Sir-real performance

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Yes sir, he's your baby. No sir, don't mean maybe. Yes sir, he's you're baby now.

Tristan Jackson is mostly "yes sir?" and "no sir" when you talk to him, but once again, this time for keeps, he made Eskimo fans say "Wow, sir!"

It's not often you see a player run his way into the hearts of football fans like the lastest Action Jackson did with Eskimo fans last night.

I mean, talk about putting your name on a game!

After scoring three touchdowns on returns in the pre-season, Jackson produced three big plays - two for touchdowns - including Edmonton's first kick return for a touchdown since Tony Tompkins in the 2005 Grey Cup game.

While the running of Ricky Ray and new fullback A.J. Harris also helped win the day as the Eskimos defeated the Toronto Argos 47-28 before 31,707 at Commonwealth Stadium, it was Jackson and his staggering 283 combined yards who really wowed the crowd.

THREE PENALTIES

He opened the game with a 53-yard return which required, thanks to three penalties, a mere two-yard run by Harris to turn into a touchdown.

Then, playing his first start as a cornerback as a pro, Jackson intercepted and returned the pick 89-yards for a TD.

Then he made it a pigskin hat trick when he returned a punt 61-yards for a major, bowling over Argos kicker Mike Vanderjagt along the way.

The Hattisburg, Mississippi product ran through the brambles and ran through the bushes and ran through the places a rabbit wouldn't go.

"He has the ability, every time he touches the ball, to make something special happen," said head coach Danny Maciocia, who three games into the season already has 40% of his win total from last year.

"Today he did it several different ways," added the coach who pulled Jackson out of the game as a return man in the latter stages because he was too pooped to pop another one and because Maciocia knew he'd already made about 60 plays on defence.

Jackson was still out of breath in the post-game dressing room with media ready to require him to say more words than he usually does in a week.

"I don't know what to say," said the exceptionally polite player with the mouth-full-of-porridge southern accent.

"I'm all right," he said when the next question was about the condition his condition was in.

"I was tired. I had to have oxygen. I've never had to have oxygen before. I was cramping up a lot."

It wasn't that Jackson hadn't already introduced himself.

In his first game in Commonwealth Stadium, in the pre-season against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, he produced a fine how-do-you-do indeed, one of the most memorable pre-season introductions in Eskimos history since Brian Kelly ran his first pass routes and went on to win the Schenley Award as top rookie in 1979.

Jackson won his job in public, not practice.

THREE FOR THE SHOW

In his three pre-season appearances, he scored a return touchdown in the inter-squad game in Spruce Grove, another in the first pre-season game in Calgary and yet another in the final pre-season game at home against Saskatchewan.

How do you cut a guy who does that?

Jackson, who still hasn't figured out everything he's doing yet, including not letting a punt over his head bounce behind him in the endzone like they do down south, admitted he was beat pretty bad on a couple plays defensively.

"Yes, sir," he said. "Thank God my teammates bailed me out."

But he said the interception return wasn't worthy, even if he was out there all by himself with the whole field in front of him. "I baited him," he said.

He said his first pro start as a position player was something he'll never forget.

"They told me yesterday. I knew I had to produce. As for the touchdown return, he said the peer pressure was on him.

"My teammates were telling me all week 'It's time for a big return.' It felt great."


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