July 8, 2012
Eskimos serve up a dud
By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency
REGINA - How did Saskatchewan blow the shutout?
The Roughriders scored a touchdown, convert, two field goals, a safety and two singles.
But how did they give up that single?
It was as quiet as you’d ever experience a Roughriders crowd of 31,459 — the largest crowd ever for a season opener in Saskatchewan – to score a win over the team they used to refer to as The Evil Empire.
It was a victory over the Edmonton Eskimos and there wasn’t much to cheer for despite the fact the Riders, a team which failed to win one game against Western Conference opposition last year, went 2-0 to start the season.
Only Saskatchewan and the B.C. Lions managed to survive the second weekend of the season with 2-0 records.
On a weekend which featured three fantastic examples of either-team-could-have-won Canadian football at it’s entertaining best with big players, great plays, with scores of 41-30, 39-36 and 39-36 and a total of 211 points, it would have been nice if the Roughriders and Eskimos could have completed the effect.
It was quite clear early on that wasn’t about to happen.
Not only was there no scoring early, it was well into the first quarter when Saskatchewan had run up the grand total of two first downs and the Eskimos one.
The score was 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Eskimos managed to get a single early in the second when Burke Dales boomed one 62-yards, failing in an attempt to keep it between the 10 and the goal line.
Saskatchewan followed with a single of their own and a safety touch.
It was 6-1 at the half. The first downs were 7-4 for Saskatchewan. But the most telling stat was 18:50 of possession for Saskatchewan compared to 12:10 for Edmonton and the Roughriders had chased a 3-for-10-for-26-yards Steven Jyles in favor of 38-year-old Kerry Joseph.
Only once in the first half did the Eskimos manage to find themselves over the 55 yard line when centre Cary Koch somehow managed to snap the ball into himself with the Riders recovering.
Jyles was back in to start the second half. He was replaced again by Joseph with just over three minutes remaining.
With 2:12 remaining, there was finally a touchdown.
Kory Sheets ran for 34 yards to hit pay dirt for the Riders.
The Eskimos have now gone two pre-season games and two regular season games without any of their quarterbacks throwing a touchdown pass.
Joseph served up an interception on the next series which Saskatchewan turned into a second field goal.
“We just didn’t have the execution,” said Joseph.
“Our defensive played well and allowed us to stay in the game. It was very frustrating. We’ve got to be better.”
Jyles blamed it on “missed communication again.
“The defense played great. We have to execute better.”
Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones