the Calgary Stampeders, who are idle this week, by three points in the division.
“It’s something special and I know it,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. “I just love it because they’re a great, hard working group and they do it the right way on a week-to-week basis and I’m so happy we’re able to continue the streak.”
Ottawa is headed in the other direction.
‘We’re just not good enough right now’
Dejected, frustrated, and disappointed are just a few ways to describe the Redblacks (1-6-1), who haven’t won since July 19 against Montreal.
“We’re just not good enough right now,” said QB Trevor Harris. “We’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and say we’re not good enough right know. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better, including myself. I’ve got to be better. We’ve all got to step our game up and find ways to win.”
When asked if it’s time to start a rebuild Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell defended his team.
“It’s way easier to tear something down than to build something,” said Campbell. “I still think there’s a lot of correct pieces here and players that are the right guys, but for whatever reason we’re not getting it done.”
Despite the accumulating losses players vow to stick together and turn things around.
“We’ve got to get over the hump,” said offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers. “I don’t know what it’s going to take to do that, but we’re going to keep working. I’m very frustrated, but we’re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep moving along trying to get wins.”
An illegal block by Ottawa’s Andrew Marshall negated a 92-yard TD punt return by Quincy McDuffie. Ottawa settled for a 33-yard field goal on the ensuing possession to make it 13-10.
“That’s a game-changing play,” said Campbell.
Country superstar will be in spotlight
Country music superstar Shania Twain is coming back to the Grey Cup.
The five-time Grammy Award winner from Timmins, Ont., was announced on Thursday as the halftime performer at this year’s championship in Ottawa on Nov. 26. Twain also performed at the 2002 final in Edmonton.
“It’s an absolute honour to return to the Grey Cup stage in the nation’s capital during Canada’s 150th birthday,” Twain said. “I’m thrilled to be coming home and being a part of the country’s biggest annual party.”
Twain has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide with U.S. sales topping $34.5 million, making her the top-selling female country artist of all time. This year’s Grey Cup performance will follow the release of her fifth full-length studio album “Now,” out Sept. 29. Solely written and co-produced by Twain, “Now” is her first album release since 2002’s “Up!”
“Shania is a massive Canadian icon and a global superstar, so we are so excited that she will help us cap off such a significant year for our country at the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “This promises to be a fantastic event and a special performance for our fans and viewers across Canada and all around the world. I can’t wait to get the party started at my first Grey Cup as commissioner.”