Four-year drought on Prairies

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

If the Edmonton Eskimos are going to give themselves a glimmer of hope in their desperate drive to the playoffs, they will have to end the Regina jinx this weekend.

No city in the league is more inhospitable to the Esks than the Queen City, where they haven't won a regular season game since 2001.

In every other city in the league, the Esks have won at least once in the last three years.

"The only time we have won there (during that span) was in 2003 and we didn't even play the Roughriders, we played the Alouettes in the Grey Cup game," said Eskimo head coach Danny Maciocia yesterday.

"We have had some terrible losses and we have had some close ones (in Regina), like last year - lining up to kick the winning field goal with no time on the clock and it gets blocked.

"Hopefully our luck will change."

The defending Grey Cup champions need a win Saturday night or their Tragic Number will drop to one, meaning another Eskimo loss or Rider win during the final month of the regular season will eliminate Edmonton from the playoffs for the first time in 35 years.

"They're waiting to pounce on us," said receiver Ed Hervey of the Roughriders and their faithful at Mosaic Stadium.

"I'm pretty sure they are sitting there counting the days until we arrive."

The Riders are expecting close to 27,000 anti-Eskimo fans.

"Something as simple as an incomplete pass on our part - they make it seem like your world is coming to an end," continued Hervey.

"That is the difference between going to (Regina) and anywhere else."

Besides having to ignore the Rider Nation gathering, Hervey is also hoping his teammates come out with an aggressive attitude.

"This isn't checkers or chess where you wait for a guy to make a mistake," he proclaimed.

"If we're going into the game hoping something happens for us, we're in trouble."


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