Jackson 'off to the races'

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

Hello, Tristan Jackson--welcome to the Edmonton Eskimos.

That was the message from Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia last night after Jackson returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown in a 37-7 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the final preseason game.

A raw rookie, Jackson had three returns for touchdowns this spring: one in a controlled scrimmage in Spruce Grove, another on a 92-yard kickoff return in last week's exhibition game in Calgary and then last night's speed job down the sidelines.

While Maciocia didn't say it last night, CFL veteran Keith Stokes appears to be out of a return job.

Stokes entered training camp as the favourite to be the returner, but Jackson stole the show - giving him the job in the regular season.

"The guys did great blocking in front of me," said Jackson. "I saw a little seam and I hit it - and off to the races."

Discounted by a least two NFL teams - the defending Super Bowl champion NY Giants and the Carolina Panthers - for being too small or too slow, Jackson is showing he has speed to burn in the CFL game.

The 22-year-old import also had a productive night in his fight for a starting cornerback job, showing great closing ability on a deep ball to Chris Getzlaf.

Jackson was at least five years behind Getzlaf on the pass pattern but caught up and caused the incompletion.

However, Jonte Buhl received more first-string reps at cornerback through training camp and will likely start in the regular-season, leaving Jackson fresh to return.

QUICK HIT: Brandon Guillory delivered two highlight plays against old friend Steven Jyles, the Roughriders' back-up pivot last night.

The Eskimos defensive end - who has known Jyles for nine years - caused a second-half fumble by Jyles and then sacked the quarterback later in the game.

"I never got a chance to hit him (before)," said Guillory, who was teammates with Jyles the last two seasons in Edmonton.

"He always said I (was) never going to sack him. Tonight was my time to prove it."

Guillory is in a battle with rookie Montez Murphy for the final starting defensive end job. Murphy finished the night with two sacks, the same as Guillory.

FINISH LINES: In the battle for the starting Edmonton running back job, Damien Anderson finished with 34 yards on nine carries for a 3.8-yard average.

A.J. Harris had 40 yards on seven carries for a 5.7-yard average last night.


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