Ray saves the day

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

EDMONTON -- The Eskimos have found some life and Jason Tucker brought it to them.

Tucker scored on a three-yard pass from Ricky Ray with six seconds left as the Eskimos beat the Calgary Stampeders 35-26 last night at Commonwealth Stadium.

The last-second play snuffed out a valiant Stampeders comeback from a 16-point deficit.

The drive was aided by good clock management by Ray and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Stamps.

They added some insurace with two seconds left when Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris was sacked and fumbled the ball to Eskimos defensive lineman Adam Braidwood for the rookie's first touchdown.

The loss drops the Stamps to 7-5 and kills their chances for their first five-game winning streak since 1996.

Until the final minutes, the Stampeders appeared headed for a comeback victory.

J.R. Ruffin scored on a 90-yard kickoff return, while linebacker Brian Clark hit punter Burke Dales with a pass on a third-down gamble.

In the second quarter, right after the Eskimos conceded a safety, Ruffin took the kickoff and darted through traffic for the endzone, trimming the Eskimos lead to nine points and spurring a comeback.

Two weeks after beating the Montreal Alouettes with three trick plays on special teams, head coach Tom Higgins went into special team co-ordinator Craig Dickenson's arsenal again.

On a drive in the fourth quarter, the Stamps were stopped just inside Eskimos territory.

Using the same formation as in Montreal, Clark took the direct snap but this time threw instead of running.

Dales rolled out beautifully and was wide open for an 11-yard play that earned a first down.

Burris then finished the drive with a nine-yard touchdown to Elijah Thurmon.

Burris engineered a 14-play, 96-yard drive in the third quarter that he capped off with a five-yard touchdown pass to Nik Lewis.

The Eskimos dominated time of possession in the first half with three long drives ending in Sean Fleming field goals of 11, 37 and 16.

On the Esks' second drive, Mookie Mitchell took a hitch pass and turned it up the middle for a 54-yard gain, while Ray hooked up with Trevor Gaylor on a 37-yard pass and run early.

Calgary didn't start its second offensive drive until more than 10 minutes were gone in the quarter but then quickly went two and out.

With an offensive line that was victimized terribly by the pass rush a week ago, the home side decided it was easier to run block instead.

Powerful running back Troy Davis was a monster in the opening half and was a majority of the Eskimos offence. Early into the second quarter, Davis already had more than 70 yards rushing but the Stamps did manage to stuff him when the Esks were inside the five-yard line.

Braidwood created the game's first touchdown in the second quarter.

The first pick in this year's CFL draft came unblocked from the outside to drill Burris and knock the ball free.

The ball popped right into Charles Alston's hands and he walked into the endzone to make the 16-0 for Edmonton.

Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds was having a terrible outing until the third quarter.

Reynolds, who leads the league in rushing, was held to two yards on his first four carries but responded in the second half by gaining 38 yards on three carries in leading the team to a touchdown.

Stamps kicker Sandro DeAngelis missed from 49 just before halftime but the kick was into a strong wind.

Fleming also booted 31- and 27-yarders in the second half to go five-for-five on the night.


Videos

Photos