Jumpin' for jerseys

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos' third jersey is causing quite a stir.

The new gold duds received mixed reviews on press box row when the team unveiled the tops last Friday at Commonwealth Stadium.

And the Edmonton Sun's poll the next day showed 59% of fans hate the jersey while 41% love the look.

But the new jersey is selling - and that is what matters to the Edmonton Eskimos and the club's merchandise supplier.

"We had an excellent game for sales (last Friday)," said Wayne Cuillerier, president of Game on Sports, the team's merchandise partner. "It was one of our highest games for retail sales in four years."

Cuillerier, who wouldn't reveal specific details on sales, confirms the Eskimos will wear the gold uniform at least once more this season, even though the team produced the worst offensive display of the year while losing to Calgary 16-11 in the new jersey.

REMEMBER ME, LOCKETT ASKS GADES

Aaron Lockett has made the Ottawa Renegades look foolish.

The diminutive B.C. Lions' speedster recorded 272 return yards against Ottawa last Thursday, including a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in B.C.'s 61-27 victory. His great performance comes on the heels of another brilliant game against Ottawa in July.

In total, Lockett torched the Renegades for 523 return yards this season.

The kicker to this story: Ottawa cut Lockett last year.

BOMBERS GOING DOWN IN FLAMES

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have self-destructed.

With a legitimate chance to make the playoffs in late August, the Bombers had the easiest possible schedule: one game against winless Hamilton before back-to-back games against the woeful Saskatchewan Roughriders.

But the Tiger Cats - with a pitiful 0-8 record at the time - scored 41 points at home to win by two points.

The following week the Bombers strolled into Taylor Field in Regina to face a club that had lost five straight games and had failed to score more than 18 points in any of those tilts.

What happens?

The Riders embarrass the Bombers 45-26.

The defence finally pulled up its pants at home on Saturday night, but the offence was brutal in the second half, registering just five first downs as Saskatchewan won 19-17, marking the green and white's first win in the Peg since 1994.

Instead of sweeping three games against two very beatable opponents, the Bombers are 3-9 and in major trouble in the basement of the Western Division.

QUICK HITS ...

A sight at Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium on Labour Day: someone juggling three knives on a 10-foot unicycle... Under the guidance of head coach Wally Buono, the B.C. Lions are off to the best start in the CFL since 1993, when the Calgary Stampeders also bolted out of the starting gate to a 10-0 record. Interestingly, Buono coached the Stamps that year ... How brutal was Hamilton's offence during Toronto's 48-0 shellacking of the Tiger-Cats on Saturday? Hamilton crossed midfield just once in the entire game ... Argos defensive co-ordinator and former Eskimo coach Rich Stubler notched his first shutout in his 19-year CFL career in that game.

LAST WORD ...

With every passing day, TSN officials have to be getting excited about the possibility of the Grey Cup game moving to the all-sports channel. Television insiders are quietly suggesting the CBC lockout could drag into December.

HITS & MISSES

HIT

Aaron Lockett delivers 272 return yards and one touchdown for B.C. against Ottawa.

HIT

Denny Creehan, Stamps defensive co-ordinator, guides his crew to back-to-back great performances against Edmonton.

MISS

Argos' Bashir Levingston throws his helmet into the stands at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Labour Day, hitting a young boy.

NUMBERS GAME

3 - The number of teams that have eclipsed the 1,188 yards the Esks have gained on the ground so far this season.

0 - The number of times the Ottawa Renegades have defeated the B.C. Lions.

0 - The number of times the Blue Bombers have defeated a western opponent in '05.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"I don't want to say that's a nail in our coffin, but it's going to take a miracle now for us to make the playoffs."

- Troy Westwood on Bombers' last loss

"I'm sure there will be a lot of sleepless nights tonight."

Kevin Lefsrud after losing to Calgary

GAME OF THE WEEK

ESKIMOS VS. RIDERS

SUNDAY, 2:30 p.m., TSN

If the Riders win, Danny Barrett's boys will be just two points behind Edmonton in the scrap for second place in the Western Division. But if Saskatchewan loses, Rider Nation can almost kiss goodbye any hope of watching a playoff game at Taylor Field for the first time in more than a decade.


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