Running threat

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

If you are keeping track at home, your scorecard should read: Joffrey Reynolds 2 -- Edmonton Eskimos' defence 1.

Not surprisingly, the Calgary Stampeders lead the season series over their archrival by the exact same score, as Reynolds has rumbled for 249 yards and two touchdowns combined in the two victories.

So, in Round 4 tonight at Commonwealth Stadium, are the Esks going to even the score with the league's top running back?

"It's a different ball game (tonight) when you are at home and your back is against the wall," said linebacker A.J. Gass.

"The pressure is on and I think every guy is going to rise to it."

If the defence doesn't rise to the challenge in the biggest battle inside the game, the Eskimos will likely stagger to the dressing room late tonight with a sixth loss in seven games.

"Reynolds is an incredible back," continued Gass.

"He runs hard, fast and has great vision.

"And they came out with a few different formations (on Monday)."

Those new looks from the Stampeders' offensive unit, coupled with Reynolds' outstanding ability and a shoddy job of Eskimo tackling allowed the CFL's leading rusher to roll for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

"They came out with a four running back look that we were only anticipating in short yardage and they were running it on first down," recalled Gass. "They came out with an empty backfield with six receivers, but used two of them as running backs.

"But I think we have seen all the formations that they can possibly throw at us and it is just a matter of performing from there."

Unfortunately for the Esks, Reynolds isn't the only running back to run over them or through them this year.

After featuring the league's top run defence last year, the Eskimos are now giving up almost 50% more yardage on the ground in 2006.

It's a major jump from an average of 79.2 yards last year to 118 yards this season.

"We have as good of a defence as last year, we just have to play better, that's all," said defensive tackle Steve Charbonneau.

For the Eskimos, the time to show that is now.

The remaining keys to tonight's game for the Eskimos:

B) Contain Henry Burris -- If Burris is able to break containment from the defensive line, he becomes one of the most dangerous pivots in the league, with a rocket for an arm and speed to burn in his legs.

The key for defenders is keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground.

"Once you leave your feet, he pulls the ball back down (to run) and you will look silly," said Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia.

"We did that three times Monday. We have got to quit doing that."

Burris had a staggering 88 yards on eight carries.

C) Discipline, discipline, discipline -- Edmonton kept three Calgary scoring drives alive on Monday by taking penalties.


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