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This article was published 28/11/2015 (1454 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Where: Investors Group Field, Winnipeg
when: Sunday, Nov. 29. Kickoff: 5:38 p.m.
tv: TSN/RDS; Radio: TSN Radio Network & Sirius Radio Satellite
Vegas odds: Eskimos are favoured by 7.
Streaks: Ottawa: 5W; Edmonton: 9W.
Season series: The Eskimos won both games during the regular season by a combined score of 69-29 — 46-17 on July 9 in Edmonton and then 23-12 a week later in Ottawa. In fact, Ottawa has not beaten Edmonton in their reincarnation as the Redblacks, having lost all four contests.
Ottawa vs. Edmonton in the Grey Cup: These two cities have met three previous times in the championship, in 1960, 1973 and 1981.
1: The number of times since 1948 a CFL team has won two games in a season and then followed up by winning the Grey Cup the following year. The Montreal Alouettes were 2-10-2 in 1969 and then went 7-6-1 the following year before beating Calgary in the 1970 championship.
Ottawa was 2-16 a year ago and is in the Grey Cup after a 12-6 regular season.
9: The Eskimos take a nine-game winning streak into today’s game, including last week’s win in the West Final, and that is the longest season/playoff-ending win streak since 1982 when they won their last eight regular-season games, the West Final and the Grey Cup.
25: Edmonton will be appearing in its 25th Grey Cup game, breaking a tie at 24 with Winnipeg for the most in CFL history. The Eskimos are 13-11 in their Grey Cup appearances, last winning in 2005.
1: Number of players on Ottawa’s roster — QB Henry Burris — who was alive the last time a team from that city participated in a Grey Cup. The 1981 Rough Riders fell to the Eskimos 26-23. Burris was one-year-old when the Rough Riders last captured a championship, with a 23-20 victory over Saskatchewan in the 1976 game.
6: The total number of ex-Bombers starting for the Eskimos today — offensive linemen Justin Sorensen and Chris Greaves, slotback Cory Watson, defensive end Odell Willis and safety Cauchy Muamba.
Mike Reilly, Edmonton
Career post-season starts: 3. Record: 1-1.
2015: Reilly appeared in 10 games, completing 65 per cent of his passes for 2,449 yards with 15 TDs against 10 interceptions while rushing for 324 yards.
He has been at the controls during Edmonton’s nine-game winning streak, a feat not accomplished since Tracy Ham won nine straight in 1989-90.
Career post-season starts: 14. Record: 7-7.
2015: Burris led the CFL in passing this season with 5,693 yards with 26 TDs and 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 274 yards and seven TDs. He also became the second-oldest Most Outstanding Player winner (Damon Allen was 42 when he won in 2005) this week.
❚ Edmonton’s Chris Jones might not be the CFL’s Coach of the Year — he’s been a runner-up over the last two seasons — but it could be said he’s the CFL’s Coach of the Last Two Years. A longtime defensive guru in this league, Jones is 26-10 (.722) in the regular season since taking over the Eskimos. Jones’ record in his first 36 games as a head coach is the fourth-best in CFL history behind Frank Ivy (Edmonton, 1954-56, 29-7), Bud Grant (Winnipeg, 1957-59, 27-9) and Don Matthews (B.C., 1983-85, 27-8-1).
❚ Rick Campbell of Ottawa sports a 14-22 (.389) record as a head coach, but those numbers don’t spell out the work behind getting an expansion franchise off the ground. The Redblacks were just 2-16 in Year 1, but finished first in the East this season with a 12-6 record. And Campbell’s finger-prints are all over the turnaround.
87 Derrel Walker, WR
Averaged 92.5 yards receiving per game after pulling in 89 passes for 1,110 yards. His 92.5-yard average was the third best in the last decade, behind only Jamel Richardson (104.5) and Geroy Simon (102.1)
24 Akeem Shavers, RB
Making his second start after lining up in the Eskimo backfield in last week’s West final. He had nine carries for 40 yards a week ago.
90 Almondo Sewell, DT
Forget his numbers — four sacks, 35 tackles — he is one of those tone-setters on defence. A beast in the middle of the trenches who can push the pocket backwards.
93 Justin Capicciotti, DE
A former Eskimo — his rights were plucked in the expansion draft — his 12 sacks ranked third in the CFL. His motor doesn’t stop running.
21 Brandon Sermons, CB
Don’t think the Eskimos aren’t drooling here: Sermons, a former UCLA star, is making his second career CFL start.
82 Greg Ellingson, SB
The hero of last week’s game with a 93-yard TD — the ninth-longest in CFL playoff history and the longest TD in the final three minutes in CFL playoff history — Ellingson is a safety net of sorts for QB Henry Burris.
Kendial Lawrence, RB/Rec/KR, Edmonton
Led the Eskimos in both kickoff and punt returns and — coupled with his contributions occasionally on offence — he finished with the most combined-yards on the team. That’s saying something on a squad with receiving threats such as Adarius Bowman and Derrel Walker. The diminutive Missouri product can break open a game any time he gets his mitts on the ball.
William Powell, RB, Ottawa
He appeared in just seven games for the Redblacks this season — starting the last four — after signing in September. But his impact has been significant. While so many fixate on Henry Burris and his deadly receiving corps, Powell gives Ottawa a real threat along the ground. He has a 5.9-yard per carry average and can be a dynamic runner both inside and outside the tackles.
30.8 — Ottawa’s net punting average this year, lowest in the league (B.C. was first at 38.4). Chris Milo will handle both the placekicking and punting chores for the Redblacks. Ottawa has had five different players punt in games this year: Milo, Anthony Alix, Brett Maher, Ronnie Pfeffer (out with an ankle injury) and backup quarterback Thomas DeMarco. The Grey Cup is a game where punting can be a difference (see: Bob Cameron, 1988 game) and this could be an issue for Ottawa.
47.3 — The Eskimos second-down conversion rate was 47.3 per cent, fifth-best in the league. That’s especially important given their uncertainty at the tailback position and may lead to Reilly & Co. trying to use the short passing game to get production on first downs and prevent second-and-long situations.
Eskimo CB John Ojo vs. Redblacks WR Chris Williams
Both of Edmonton’s cornerbacks are massive by CFL standards, with Ojo standing 6-4 and Pat Watkins at 6-5. Ojo, in particular, could see a lot of Ottawa’s explosive deep threat in Williams. Willams’ YAC — yards after catch — of 467 was second in the CFL to teammate Brad Sinopoli, who had 471.
Ottawa’s offensive line vs. Edmonton’s defensive front seven
Redblacks: LT: SirVincent Rogers; LG: J’Michael Deane; C: Jon Gott; RG: Nolan MacMillan; RT Colin Kelly
Eskimos: DE: Willie Jefferson; DT: Eddie Steele; DT: Almondo Sewell; DE: Odell Willis; LB Dexter McCoil; LB JC Sherritt; LB: Otha Foster
Classic battle of the trenches here. Ottawa has kept their starting five up front intact all season, an incredible feat. But they’ll be going against a Chris Jones’ defensive scheme that brings pressure from all over the field.
PREDICTION: Edmonton 31 Ottawa 19
- with files from Jeff Hamilton
Updated on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 11:50 AM CST: Tweaks headline.