Esks slog out a winning effort

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:39 PM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos have answered their much-needed wake-up call.

After a humiliating loss in Winnipeg last weekend that punctuated a bad start to the regular season, the defending Grey Cup champions actually showed up last night at Commonwealth Stadium.

Facing the ugly prospect of falling two games off the pace in the West Division, the Edmonton Eskimos put together their most complete effort of the season to beat the first-place Leos 27-20.

"There was a lot of pressure coming here. We had to redeem ourselves for the catastrophe that happened - and I think we did that," said guard Dan Comiskey.

WICKED THUNDERSTORM

In a game delayed by a wicked thunderstorm that pummeled the Stadium in the second quarter and forced players and fans to run for cover, the Eskimos took over when storm cell passed.

"We were sluggish (early in the second quarter) ... but it's unbelievable, that little break we had did us a lot of good," said head coach Danny Maciocia.

"We walked into (the dressing room) and we started to talk about it. We settled down the guys."

And like a mudder in thoroughbred racing, the Eskimos excelled on the sloppy Commonwealth Stadium grass after the break, scoring 17 unanswered points after halftime was called with 6:01 left in the second quarter.

A 10-yard touchdown strike from Ricky Ray to Jason Tucker erased an 11-10 B.C. lead with just 11 seconds left in the second quarter.

But the turning point came at the start the third quarter, when Ray drove the Eskimos 74 yards on nine plays and found Ed Hervey in the end zone for a 26-yard major that put the Esks on top 24-11.

"Ed was running a streak route on the sideline and I saw the weak halfback wasn't really paying attention and I was getting ready to throw, but the defensive end came up and I had to slide around him," said Ray.

"And at first, I didn't think Ed saw it ... but he made a good play on it."

And while not every bad early-season trend was erased last night, as the Eskimos were flagged 23 times for a record 227 yards yards, several ugly habits were broken.

For the first time this year, the Esks actually had a running game and weren't plagued by turnovers.

DAVIS ROLLED OUT 90-YARD EFFORT

Troy Davis rushed 17 times for 90 yards, almost eclipsing his season total after the first three games.

But for the Eskimos, maybe the most impressive effort came from their defence.

It wasn't a perfect performance by any means, but one week after being embarrassed on national TV by giving up 601 yards of total offence to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Green and Gold held Dave Dickenson's offence to just 276 yards of offence and mostly a diet of field goals. While Geroy Simon scored one touchdown, the secondary held him to just 41 receiving yards.

And the defensive line consistently harassed Dickenson, even though Joe Montford was tossed out of the game for a low blow on lineman Joe Murphy in the second quarter.

"Everybody had to step-up and bring that attitude (tonight) that we are the best defence and that showed on the field," said linebacker Singor Mobley.


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